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Fitness|| Hot Yoga at Everyone Active, Marshall Street Leisure Centre

I hadn’t done hot yoga in almost three years. It’d been so long, I’d actually forgotten how hot it gets. Like seriously. Just over a week ago I went to try out one of the classes at the Marshall Street Leisure Centre, one of the Everyone Active gyms, and it reminded me how good it can make you feel.

Hot Yoga at Everyone Active, Marshall Street Leisure Centre

Hot yoga can take many forms, as it covers all yoga done in hot/humid conditions. You could do a more relaxing class or more intense based on what you’re looking for.

I’ve been to an Everyone Active before. They always seem to be in old community like buildings. Total mazes inside. But luckily the staff are friendly and helpful with directions. The Marshall Street Leisure Centre is exactly the same.

This location is actually super central.

Just off Carnaby Street. I didn’t realise there was a gym, with a pool, so close to everything!

I took Kim along to the flow class with me on Saturday, as she’s keen to try more classes too. Plus it’s a girls morning then – we popped for lunch after. Don’t worry, something healthy.

Anyway, back to the class.

The instructor was friendly and welcoming, introduced himself and made sure we knew we could pop out if we needed air at any point. Being only just back in the game, and Kim a newbie to hot yoga, it was a lovely start! We got settled, with our towels (you can borrow them from reception), water (you need lots!), yoga mats and blocks (provided).

Hot Yoga at Everyone Active, Marshall Street Leisure Centre (3)

Now let’s talk about the heat.

It didn’t hit me instantly. It almost grew warmer during the first 10 minutes of the class. Warmer and warmer until it was like I was doing yoga on holiday, during the hottest part of the day. It was SERIOUSLY warm. My whole body was sweating. Even places I didn’t think sweated. Like the top of my feet. My whole body was glistening. And this is why you need plenty of water! I drank almost 750ml during the class…And I could have drank more, but I was preserving it in case the class went on longer than expected (I.e. I didn’t know the time or how long I had left).

As for the yoga itself.

We did a little ‘warm up’. I know, I know, it’s warm already. But to slowly get the body ready for exercise. Then it’s onto flow, warrior poses and legs. Followed by core and floor work. Eventually shavasana. Total relaxation. Finished with one minute of meditation.

I did think I’d have to head out for a breather at one point. Kim did pop for a quick breath of fresh air. We all need it at the best of times. But its manageable. Just. The instructor reminds you all the way through too that you should only take it as far as you can. Don’t push it. Do what feels best for your body. You know you best. So if you’re nervous about not keeping up, there’s really nothing to worry about. It’s totally fine, whatever you manage to do.

Hot Yoga at Everyone Active, Marshall Street Leisure Centre (3)

I came out sweaty, tired and relaxed.

It actually felt really good to have done yoga. Something a bit more strength and relaxation based. Something to connect me to my inner me.

I do like to start my weekend with a workout, and now I’m doing my two spin classes and kickboxing during the week, it’s great to get in a strength class at the weekend. To mix it up. But also so I’m doing an all-round workout routine. You need to do strength as well as cardio.

SUMMARY:

  • Price: Dependent on package. You can buy one off classes, but most people have an Everyone Active membership.
  • Fun/serious: A mix of both. It depends how serious you take your yoga! It is hot, so can get serious pretty quick.
  • Level: suitable for all. If it gets too much you can take a breather and sit outside!
  • Recommend? If you like yoga, then yes! Definitely recommend giving it a go. The instructor is great and so friendly!
  • How to book: via the Everyone Active website or you can call the centre on 03330 05 0417

Do you do hot yoga? What other strength exercise do you do?

Chloe xx

*I was invited along to try the hot yoga class at Everyone Active Marshall Street Leisure Centre. All views my own. 

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Eating Out|| Afternoon Tea at The Den, St. Martins Lane Hotel

An afternoon tea is quite often seen as something to do on a girls day. Something elegant. Small finger food bites. Beautiful crockery holding premium teas. Glasses of fizz. But guys, and everyone, should experience it at least once. It is pretty special. And let me tell you, the food may be in little finger sized portions, but there’s always SO much of it!

I took Alex for his FIRST EVER afternoon tea this month. First. Ever. Mainly because of the above. If I ever went or wanted to go, he’d suggest I took one of the girls…Or I’d generally just do so. But finally, I got through to him to give it a try. Just once. Spoiler: he said he’d go again!

The signature bacardi rum afternoon tea, St. Martins Lane Hotel

St. Martins Lane hotel is not far from Leicester square station. Super central. It’s huge! I initially walked up to the restaurant before realising I was meant to be in The Den… a cute hideaway, serving cocktails, bites to eat and afternoon tea.

The inside is filled with plants, and it’s quite dark and mysterious. It almost felt like you were taking a step back in time, thanks to all the browns and burnt orange hues. It had a slight cabin feel too, with the walls all a dark wood, but was cosy and relaxed.

The signature bacardi rum afternoon tea, St. Martins Lane Hotel

The day we visited it was sunny and hot.

Dying to not miss out on the sun, we sat out on the terrace. Just as leafy. A fab, breezy and relatively private spot.

The menu in The Den features two afternoon tea options – their standard afternoon tea, with hotel chocolat hot chocolate or champagne (and tea of course) and an exclusive, limited edition rum afternoon tea in collaboration with Bacardi. I’m sure as I was with Alex, you can tell which we went for. Rum, of course.

The signature bacardi rum afternoon tea, St. Martins Lane Hotel

There are five rum cocktails to choose from.

All of which are pretty different and unique. One rum cocktail is included in the afternoon tea package. La Girardilla was our fave. With Bacardi Añejo Cuatro rum, fresh mango, coconut, mint, vanilla, it was fresh, juicy and tropical. It felt like we should have been on holiday.

The signature bacardi rum afternoon tea, St. Martins Lane Hotel

If you don’t fancy a sweet cocktail, you can never go wrong with a standard mojito, or the Desde El Malecon. It’s a mixture of Bacardi Añejo Cuatro rum, grapefruit, ginger, honey & rice syrup, and has a bitter, deeper edge.

The signature bacardi rum afternoon tea, St. Martins Lane Hotel

As much as the cocktails were super delicious, it’s all about the food in an afternoon tea.

The Signature Bacardi Rum Afternoon Tea really was special.

The signature bacardi rum afternoon tea, St. Martins Lane Hotel

The savoury options are the same as the standard menu. The smoked salmon wrap with avocado, sun-blushed tomato cream cheese, was a fab change to a sandwich. It was creamy, and the flavours were beautiful. The focaccia with roasted courgettes, piquillo peppers, feta and mint, was super tasty with its Mediterranean notes. The Chicken Swirl (like a cinnamon one but savoury), with pesto and buffalo mozzarella however topped the savouries for us. It was fantastic! I do love pesto!

The signature bacardi rum afternoon tea, St. Martins Lane Hotel

It was great having different savoury options to the usual finger sandwiches.

The scones were massive. Plain, they did feel a bit overcooked/crisp, but tasted good all the same topped with clotted cream and jam – cream first of course!

The signature bacardi rum afternoon tea, St. Martins Lane Hotel

The sweet treats. These were something else.

Ludovic’s Summer Eclair, had a beautifully light choux pastry. It was filled with a delicious zesty passion fruit cream and topped with dulcey ganache. Almost as good as the ones I had from L’eclair de Genie in Paris. And that’s saying something!

The signature bacardi rum afternoon tea, St. Martins Lane Hotel

The My Heart, a light milk chocolate mousse with coconut and a biscuit base, was absolutely delicious. It had a white chocolate coating holding it all together too. Really cute. Although it does melt quickly – so be careful in the heat.

The signature bacardi rum afternoon tea, St. Martins Lane Hotel

The Pina Colada Cake was my favourite sweet option. With coconut dacquoise, pineapple confit and coconut mousse with Bacardi Cuatro rum, it really did taste like pina colada. The thin layer of coconut dacquoise, a light sponge, on the bottom paired with the mousse, made for one exquisite dessert.

The signature bacardi rum afternoon tea, St. Martins Lane Hotel

The Strawberry Daiquiri Tart was delightful. A small shortcrust pastry tart, it’s filled with Bacardi Carta Oro rum strawberry ganache and lime cream. The contrasting flavours went perfectly, adding zing and life to the fruity strawberry taste.

The signature bacardi rum afternoon tea, St. Martins Lane Hotel

Ok guys, I absolutely loved this one too. The Mai Tai Baba Almond Cake looked intriguing. It was bright orange! It’s infused with orange bitters & Bacardi Carta Negra rum, Cointreau and lime cream, so is packed with citrus, vibrant flavours. Just fantastic!

The signature bacardi rum afternoon tea, St. Martins Lane Hotel

With an afternoon tea like this, scones should most definitely come last. If you don’t have space, at least you can take them away not wondering if you’d missed out on something. Those sweet treats really are something you HAVE to try!

The signature bacardi rum afternoon tea, St. Martins Lane Hotel

The terrace is a beautiful place to take the afternoon slowly, soaking up the atmosphere and having a good chat. The drinks menu in The Den features plenty of other drinks to see you through too, so you’re not limited to the ones with the afternoon tea.

SUMMARY:

  • Price: £39.90 per person for The Signature Bacardi Rum Afternoon Tea – a little more than you might spend one a weekend afternoon for lunch, but well worth it. Perfect for a special occasion! The standard afternoon tea, with Teapigs tea, is £29.90 per person which is pretty good for such a fab location.
  • Food: Truly amazing. Inventive. Creative. Delicious.
  • Drinks: The rum cocktails were fantastic. The mango one so refreshing. A beautiful accompaniment to an afternoon tea.
  • Atmosphere: the terrace was private, relaxed and breezy. Perfect for a summery afternoon tea.
  • Wait: It’ll book up quick, so I highly recommend booking. The wait for food wasn’t long, and the drinks easily keep you going.

Have you taken someone for their first afternoon tea recently? What did they think? Where would you recommend I try next?

Chloe xx

*I was invited along to try the afternoon tea at St. Martins Lane Hotel. All views my own. 

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Chloe & Alex Try|| Ditching the teabag, going loose leaf with Whittards

I know what you’re thinking. It’s hot. Really hot. This heatwave has hardly given us a breather. I’m loving it. So how am I drinking tea?

Here’s the thing. I like something sweet or fruity after dinner. Fruit tea does just the job. I have to let it cool a little in this hot weather (or I become sweaty which is not good), but it’s a great way to finish my evening. If I don’t fancy a hot tea, fruity teas are great served cool over a glass of ice! You can even infuse lemonade overnight!

I do often have a cuppa during the day too. And when the weather gets slightly cooler again, I’m pretty sure tea will resume to take it’s place centre stage in my day.

As I’ve been getting into more interesting, fruity and herbal flavours of tea, I’ve been dying to ditch the bag. I’ve been into a few tea shops, looking in awe at all the loose leaf varieties. I have tried biodegradable tea bags. But then I have to remember when I need more. And I’ve been stuck without before. So when I saw the new Whittards Pao mugs, I just HAD to try one.

Whittards pao mug lime green

Pao means infuse in mandarin.

That’s exactly what this mug does. Each mug comes complete with its very own removable infuser and a lid which doubles up as a tray for the filter. It comes in some gorgeous colours too. I couldn’t resist the lime green!

Whittards pao mug

I’ve been using mine for a week or so now, and it’s so much simpler than filling tea bags. The lid also helps keep the tea hot, which will be perfect when it hits autumn and winter!

Whittards has also launched some fab fruity teas for summer which come in these super cute mini caddies. A Loose Leaf Green Tea with Cherry Blossom, Loose Leaf Green Tea with Passionfruit & Mango and a Loose Leaf Black Tea with English Fruits make up the new summer launches.

Whittards summer fruit teasWhittards summer fruit teas

I’ve given them all a try in my gorgeous pao mug. Using just under a teaspoon of loose leaf per mug, I’ve let the leaves, petals and fruits infuse the hot water for roughly 5 minutes. A little longer at times for a stronger flavour.

Whittards summer fruit teas

The Loose Leaf Green Tea with Cherry Blossom has a light floral edge to it. Nothing overpowering. Quite subtle. I’m not the biggest fan of green tea, but I did enjoy this blend. A little more than expected too, as I wasn’t sure I’d like a floral number.

Whittards summer fruit teas

The Loose Leaf Green Tea with Passionfruit & Mango was a little more potent in flavour. It had a lovely tropical smell as you went in for each sip. I thought the green tea was a little stronger in taste, but the fruity touch took the edge off the harsh flavour. A great summery tea!

The Loose Leaf Black Tea with English Fruits was however my favourite. You can smell the berries (from the raspberry pieces and blackberry leaves), and sweetness, as you bring the cup to your mouth. The flavour itself is beautifully subtle. It doesn’t overpower the black tea, it compliments it with a lightly fruity after taste.

Whittards summer fruit teas

I’m really enjoying being bag-free. It’s easier and more simple. I’m loving trying new tea flavours, and I feel I have more options this way.

Those caddies look lovely on the kitchen worktop too. They’d make a beautiful gift for any upcoming birthdays! The Pao mugs are also microwave safe (just incase you forget about your cuppa, or need to heat water or milk), and dishwasher safe if you’re lucky enough to have one!

Summary:

  • Quality: Both are of a great quality (something Whittards prides themselves on). The tea infuses well, the mug a fab, thick porcelain which keeps the tea really warm!
  • Ease of use: Super simple. Much easier than using biodegradable teabags.
  • Best use: Tea is for anytime of day! This would be great for in the office, but I’ve kept mine safe at hoe for those relaxing evenings after a long day, or those slow weekend mornings.
  • Price: The mug is £16 which is more expensive than standard mugs, but for the quality and fact you no longer need bags, it’s well worth it. The mini caddies are £7 each, so perhaps more of a summer treat. They’re actually on a 3 for 2 offer right now, so worth checking out.
  • Would we recommend trying? – YES. Every herbal tea drinker needs one of these mugs! The teas are beautifully balanced and worth trying too – some gorgeous summery flavours.
  • Availability: Via the Whittards website or stores.

Do you drink herbal teas? What’s your favourite and how do you drink yours?

Chloe xx

*I was sent a mug and teas to review. All views my own. 

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Recipe|| Tuna Pasta with Caponata & Asparagus

Kickboxing is the one cardio workout I still do in the evening. Rather than exercising before work. It’s hard. Like I feel like I might throw up hard. So often afterwards, I only really crave cereal. Or something similar.

Ok, I can’t just say this just happens after kickboxing. But these nights, I know I need something more substantial. Something for my muscles. Because let’s face it, they’re not going to recover from the intense HIIT session and me letting all my weeks stresses out on a bag, with just a bowl of mini weetabix or special K.

So when Alex is out, or it clashes with a night he’s at football late, I have to really push myself. Force myself to cook and eat more. A balanced meal. This recipe was created on one of those occasions.

Pasta is so quick to cook. And when you have a good pasta, like Firoelli, it makes it more tempting too.

Tuna Pasta with Caponata & Asparagus

For this recipe, I literally looked through my cupboards and fridge to see what I had. Adding the ingredients to the drained, cooked pasta. Caponata, asparagus (cooked off), tuna, spinach, garlic paste and a touch of balsamic to add flavour, texture and protein (tuna is pretty good in that department).

But since the first time I whipped this up, I have made this again. Because, to blow my own trumpet, it was seriously yummy! The caponata adding the tomato flavour, but not making it too saucy.

Tuna Pasta with Caponata & Asparagus

I even made enough to take leftovers to work the next day. It’s great to make in bulk!

If you’re a big pasta fiend like me. Or even if you’re after a new quick and easy recipe for mid-week. This one is for you.

Recipe is below. Let me know how you get on.

Chloe xx

Tuna Pasta with Caponata & Asparagus

Fiorelli Pasta with Caponata, Asapragus & Spinach

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 140 g Fiorelli Pasta (I use M&S)
  • 6 asparagus stalks
  • 1 tin tuna
  • ½ jar caponata (I use M&S)
  • ½ tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 100 g spinach baby leaf
  • 20 g brazil nuts chopped

Instructions

  1. Place the fiorelli pasta into a large saucepan of salted water. Bring to boil and cook for 8-10 minutes until just soft.

  2. Whilst the pasta is cooking, cut the asparagus stalks into four. Fry off in a small frying pan.

  3. Drain the pasta. Add the asparagus, tuna (drained), caponata, garlic paste and balsamic vinegar. Give it a good stir. Cook over a low heat for 3-5 minutes until heated through.

  4. Split the spinach leaves between two dishes. Top each dish with pasta. Sprinkle with nuts if desired. Enjoy!

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Out & About|| Musical Bingo

How had I not known about Muscial Bingo before? How had I never been? Last Thursday I tried it for the first time. I left croaky from singing my heart out, and had had so much fun.

Musical Bingo has actually been going for eleven years now. ELEVEN. They were celebrating their eleventh birthday last week when we visited which made for a fun round of party related tunes. I’ll come onto that.

Musical Bingo

I bet you could guess what Muscial Bingo entails without me even telling you.

Go on, take an educated guess.

Forget numbers, it’s all about naming the tunes the DJ plays. Each song is on from around 30seconds through to the whole song. Dependent on how much of a tune it is – you can’t cut off the hits right?! For each game, you get a grid of 9 songs to match. Prizes are given for first to 1 line, 2 lines, 3 lines and a full house.

Musical Bingo

Introducing and presenting the game night are two hilarious guys. One disappearing behind the DJ decks to play the tunes, and check the sheets. Often popping out with the confetti canon. Which he used as an air guitar once or twice (or maybe a few more times). The other presenting, cracking jokes and dancing on stage. All the dancing. They were both great and totally made the night.

Musical Bingo

The prizes…

The prizes were mainly funny. Last week’s featured a flying disc, foam bat and ball, super soaker and BBQ. But there were two big prizes too – two pairs of tickets to Bestival!

Musical Bingo

Winning the prizes isn’t always as easy as being the first to cross off a line though. You have to remember that you’re in a crowd of about 200, and others will probably have similar cards. It’s a race to the DJ Deck for checking, and quite often a showdown on stage between two or three of you.

So be prepared for games of Chubby Bunnies (stuffing as many marshmallows into your mouth and saying chubby bunnies), dance offs and a race to move a chocolate from you forehead to your mouth using just facial expressions (it did NOT look easy). It causes many laughs, and everyone seems to put their all in.

Musical BingoCan you see me in the bottom right corner? 😛 

Onto the tunes. Oh the tunes. We had a birthday round feat so many hit party tunes from ‘I bet you look on the dancefloor’ to ‘Get the party started’ and ‘Shake your tailfeather’. Then followed two more rounds. Both with some of the best karaoke tunes. We danced (sat down and on our feet), swayed, and sang our hearts out. The presenter got the whole room singing to Whitney and Queen. It was epic.

Musical BingoWe’re over in the back…this is before we were up dancing and belting out the tunes

Musical Bingo

Hence why I left with a shaky voice and dry throat.

Yes there’s booze. Plenty of it if you want it, with each musical bingo taking place in a bar/club. But you can have fun either way. Last week’s took place in Concrete in Shoreditch, and they also hold them in Brixton, every month, as well as Swansea, Brighton and Liverpool!

Musical Bingo

I can’t say I won anything but I left having had a fab night with the work girls. And that’s what matters. Something I’m definitely doing again!! Is it too early to plan next year’s birthday? 😛

SUMMARY:

  • Fun?: – SO MUCH FUN! I loved it. I’d definitely do this for a birthday or girls night out again! I’m even tempted to book for date night as I think Alex would love it too!
  • Price: £10 for standing, £12 for seated – it’s really reasonable for a fun night out in London!
  • Drinks: Dependent on location. Drinks at the Shoreditch spot (Concrete) are pretty standard for the area.
  • Recommend?: YES! Do it. You’re bound to come away danced and sung out – it’s such a fun night for any occasion!

What have you been up to recently? Ever done an alternative bingo?

Chloe xx

*I was invited along to try Musical Bingo. All views my own – I can’t wait to book another event!

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