Laura Fullerton, Founder, Fitty London

19 June 2017

I'm very excited to introduce this lovely lady to you all, this interview has been long awaited after I stumbled across this very cool brand just after they launched in January last year. The only way to describe this is it's like Christmas every single month!!! The boxes are filled with the best bits from new fitness brands, food and wellbeing. Laura thought up this wonderful idea when she was trying find a fitness food style hamper and realised there was nothing on the market, so started to create one herself. I simply adore this idea, it's the ultimate pressie either for a friend or yours truly!!

I caught up with Laura to find out how she started and where she sweats and eats in London.

Why did you decide to start Fitty London and how did you come up with the idea?

Well, I absolutely love fitness and nutrition – when I go into WholeFoods and health stores, I feel like a kid in a sweetshop. I have a friend that feels the same, and one day I was trying to find a fitness food hamper to send to her, and I realised it didn’t exist. So I thought ‘why don’t I create it?’. I developed the idea, and it turned into a monthly subscription box that brings together a selection of the latest nutritious foods, drinks and workout products – like a monthly box of motivation. And that’s how Fitty was born.

What's been the best moment since starting the company and what collaborations do you have coming up?

There have been so many amazing little moments it's hard to pinpoint one. Seeing Fitty boxes on the shelves in UN1T's gyms in London Bridge and Fulham was incredible, I guess that was the first time I actually took a step back and felt really proud. Even just hearing great feedback from a customer feels like an amazing moment and makes my week.

We've got some really cool collaborations coming up, including a CrossFit gym and a spin studio which is super exciting. We've also recently become official partners of Reebok Spartan Race which is great, and we're about to create some awesome content around that.

Where do you sweat, eat and shop in London?

When it comes to sweating, my bread and butter is Fitness First, where I do a split weightlifting routine. Once a month I do a Lift The Movement workshop, which is an incredible calisthenics style class, and l'm just getting into gymnastics. I also dabble in classes at the boutiques across town, like UN1T, Barry's etc, which are great ways to catch up with friends and sneak in a bit of cardio.

I'm a massive foodie, and right now my two favourite places are 26 Grains (how they can make grains taste so incredible is outright sorcery), Lima (Peruvian food is my achilles' heel), and Nando's (this will always be my staple – you can't go wrong with chicken, sweet potato and greens!). For shopping it's easy: Lululemon. RIP bank account.

How do you recover after a workout?

Straight away I have a Neat Nutrition protein shake (FYI I'm a chocolate flavour kinda girl), and then when I get home I re-feed with a big nutritious meal. It's so important to eat enough for your body to recover. If I've had a heavy session I'll take magnesium before I go to bed too, it's great for recovery – as is sleep!

Five items you can't live without?

1. Lululemon leggings...and sports bras...and tops.
2. My diary. I have no idea who I am or where I should be without it.
3. Mio Liquid Yoga Space Spray. It's the most incredible smelling blend of essential oils that instantly relaxes me (read: keeps me sane). I only discovered it recently, and I don't know what I did without it. In fact, I loved it so much we featured it in a Fitty box!
4. My Vitamix. I use it at least once a day to make my bulletproof coffee.
5. I know friends aren't items, but for the purpose of this, they are. I love them. I love them so hard.

For you Fitty London box....

Izzy Fairbairn, Conscious Dance Facilitator, Battersea Yoga

10 June 2017

Go back 10 years I was one of those kids dancing away to house music until the wee hours of the morning, not a care in the world apart from letting the beat run throw my body! This was also the case for my latest stalk, Izzy, a Conscious dance facilitator at Battersea Yoga.
Izzy Fairbairn has worked in Music and radio for many years producing for BBC Radio 1 and 1XTRA. After discovering many spiritual practices and how conscious dance can truly alter and change people's lives she now runs conscious dance events at Battersea Yoga and elsewhere. She continues to work in TV and radio as well as teaching the next generation, music and production skills in Global Medias new academy.

We caught up while walking through Battersea Park one Saturday morning, on how she got into it and about bringing this wonderful mindfulness dance practice to the wider world.

Anni Kravi, Author, Porridge

31 May 2017

Some of my regular followers would have noticed my ravings about this little lady a couple of weeks back when I discovered her book while shopping in Anthropology on The Kings Road in Chelsea (Mummy time to be precise)! The cover of this book I think you'll agree springs out at you with the most stunning imagery of a divine smoothie bowl. This is not just food, this is art! 
Anni Kravi is a Swedish based food blogger who has taken her love for the popular dish of porridge to the next level. Her debut book "Porridge" is jammed with incredible ways to spice up your morning feast, as well as buddha bowls, and savoury snacks that fall under her clean vegan way of eating. 

I contacted Anni regarding this interview 5 pages into the book, here's a little insight into how she started and what she love about food.

Firstly when did your love of healthy food / cooking start? And how did you develop this into your blog and most recently a fabulous recipe book? 

I’ve liked cooking since I was young and we’ve always had a pretty healthy lifestyle both food and sports wise. I started taking food photos around 3-4 years ago and that’s when I also started sharing some of my recipes online. My first cookbook was published in January this year and the project altogether took around a year to complete.

If you were stuck on a desert island what 5 ingredients would you have in your store cupboard?

This is pretty easy - kale, tahini, quinoa, umeboshi vinegar and avocado. (If we are talking only about foods!)

What is your favourite breakfast and why? 

At the moment I’ve been loving savoury breakfast bowls with quinoa, kale, sweet potato and a poached egg or tempeh. I also like raw millet porridge with berries. I’m a very intuitive eater so I pretty much eat what I feel like (as long as it’s healthy) - I used to love sweet breakfasts like smoothie bowls and porridges but lately I’ve been craving something more substantial.

Sarah & Steph. Founders, Feast and Flow Brunch Club

22 May 2017

Let me tell you all how my Sunday morning started.. 6am: A meow echoes round the flat, Mr C my flat-faced cat is waiting not so patiently outside my bedroom door for his breakie. Fast forward a little, 12pm: I'm at a pilates studio in Shoreditch and somehow sit myself under the aircon which seems to be blowing out heat, not cool! 1.30pm: Google maps freaks out and I go the long way round to my event. 2pm: event has started and google maps is still freaking out. Then I see a sporty looking chick running past in yoga pants, with that we look at each-other and say 'Are you going to Feast and Flow'  - bringing a calmness to each-other we team up and find the place without google and climb to the top of the most stunning building in Shoreditch. As we entered the room a peacefulness engulfed me and then Sunday afternoon really started to shine! After an hour of yoga we were handed a champagne glass of Kombucha, met at the table with the king of goodie bags and tucked into the most divine vegan brunch. Perfect Sunday afternoon sealed! 

This wonderful event was put on by two talented ladies, Steph of MIMOD'S Kitchen and Sarah of Wilde Yoga. This collaboration is a recipe for tingling taste buds and perfecting that chaturanga with the added bonus of meeting some lovely like minded people! Each brunch has a slightly different theme, this months was mindfulness which was incredible when used in conjunction with slightly challenging yoga poses, showing how powerful the brain is when used like this.

After the event we caught up for a little chat so I could pick their brains on how they started it...

How did you come up with the idea to start doing a Yoga and Brunch Club?

We met through mutual friends and had both recently launched our own businesses at a similar time. As my focus for my supper clubs is brunch food, and I had been considering doing a vegan event after becoming really interested in the plant-based way of cooking when living in Sydney last year, it seemed a perfect idea to combine our two growing brands!
It was such a natural fit. We met over a glass of wine - it was quite like a blind date - and instantly just clicked. It's so important to be on the same wavelength when going into business together and we were really lucky to have exactly the same visions, goals and values. I'd worked with a couple of brands going various yoga/foodie pop-ups so to meet Steph and be able to create a monthly event of our own was great.

How do you come up with the themes for each month? Is the next event planned and if so what's in store for us!?

The themes are usually Sarah's brainchild! But they are often influenced by the season and time of year, as I love using seasonal ingredients that are locally sourced, usually from my local farmer's market. For February - given that it was - Valentines we focused on 'Loving Yourself' and in May it was 'Selfless Spring Clean'. The next event's theme is still TBC but expect lots of summery flavours and Sarah guiding you into a lighter, brighter mindset!
I LOVE coming up with the themes. I'm constantly reading and I love sharing the things I learn with everyone who comes to Feast & Flow. As Steph said, the themes tend to have a loose attachment to the seasons as I believe in the seasons of the soul as well as the weather. Everything has its cycle and I love being able to help balance people through yoga, meditation and mindful exercises so that they leave feeling more uplifted and positive.

Those energy balls we had after yoga were absolutely amazing, how do you make them?

Thank you! They're a date and tahini base, sweetened with maple syrup and cashews added for an extra crunch. To make them soak a good handful of dates for 24 hours and then drain thoroughly, squeezing out any additional water. Blend with a heaped tablespoon of tahini and a good handful of cashews and maple syrup to taste. Leave the mixture in the fridge for a couple of hours to firm up and then roll the balls, a teaspoon at a time. Dust in a blend of poppyseeds, flax seeds and shredded coconut.

Where do you sweat, eat and shop in London?

Sweat - I love Triyoga yoga studio or a good run around Hampstead Heath.
Eat - At the moment I'm obsessed with Club Mexicana, they're a street food stall but they've just taken on a permanent spot at Pamela in Dalston. An incredibly inventive menu (not your average Mexican) and utterly delicious.
Shop - Primrose Hill Market. Unsurprisingly my shopping stop is food-related! They have amazing organic produce traders, but my main draw is the burrata from Varley and Crouch, or tomatoes from The Tomato Stall.
Sweat: I do a lot of home practice but love trying different yoga studios around London too. It helps keep things interesting and encourages my body to move in different ways.
Eat: I've recently made the transition to full vegetarian. I've not really eaten meat for a couple of years but now I've cut out all fish too so I'm really enjoying sampling all the different vegetarian and vegan places popping up across London. We are so spoilt for choice it would be a shame not to!
Shop: Most of my work wear/gym gear is either Sweaty Betty or Lululemon. It's expensive but such good quality it washes well and lasts for a long long time. For all my other clothes I'm a sucker for Topshop, Zara, Urban Outfitters and Monki as well as cool little pop-up shops and vintage finds.

Five items you can't live without?

1. My Swell Water Bottle. A private client got me one as a present and it has literally become like my third arm. I'm really trying to reduce the amount of plastic I use and these means I haven't bought a bottle of water in nearly a year. It asks as a flask so my tea stays hot and in the summer it keeps my water super cold. They also plant a tree for every bottle sold - literally the gift that keeps on giving.
2. My Manduka back pack. Some days I leave the house at 6.45am and don't get home until 10pm so I carry my day on my back. It's so amazing, it has a laptop place, a bit to carry your mat, two different pockets and so much room. It allows me to take three meals with me, notebooks and books so I can work in-between as well as Swell (obviously) and my laptop. It's really comfy and doesn't hurt my back or shoulders - literally a saviour.
3. Tisserand Aromatherapy Oils. I use these at the end of every class and the feedback I get from students is great. There are loads of different scents meaning students always get to experience something different. I also like to use them on myself. If I've got a really hectic day of classes and meetings I like to use 'De-stress' to keep me focused and if my heads super cluttered at the end of the day I use 'Sweet Dreams' to help me get to sleep.
4. My phone. I hate to say it but I do rely on my phone so much. If I'm out and don't have my laptop with me it means I can keep on top of my workload easily and I also use it for the music I play in my classes so I'd be a little lost without it.
5. My notebook. I carry this with me everywhere I go and jot down anything that I see or hear that inspires me in some way. I really try to build mindfulness into my classes and by doing this I constantly have new sources of inspiration to hand. It's also where I keep all my learnings - from both on and off the mat - and reading through it when I'm on the move helps keeps me grounded.

1. My Polaroid Camera I got this as a leaving present from my old work, and it's so much fun to go back to the 90s and have instant printed photos! I've now started a little scrap book and it's great to have a whole selection of pictures to look back on that aren't on Instagram or Facebook.
2. Cold-pressed Olive Oil. I have a slight obsession with olive oil and love discovering new oils to use especially if they come from smaller farms. At the moment I'm working my way through a can from Angelina Wines, who have a small vineyard in Italy with just a few olive trees on it.
3. Rimmel Day 2 Night Glam Eyes mascara. Even on days when I can't be bothered to do any makeup, I have to have mascara on. And this one stays on even through a sweaty shift over a hot grill!
4. A good book. This one should really be number one, because other than cooking, reading is my number one love in life. I've just finished Purity by Jonathan Franzen and am now on Margret Atwood's incredible The Handmaid's Tale.
5. My headphones. I do a lot of walking now I'm in London, running from bus stops to tube stops, and I love gettting lost in a podcast. Episodes of Radiolab, There's No Such Thing As a Fish, This American Life and BBC Radio Four's Friday Night Comedy podcast are pretty much always clogging up my phone.

This honestly is a must visit for anyone who loves food and yoga.. for future events check out:

Caroline Perrineau, The Yoginist. The Parisian Yogi

15 May 2017

If you ever wondered who I follow on Instagram there are a few 'Super Yogi's' as I call them who are a must follow, one of them is the beautiful Caroline Perrineau, known as The Yoginist. Caroline, is a Parisian yoga teacher whose stunning form and photography on instagram is extremely inspiring. With that of course I had to get her on the blog to hear her story of how she got to where she is today..

How did you get into yoga and what does it mean to you to practice it?

I really got into yoga in 2012 when a Californian friend took me to her favourite yoga studio in Shanghai where i lived for 6 years. It was at a complicated time of my life, and though i had no expectations out of this first class, it felt like i found that space to allow myself to let go of anything that could feel like a burden and strengthen myself to better face future challenges. It came little by little, but resonated enough in me so at times after an intense Vinyasa class i would feel shaken enough i would cry, as if i was transforming in and out.
When i see where i am today and where i was before i can only be happy and proud of the path i took. Actually yoga made me take this way; it helps me build more self confidence, listen better to what is happening in me, and taught me to let go. Also and this always has been key in my life, i wanted to do something meaningful, that would be in line with my values. I always have a been an eco friendly citizen of this world and found in yoga a way to expand this way of living.

What advice would this you give to anyone wanting to start advancing their practice?

I would recommend if not done yet to start looking over the simple asanas aspect as they are taught in studio and grab a book about the basics of the yoga philosophy. I feel i really started to go deeper in my practice when i opened for the first time “Light on yoga” of B.K.S Iyengar during my teacher training. I started my practice in China where physical practice and all kind of bendiness were the main focus. But with distance i realised i was blind and wasn’t really doing yoga. Since then the more i practice physically the more aware am i of what actually happens in my mind. I only realised through my body i could access my mind, whereas usually we do quite the opposite. Physicality isn’t a dead end, isn’t empty of meaning. From this point i think you can really advance your practice.

What's your favourite type of yoga? And favourite pose?

I love Vinyasa for its flow, its lightness in movement. I love dancing and i found in this form of yoga a way of self expression and freedom. It is very adaptable and can be strong and smooth at the same time. Everyone can practice Vinyasa, anywhere, anytime.
My favorite pose keeps changing and i can’t pin point a specific one. Nonetheless those days i am working a lot on my handstands, apprehending every bit of it, and the fear that can arise from it. I love inversions as i find they incarnate perfectly the asana where mind and body connect to create magic.

What are your favourite studios in Paris and London?

My favorite studios in Paris are Caelo Yoga for its international spirit and its awesome team of professors, studio Gerard Arnaud for the rigorous yet friendly approach to Vinyasa yoga, it offers great classes for teachers who wish to improve. I also like a lot BeYoga and its very friendly, authentic vibe with its owner Gregoire. I love Yuj Studio that just opened and where i teach for its innovative and modern approach to yoga.

Where do you shop for yoga gear?

Lululemon ! Cause it lasts long and i have been working with them for a year now. They have been the first one to trust me and my teaching when i came back to France from China.
I like also Alo Yoga and Outdoor voices designs. So many brands though i have not tried !
I also keep an eye on Girlfriend collective collection, cause they just started and seem very involved on making sustainable fashion. I tried their first pair of legging and they are super duper comfy !

Five items you can’t live without?

I am turning minimalistic and like to believe i can do without things. We all can. But what would make my life more complicated and less beautiful would be : no phone, no mat , no music , no flowers.

If you're not already following this lovely lady on instagram then quickly press that follow button, as she will inspire you with daily poses from her beautiful Parisian apartment. 

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