Posted on Leave a comment

My favourite Yoga studios in London…

Namaste my beautiful adventurers..

This week I’ve been recovering from the triathlon and enjoying a few yoga classes in the city.

These are my favourite choices in London whether you’re in need of a work de-stress (usually me!), fancy trying something different (also me) or spending some time here as a tourist. Enjoy!

Blue Cow Yoga – Moorgate

Tucked away underneath an office block you could easily wander past without knowing it’s there but when you venture downstairs it’s quick to notice that this is a well equipped yoga studio (also offering Barre classes). In the city it’s my ultimate favourite. The yoga teachers are on another level when it comes to class structure. I prefer the dynamic class which is both challenging and relaxing. And if I’ve had a long day at the office I feel incredible and zen.

Yotopia – Covent Garden

I am often in meetings in the west end so usually when I am I like to take advantage of being able to drop by the Yotopia studio. Some of the classes are 90 minutes long which makes them great value for money. Every teacher creates a different class, and offers beautiful words of mindfulness. They are often on ClassPass which makes them even cheaper.

Fat Buddha Yoga – Ministry of Sound

On a monthly basis I try to get to the Fat Buddha Yoga class at Ministry of Sound. It is truly unique and Jessica is my ultimate fave! She is also a DJ and offers such a fun, enjoyable class. Being in this epic nightlucb with it’s lighting and atmosphere just makes it  a real bucket list yoga experience. She has lots of other yoga classes popping up around some of the coolest parts of town so check her website for more details.

Yoga in the walkways – Tower Bridge

One of my favourite yoga experiences has to be an early morning session on the glass floor of Tower bridge’s upper level performing yoga poses with a suspended view of road and pedestrian life, all moving at pace 42 metres beneath me. The sun was rising, and everyone was rushing by on their way to work, whilst I pondered in downward dog above. The yoga was fantastic aswell so not just a gimmick. I’ve tried the yoga at the Shard too – great to try once too but this one I’d go back to again definitely. If you’re in London for a short period of time this is a great and unusual place to try.

Posted on Leave a comment

Learning to swim.. again

When I try to recall my first memories of swimming, I think of joyful summer holidays by the beach and hours spent splashing around until my fingers were as wrinkly as prunes.

It’s at school when it takes a more serious turn. The earliest memory that springs to mind is taking a water survival class which entailed wearing a whole outfit including heavy trainers and attempting to rescue each other – I remember it mostly because I hated it!

After that, the teenager years kicked in and not being terribly gifted with naturally sleek hair and falling victim to the 80’s big fringe trend (I still haven’t forgiven my mum for this!) I remember it being such an awful ordeal to have a midday swimming class. Terrible hair, goggle marks and prancing around in front of boys on a cold winters day was never outweighed by a love to swim!

I wouldn’t say I ever disliked swimming, it was just the effort, and the thought of it that always put me off practicing and learning how to get very good at it.

As an adult, I am quite partial to a few breast strokes in the spa, nattering to a friend or choosing it almost as a ‘rest day’ activity but until last year I hadn’t really thought about taking it any further.

I supposed it was inevitable that I would eventually want to take part in a triathlon. I love to run – marathons, half marathons, corporate 5k fun runs, I’m up for all of it. And I just love the way I feel after I’ve spent some time to myself pounding my stresses on the road behind me.

I soon became intrigued by cycling, a bike ride to Brighton turned into a 100 miler around London and Surrey for the PruRide London, and then a cycle to Paris. I really enjoyed it but I still loved to run and wanted to keep up with both. The triathlon idea just evolved from there..

My previous blog posts mentions my first attempt at the sprint triathlon in London last year. I massively underestimated the most technical part of it – the swim. I was so unaware of how emotional and overwhelming it would be. I was completely terrified.

This year I wanted to challenge myself and overcome some of the fears I have with open water swimming. I’ve signed up to the Olympic distance triathlon which involves a 1.5km swim!

It’s difficult to swim outdoors until the weather warms up, so mid May I took myself back to the lake! I could not believe how terrifying it was that first time and how different I feel now. I wanted to share the journey for everyone who has felt overwhelmed by swimming in the past, or for anything in life that feels impossible at the start.

To start I wanted to share my top places to swim in London (Greater London):

Tooting Bec Lido

It’s 90 meters long  which makes it the largest swimming pool in the area, and I love that it’s lined with cute Art Deco changing huts. There’s a great communal spirit here, and its such a welcoming place, not in the least bit intimidating. It is not heated however but incredibly refreshing. The Swim Fit gang on a Saturday morning are great – and I think it was here that something clicked and made me feel at ease in the water.

London Fields Lido

This one is a 50 meter pool so shorter but still a great size for training. It has the benefit of being heated and a similar decor to Tooting. I love London Fields and Broadway market which makes a trip here also an awesome opportunity for a stroll around East London.

Shepperton Open Water Lake

There comes to a point where a swimming pool isn’t going to cut it. On triathlon day I knew I was going to be thrown into the Thames and it couldn’t be the first time I’d swam in murky, petrifying open water. (Yes – the Thames!!) I researched where to try and Shepperton is a super popular choice for South Londoners. They have a fantastic set up. Newbies are given a a briefing and heir swimming is supervised before they can venture too far into the lake. It’s scary! That I cannot deny but at least this option tries to ease some of those fears. Look out for my next blog post which talks about overcoming fear.

Stratford Olympic Swimming Pool

It’s another East London choice – the iconic Olympic swimming pool. There’s something about being here that creates a buzz. And again it’s 50 meters so a great chance to fit in the distance without having to do a thousand lengths (how it feels for me at the tiny gym pool!).

It’s also good to point out that these options are all very affordable, offer changing and shower facilities. There is decent parking at Tooting and Shepperton and the cutest cafes at Tooting and London Fields. I hope you feel a little more inspired to give it a try..

Look out for more posts on my attempts to overcome the fear of the open water.. And how I get on at Windsor triathlon!

Enjoy, CityGirl

XX

Posted on Leave a comment

Reykjavik Travel guide

Now I’m not self proclaiming that I’m worthy of hipster status but I can appreciate an 80’s bomber jacket, graffiti as art and smashed avocado as a brunch staple so I think I can offer a thing or two about Reykjavik and what it has to offer.

It’s a cool place (excuse the pun!) that isn’t trying too hard. That’s hipster in itself right?!

Pretty streets, cool shopping boutiques and cafes in abundance, it’s a great place to stroll around and not doesn’t have to be a stopping point en route to the wider country. Here are some top tips for your stay..

View Point…

The Church of Hallgrimur is the icon of this city. Walking towards it along the vibrant streets will take some time as you will want to stop for lots of pics! You can head inside and walk to the top tower to see beautiful views of Reykjavik’s colourful rooftops and further out to sea. The design was intended to resemble the natural landscape or Iceland with its ice caps, volcanoes and basalt columns. It’s a must see landmark in the city.

Insta Shot…

This was an easy decision and it just has to be the Harpa, the striking Concert Hall and Conference centre and recipient of the prestigious Mies Van Der Rohe award for architecture. It is situated in the heart of the city and features stunning views of snowy mountains and across the Ocean. Wander inside and take a good look at the different light that the centre draws to it. There are shops that offer Nordic designed crafts and gifts. We didn’t watch a concert but I’d love to check out the listings if I was heading back.

Something different…

For a population of just 320,000 people, Iceland has produce chart topping music from well known, respected artists Björk, Sigur Ros and Of Monsters and Men to name just a few. Reykjavík feels like the beat of the country and is home to a buzzing live music scene. Café Rosenberg was our favourite evening choice playing live jazz and some of Iceland’s breakthrough bands. An awesome stop during the daytime has to be Kaffe Vinyl, a new bar/cafe and record store. It wouldn’t look too out of place in Dalston and also hosts live performances in the evening.

7F9E7927-3362-425F-AD7E-030C6D26D2F2

Something active..

So Iceland is renowned for its hot water springs but what about its cold water swimming! Not to be put off by ‘ice’ being the former syllable in the country’s name and being quite used to a cold lake or sea swim training for triathlons in UK’s great excuse for a summer I was quite up to the challenge. Close to Reykjavík town is the Nauthólsvík geothermal beach, where the sea temperature can reach minus 2 degrees in the winter. After a very short swim attempt, when actually deemed a terrible time of year to try it we committed ourselves to the hot springs close by. All year round, people enjoy the use of the geothermal beach’s hot-tubs, steam-bath, changing facilities and showers, even when the water drops below freezing. Whichever you choice it’s a great addition to a stay in Reykjavík.

7B81557D-99AF-4271-81A0-1A9A061314D5

Something to eat…

So when we think of a hipster, what culinary choice often comes to mind is street food, or pop-up style, cheap and inventive food in a minimal setting. This could not be a better choice for a pricey country. We tried Icelandic Street Food, considered the first fast food concept in Iceland with traditional Icelandic food. It is a family owned business with recipes made from the owner’s Grandmother. He was in attendance on the evening we visited and pointed out that his Grandmother had made the cakes, which meant we just had to try them! I tried the seafood soup, and ordered a can of beer. This came to less than £20 so still expensive but much more reasonable than other options, and a lot more tasty than an overpriced spaghetti Bolognese.

73B38B52-28B8-47F9-93F9-FBEA05EBF700

Something to drink…

Named after two Icelandic words for birch, Birkir (birch schnapps) and Björk (birch liqueur) are a fantastic showcase of native Icelandic ingredients.

Birkir, the stronger of the two at 35%, has a boozy and earthy aroma and mixes well with soda water or tonic for an easygoing cocktail. We bought some at the airport to take advantage of cheaper prices. Most of the rest of the team we enjoyed a beer or two!

E22CA987-EDB2-401F-91C3-A88BE367B76E

Something interesting…

I’d recommend a city tour with I Heart Reykjavik. They take you to their own favourite places in the city centre and teach you a few words of Icelandic. This is a great tour to get an overview and introduction to the city. I was amazed to see so much awesome graffiti art dotted around!

C41F7623-E469-496E-9683-A1A1109A0177

My next post will share some of my favourite stops along the Golden Circle.

Have a great weekend all.

IMG_4374

CityGirl x