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Fitness|| Bollywood Fusion with Kiran Kishore

Back in my younger days, until I was 11 or So, I did ballet. Every week I went with my grandma to the dance school for lessons and practice.

But being a child who knew exactly what they wanted (trust me, I didn’t really), I quit. I tried to reignite the dancing fire at high school (I went to a sports college), but I’m afraid to say the bullies kept me away from that one. So when I hit uni, and I became a bit more Me, a bit more carefree, I tried again with adult ballet and hip-hop – I’m not sure I’d be where I am today if I hadn’t joined the dance society and gained the confidence I did.

However, since leaving uni, I’m afraid to say dance has faded into the background. I went through a phase of doing Supermalcolms classes at pineapple, but only for 4 months or so. My efforts focused more on fitness at the gym and running (as it’s free!), and I forgot how good a dance class can really be – both for physical and mental fitness. That was until I tried out Bollywood fusion this week.

Bollywood Fusion with Kiran Kishore

Kiran Kishore, runs two Bollywood classes a week – one at Pineapple Dance Studio and one at the newly opened BASE in Vauxhall. Based on traditional dance moves, choreographed to her favourite Bollywood songs the dances can vary hugely as does the music – but it always looks fun!

You start as all humble Bollywood dancers do, giving thanks to everything which allows you to dance. The warm-up then starts to introduce the traditional moves in a slow repetitive way, so you can start to get a feel for how you need to move your body for the next hour. The warm-up actually felt like an alternative aerobics class. It doesn’t take long to get warm, and it’s on to the main event.

Kiran talks through the steps four counts at a time, with attendees following the moves. After roughly each 16-32, dependent on how tricky the steps were, we practised to music until we all felt comfortable. There was plenty of space for questions too, of which I obviously asked a couple as the hand positions were completely new to me.

I actually surprised myself with my memory for choreography, as even when Kiran stepped away for one practice round, I just about managed even if I did miss a step or two haha.

But it’s not about being perfect. It’s about the fun. Enjoying yourself. The effort you put in. The sweat. Moving your body in ways it doesn’t usually. Working out in a new exciting way. And trust me, this is a fab way.

It doesn’t matter your level, as Kiran is usually at the front to follow, and the moves are broken down into manageable sections. There’s lots of time to practise too. I hadn’t been dancing for at least a couple of years, and I’ve never been great at It, it’s always been for fun but I picked it up pretty well.

Bollywood Fusion with Kiran Kishore

The hour goes pretty quickly once you’ve got into the swing of it, but at only £7 it’s really reasonable for an hour class. What’s more, the proceeds actually go to Help Refugees! So it’s for a great cause. So there’s no excuse 😉

Summary:

  • Price: £7 at Pineapple and £8 at BASE with proceeds going to Help Refugees. (You will need to pay membership to get into pineapple dance studio)
  • Fun/serious: so much fun! Great for shaking off the day’s stress or even as a girls night activity
  • Level: suitable for all. Everything is broken down so well, and plenty of run-throughs
  • Recommend? Yes! I want to get the team at work to do a class for team building haha
  • How to book: Bollywood fusion is on at Pineapple Dance Studio on Wednesdays 7-8pm (find here) or BASE dance studio Thursday 6-7pm (find here).

Have you tried a new fitness class or fun dance class recently?

Chloe xx

*I was invited along to try Bollywood Fusion. All views are honest and my own – I have since pitched a Bollywood class to the Wellness team at work 🙂 

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Eating Out|| Brunch at Elan Cafe, Brompton Road

Elan cafe seemed to become insta-famous over night. It just appeared. All those pictures against the (now) well-renowned floral wall, the pink lattes and cute interior filled our Instagram feeds, and continue to do so.

Elan Cafe, Brompton Road

A lot of the time however, something might look pretty, like really pretty, with edible flowers and presentation to rival the best in London, but it just doesn’t taste good. I was intrigued to find out what Elan Cafe was hiding behind it’s pretty plates, and beautiful presentation…and to be honest, I was actually quite surprised.

Elan Cafe, Brompton Road

Weekend mornings have to be the worst to visit somewhere like this. The dread of joining a queue for breakfast on a Saturday, when you’re super hungry and dying to eat, has to keep many away from the more popular brunch places. But at just before 10.30 on the Saturday we visited, there was no wait for a regular table – not surprisingly, people were waiting for a table next to THAT wall, but it was only about 45mins wait when we first arrived.

The rest of the restaurant, however, is just as pretty – minimalist, light and pink. So pink and floral. There are flowers on every marble table top, a draping tree by the bar area and there was even a floral heart arrangement in the window for Valentine’s day when we went. There’s also a wall filled with pink takeaway cups, and some cute quotes dotted around, on the walls and floors. We did not feel like we were missing out, not sat next to the famous wall.

Elan Cafe, Brompton Road

Tables are all fit quite snug around the restaurant, with bar seating available too. From where we were sat we could easily slyly eye up what everyone else was ordering and see how well it seemed to be going down.

Elan Cafe, Brompton RoadPhoto by Francesca Sophia

The breakfast/brunch menu itself has plenty of options for all types of diet. From the traditional to the more creative, you can tell the menu is well-thought out, with the presentation in mind. As for choosing between all these dishes, that was the difficult part.

Elan Cafe, Brompton Road

The drinks list was just as extensive with a variety of hot drinks, including flavoured ‘lattes’, juices and smoothies, and cold brews. The pink one, otherwise known as the ruby latte, was a no brainer. It’s pink. Hello. But also, I do love to try new things even if I was craving caffeine.

Elan Cafe, Brompton Road

The Ruby latte, flavoured with beetroot and ginger, was just as pretty as the pictures. It had a light, slightly sweet flavour which wasn’t over powered by the ginger – this actually just accentuated the sweetness of the beetroot. Creamy, it was rather filling but so worth it. This might be caffeine free but I’d definitely go for this again.

Elan Cafe, Brompton RoadFran looking deep in thought into her latte.

As for the food well…

Elan Cafe, Brompton Road

The avocado on toast with poached egg arrived with pomegranate seeds, watercress, shaved cucumber and sundried tomatoes. It didn’t taste all that different to a good avocado on toast, except it had an extra zesty edge.

Elan Cafe, Brompton RoadPhoto by Francesca Sophia

The Flatbread with home cured beetroot salmon, lemon and dill cream cheese and poached egg, was superb too. Going with all the beetroot. Well it is a super food right?

Elan Cafe, Brompton Road

The salmon only had a slight difference in flavour – a little sweeter and bolder in taste. It was a fab purple-pink colour however which made me think this was the reason for it being on the menu.

It paired beautifully with the lemon and dill cream cheese, which was light and slightly zesty. On a fresh and floury flatbread, with a poached egg on top, and fresh salad, it made one delicious brunch dish. A mix of beautiful textures and flavours. Not just a pretty face for sure.

Elan Cafe, Brompton Road

Service was pretty laid back, but not slow. We could see a few hosts rushing around greeting, seating, and delivering dishes, but we never felt rushed or pushed. Just like you wish a place like this would be.

Summary:

  • Price: Roughly £17 for a brunch dish, coffee and service. Not too bad when you take everything else into account.
  • Food: not just a pretty face. Delicious, well-thought out dishes. Something for all dietary requirements.
  • Drinks: extensive list. The Ruby latte is a must.
  • Atmosphere: Prim and Proper, but relaxed.
  • Wait: none at 10.30 on a Saturday but imagine it does get busy so head down early. We didn’t feel rushed through service either.

Both Fran and I would actually really recommend a visit if you haven’t been.

Have you discovered a new brunch spot recently?

Chloe

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Travel|| Why I booked my first solo trip…

For the past year or so I’ve been nagging Alex to go on more trips. More holidays. More adventures.

At one point, when I finally quit my career I even said we should go travelling. Get away from the real world. Learn. Explore. Together. Obviously he couldn’t. Just like I used to be, and am again now, he couldn’t leave a job with nothing to come back to. Fear aside, it wasn’t going to happen.

The thing is, Alex and I put a lot more emphasis on spending or saving for different things. Don’t get me wrong, were both saving for the long-term goals. But for me, I want to see more of the world before we get to that point. I want the experiences. To submerge myself in new cultures. Try traditional cuisines.

It doesn’t mean spending loads (I always look for offers or sales), but spending on going away comes above quite a lot of other stuff for me at the moment. If happily have a few weekends doing nothing to be able to afford a weekend away.

For Alex however, he’d happily spend on a night out with friends, but £50 For a UK city break before spending money needed thinking about.

For me. It was a no brainer.

So I booked it. Just for me. Alone.

I made the most of the virgin trains sale last weekend and I’m heading to Manchester mid-April for just over 24 hours of sightseeing, exploring, culture and food. Of course, food.

Am I nervous. A little. It’s my first solo trip. But baby steps. I’m hoping this will give me confidence to do more and more. Id love to do these things with Alex but if our priorities right now arent aligned for this and this is the way I’m going to be able to visit all the places on my bucketlist, this is the way it’ll be. So there will hopefully be more to come!

I’ve had a few recommendations over on Twitter for things to see/do but any more, comment below as I’d love to hear them! What are your fave things to see/do in Manchester?

Chloe xx

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Out & About|| Rooftop cocktails at Madison London

One of the most iconic destinations in East Central London. St. Pauls Cathedral.

Now imagine being able to sit out sipping cocktails on a roof terrace with that as your view. Pretty incredible right? I can tell you, it sure is.

Rooftop cocktails at Madison London

Madison, the sixth floor rooftop bar, terrace and tapas restaurant, can be found right opposite St. Pauls. At the top of New Change, it’s regularly filled with the business types during the week and radiates a premium feel. With twinkly fairy lights, furry cushions and throws to keep you warm, it’s a cute spot for cocktails. And that view, well – it’s hard to beat.

The new cocktail menu features twelve cocktails inspired by America’s colourful cocktail history from the Victorian ages right through the Prohibition era to the present day. The new menu was devised by Madison Assistant General Manager Fred Tartas (previously German Gymnasium, Blue Bar at The Berkeley Hotel and The Ritz, Paris) and his team, and has been created using a hand-picked selection of premium bourbon, gin, vodka and speciality spirits.

Rooftop cocktails at Madison London

In homage to the classics, which have become popular around the world, half of the menu features six cocktails from the Hall of Fame in their original form. The second half of the menu consists of six cocktails with contemporary twists, aiming to champion ambitious experimentation on par with New York’s own world-class cocktail bar scene. And there was me thinking the London cocktail scene was pretty awesome!

Rooftop cocktails at Madison London

The Hummingbird was a strong favourite of the evening. A sophisticated take on the Aviation, which dates back to the early twentieth century, the cocktail combines copperhead gin with maraschino liqueur and lemon juice, topped with Madison’s unique multi flowers foam. It’s a delicious combination of sweet juicy liquid and a frothy top, and is beautifully presented.

The Cinema Highball is a vintage special that was born at the Please Don’t Tell bar in New York. Consisting of Barbados 5yo rum, butter washed and popcorn infused for a sweet flavour, then mixed with Fever Tree Madagascan Cola and lime juice, it arrived with a cute miniature cone of popcorn. It reminded me of a Long Island Iced Tea but 100x better. Sweeter. More cola = a better balance of alcohol to mixer.

I was really surprised by how much I liked the Maple & Almond Sour. A nutty twist on the much-loved whisky sour, I’m not surprised it reminded my of the amaretto sour – a much loved favourite. With a base of Armagnac Gaspard infused with roasted almond, dark chocolate and spices, it’s topped with lemon juice, maple syrup and egg white. A short cocktail, it’s potent but just so – a beautiful blend of flavours.

Rooftop cocktails at Madison London

We had some nibbles, or for the upper class, canapes, which were superb – the arancini with garlic mayo was delicious and creamy, the chicken which came with fries, was tender and flavoursome with a crispy coating, and I couldn’t resist a mini burger which was up there with the other mini burgers I’ve had recently.

We had a fab date night, snuggled up under the furry blanket keeping warm whilst sipping cocktails and admiring the surroundings. One beautiful location.

Summary:

  • Price: Between £11.50 and £13 for cocktails. It’s pretty standard for a London rooftop bar. But for that view it’s totally worth it.
  • Food: The nibbles/canapes were perfect snack size for enjoying during cocktails. The arancini were my fave
  • Drinks: Well-devised flavour profiles. I was surprised, in a good way, with a two out of three of the cocktails I tried
  • Atmosphere: Premium. Cosy. Sophisticated.
  • Service: The service was friendly/helpful, the bar team keen to know which we’d enjoyed

With the evenings getting longer, The Madison should be on everyone’s must-visit list this Spring/Summer. Go for views. Stay for cocktails.

What’s your favourite rooftop bar?

Chloe xx

*I was invited along to Madison London to try the new cocktail menu. All views my own. Photos provided due to lighting on the night. 

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Recipe|| Goats Cheese & Blackcurrant Hot Cross Toasties

Hot cross buns are a fave.

In fact, my birthday is always around Easter and some of you will know that I quite often request these beauties instead of birthday cake. Yes you read right. Hot cross buns > cake!

Goats Cheese & Blackcurrant Jam Hot Cross Toasties Recipe

So with Easter coming up, I’m obviously going to be experimenting with hot cross buns in the kitchen. I know they’re great as french toast, and they make an awesome substitute to bread rolls or brioche for a bacon sarnie, but I needed more. More hot cross bun ideas for my Easter repertoire – as well as eating more than my fair share of buttery ones.

Goats Cheese & Blackcurrant Jam Hot Cross Toasties Recipe

It hit me. As it makes such a good bacon toastie, there has to be other awesome fillings. Sweet, savoury, creamy. And so goats cheese and blackcurrant were paired together. Oozing out of the bun as it toasted. Jam dripping onto the plate as we picked up each bun for a bite.

Goats Cheese & Blackcurrant Jam Hot Cross Toasties Recipe

Messy? Yes. Delicious? Incredibly.

They were sweet and creamy. The flavour combination working a treat. Alex, at first unsure, wants to have them again next weekend over Easter! I might have to make them for the family when we visit. 

Goats Cheese & Blackcurrant Jam Hot Cross Toasties Recipe

The recipe is below – enjoy. What’s your favourite way to eat hot cross buns?

Chloe xx

Goats Cheese & Blackcurrant Jam Hot Cross Toasties Recipe

Goats Cheese & Blackcurrant Hot Cross Toasties

A fruit toastie, with a sweet and creamy filling. Rich and indulgent. 

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 4 hot cross buns extra fruity
  • 120 g goats cheese
  • 4 tsp blackcurrant jam heaped

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat a toastie machine or George Foreman style grill. Slice the hot cross buns in half, as you would a bread roll or brioche bun for a sandwich. Leave to the side.

  2. Cut the goats cheese into roughly 12 pieces and split between the four hot cross bun bases. Top each with a heaped teaspoon of blackcurrant jam. Close the hot cross bun. 

  3. Place each individual hot cross bun between grease-proof baking paper and pop onto the grill. Pull the grill lid down and grill for 5-10 minutes until starting to brown on top and the cheese is starting to melt. Get messy and enjoy!

Goats Cheese & Blackcurrant Jam Hot Cross Toasties Recipe Goats Cheese & Blackcurrant Jam Hot Cross Toasties Recipe

 

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