Events, treatments, activities all get featured here, in the lifestyle section.

Misfit Shine activity tracker review

One of my New Years resolutions this year was to become healthier – to eat better, and be more active. Since graduating from university and working in an office, it’s easy to let weight creep on, and be tempted by the constant flow of office drinks, lunches and crappy breakfasts. Despite this, I have been doing quite well – I plan meals in advance, and go to the gym three times a week. This has saved me so much money, but it’s also been a great way to relieve stress. While I’m not the healthiest person in the world,  I have gradually been making small changes to offset my physical inactivity between the hours of 9 – 5: I take the stairs up in tube stations, and opt to walk instead of getting on the bus  (that is, if it’s not raining!) Little changes really do add up, but I wanted to see how much – and so my hunt began for an activity tracker.Misfit shineMisfit shine

If I’m going to be wearing something everyday, it needs to be aesthetically pleasing or it will drive me mad. This is what initially attracted me, and helped me to decide upon the Misfit Shine – practical and sleek, my Champagne coloured disc has attracted the attention of many, and has been a great conversation starter.Misfit shine

This little disc is powered by a battery which needs replacing every four months, and connects to my iPhone wirelessly through bluetooth. Through the iPhone app, I set myself a daily goal based on my height, weight, age and how much physical activity I do. It’s based on a personal target I’ve set myself, and by tapping the device throughout the day I can see how far along I am in reaching my goal. My personal goal equates to something along the lines of an hour and 45 minutes of walking, but I can meet my goals through various forms of activity. I wear my shine on my wrist on days when I go swimming (it’s waterproof!), or strap it to my sneakers with the magnetic clasp on days I decide to use the bikes in the gym. At the end of the day, you sync the Shine to the app and you can see how many steps you’ve taken, calories you’ve burned and ‘points’ you’ve earned throughout the day.

Misfit shine

I admit, when I first got the device over a month ago I became a woman possessed. I was obsessed with meeting my daily goal, in the same way David Sedaris became obsessed with his FitBit in this New Yorker article. I walked home from the office for over two hours on a day I’d been particularly inactive, and would be consumed with guilt the days I wouldn’t meet it. I’ve had it a while now, and have chilled out considerably. I love my shine – it’s oddly comforting to know how much I’ve been stomping around, and is a gentle, encouraging reminder to get out and be a little bit more active.

It also tracks your sleep, which is a feature I like, and tells you how many hours of deep sleep you’ve had.Misfit shine

The only downside to the product is that it can’t tell the difference between steps – you use a lot more energy going up flights of stairs (136 steps at Goodge Street station!), and the fact the device doesn’t always respond to my tapping (of course, only when my friends ask me for a demonstration of the device I’ve been raving about), but with the exception of those two points I absolutely love this nifty gadget and would really recommend it.

My shine, which I got here: Misfit Shine comes with a magnetic clasp (for your shoes) and a sports band (for your wrist). I’m currently coveting the rather stylish necklace and leather band accessories!

Anyone else have a good experience with their activity trackers?

Weird Science | Rooftop Film Club, Shoreditch

As part of my birthday present Mr. A took us out east to Shoreditch. Our relationship is built on the most solid of foundations – a mutual love for cheesy and ridiculous ’80s films, so an outdoor screening of John Hughes’ Weird Science seemed particularly apt!

Rooftop film club, ShoreditchQueen of Hoxton, Shoreditch Rooftop film club, ShoreditchRooftop film club, Shoreditch

The last time I went to an outdoor cinema in the UK was a few years ago when I went to see Ghostbusters at Spinningfields. It had chucked it down then, but that was Manchester – surely London in July would be a better bet? While I had dressed up and looked fairly glamorous (in an attempt not to look too scruffy next to the fashion forward yet casual Shoreditch crowd) the elements were against us, so for most of the evening I ended up looking like this:

Rooftop film club, Shoreditch

Although initially freezing, there was something oddly satisfying about watching a film wrapped up in a blanket under a poncho – it reminded me of going camping. The venue offers barbecue before the film screens, so we had a burger each with some rather healthy looking and lovely sides, which tasted very nice until it all got a bit wet. The rooftop of the Queen of Hoxton was decked out in cheery summery festival vibe and it was all rather sweet.

Rooftop film club, ShoreditchRooftop film club, Shoreditch Rooftop film club, ShoreditchRooftop film club, ShoreditchRooftop film club, Shoreditch Rooftop film club, Shoreditch

We were given headsets and sat in our deckchairs, and settled in. Despite not usually feeling the cold, I doubled up on blankets as I was incredibly chilly, so if you do go I suggest wrapping up warm!

Rooftop film club, ShoreditchRooftop film club, Shoreditch

The film was mad, and really enjoyable – even if slightly non PC by current standards – a very young Robert Downey Junior has a little role in it, too!

Although we had a lovely evening, I guess I’m not sure if we have the right climate for outdoor cinema. In the Mediterranean perhaps, but the past two experiences prove to me how ambitious of an endeavor it is. But who knows – it could be third time lucky!

Rooftop film club, Shoreditch

BGO’s Blogger Casino Night for WWF

On Thursday night I attended my very first blogger event, invited by the Joe’s Blogs Network and BGO. It was a casino night, with croupiers teaching us how to play roulette and blackjack. I had an amazing time, and once I arrived at the event and the butterflies in my stomach feeling had faded away I had such a laugh. It was incredible to be among several bloggers who I already followed, as well as to see some new faces too – I have a lot of reading to do!

BGO CasinoBGO meetup

It was a great night, with the winning formula of unlimited prosecco, pizza and the adrenaline rush from the roulette wheel. We were given some credit and all proceeds from the event went towards supporting WWF, which is such a great and worthy cause.

BGO BGO Meetup

BGO Casino Night

Some of the lovely ladies from the event – check them out! Skylish, Miss Geeky and Squibbvicious

BGo prosecco BGO blackjack

BGO Casino night

Thank you to Joe’s Bloggers and BGO for having me – I had a blast!

BGO Casino Night

RA Blogger Preview Event | Dennis Hopper: The Lost Album and Le Relais de Venise Entrecote

This week has been one of the busiest and most exciting I’ve had in a while. I attended my first two blogger events, the second of which was a blogger’s viewing event at the Royal Academy of Arts for their new exhibition – Dennis Hopper: The Lost Album. Dennis Hopper is better known for his cinematic work, in Rebel without a Cause (1955), Blue Velvet (1989) and Easy Rider (1969). He was also a keen photographer, and The Lost Album presents photographs he took between 1961 and 1967 in America.

Dennis Hopper Irving Blum and Peggy Moffitt, 1964 Photograph, 16.69 x 24.92 cm The Hopper Art Trust © Dennis Hopper, courtesy The Hopper Art Trust. www.dennishopper.com

Dennis Hopper
Irving Blum and Peggy Moffitt, 1964
Photograph, 16.69 x 24.92 cm
The Hopper Art Trust
© Dennis Hopper, courtesy The Hopper Art Trust. www.dennishopper.com

Dennis Hopper Andy Warhol, Henry Geldzahler, David Hockney and Jeff Goodman, 1963 Photograph, 17.25 x 24.74 cm The Hopper Art Trust © Dennis Hopper, courtesy The Hopper Art Trust. www.dennishopper.com

Dennis Hopper
Andy Warhol, Henry Geldzahler, David Hockney and Jeff Goodman, 1963
Photograph, 17.25 x 24.74 cm
The Hopper Art Trust
© Dennis Hopper, courtesy The Hopper Art Trust. www.dennishopper.com

As a child of the 90s, this event and the exhibition really made clear to me what a confusing, frightening and exciting times the 60s were. Through the lens of Dennis Hopper, all the different aspects of the 60’s we are all familiar with came together for me. In the Lost Album you see the decade in all its glamour, with portraits of models, artists and actors like Paul Newman, Andy Warhol and Jane Fonda, as well as struggle, which you can see in the photographs he took at the height of the American Civil Rights Movement. It took all the events that I had only understood previously as these discrete events or moments of history and visually presented them to us within the context of the time. As a former anthropology student I was far more fascinated in these images, of people during the civil rights movement and of the artists then I was at some of the photographs later on in the exhibit.

Dennis Hopper Jane Fonda and Roger Vadim at Their Wedding in Las Vegas, 1965 Photograph, 17.02 x 24.87 cm The Hopper Art Trust © Dennis Hopper, courtesy The Hopper Art Trust. www.dennishopper.com

Dennis Hopper
Jane Fonda and Roger Vadim at Their Wedding in Las Vegas, 1965
Photograph, 17.02 x 24.87 cm
The Hopper Art Trust
© Dennis Hopper, courtesy The Hopper Art Trust. www.dennishopper.com

Dennis Hopper Untitled (Blue Chip Stamps), 1961-67 Photograph, 24.97 x 17.12 cm The Hopper Art Trust © Dennis Hopper, courtesy The Hopper Art Trust. www.dennishopper.com

Dennis Hopper
Untitled (Blue Chip Stamps), 1961-67
Photograph, 24.97 x 17.12 cm
The Hopper Art Trust
© Dennis Hopper, courtesy The Hopper Art Trust. www.dennishopper.com

Aside from the dramatic and moving photos of these events the photograph that really drove it home for me was a picture of Roy Lichtenstein in front of one of his pieces. When I was in high school in New York, I lived in a group of apartment buildings connected to a plaza by the river, which had a couple of diners and cafes attached to it. We used to hang around there and eat onion bagels coated with butter on our lunchbreaks at the diner, which was decorated with large scale Lichtenstein imitations on the walls – the whole place was yellow and red and it just seemed so tacky, loud and almost pedestrian. I hated it. But in the Lost Album, seeing Lichtenstein sitting in front of his work, and in the context of the whole exhibition it was so incredible to see how fresh and new his work was in its time.

Dennis Hopper Double Standard, 1961 Photograph, 17.45 x 24.87 cm The Hopper Art Trust © Dennis Hopper, courtesy The Hopper Art Trust. www.dennishopper.com

Dennis Hopper
Double Standard, 1961
Photograph, 17.45 x 24.87 cm
The Hopper Art Trust
© Dennis Hopper, courtesy The Hopper Art Trust. www.dennishopper.com

The exhibition took place in the Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington Gardens in Piccadilly. We arrived a little early so we got a glass of wine before we went in to the bloggers preview area. The cocktails for the event (a deliciously summery fruit mojito) were provided by the Atelier cafe, in the lobby of the Royal Academy. The cafe is gorgeous, and looks like how I’d like my kitchen to look – I’ll definitely be back for a spot of lunch!

Dennis Hopper: The Lost Album Royal Academy Dennis Hopper Royal Academy Wine Dennis Hopper: The Lost Album 2014-06-27 13.49.14 Atelier Royal Academy Royal Academy Dennis Hopper: The Lost Album

Wine Atelier mojito

After the event, I took Mr A to somewhere I’d wanted to take him for a long time – Le Relais de Venise Entrecote. I almost don’t even want to write about this place as I don’t want more people to go! Le Relais de Venise have several branches internationally, in New York, Manchester and France. We arrived around 8.30 on a Friday night, and waited 45 minutes to get in – they don’t take reservations, but boy is it worth it.

Le Relais de Venise

Le Relais de Venise only has one item on the menu – so if you are a vegetarian or not a fan of steak then this place isn’t for you. The first item that arrives is a gorgeous walnut salad with a lemon-y dressing with some french bread. It is absolutely divine, and a lot more exciting than it might sound!

Walnut salad le relais de venise

The main is a gorgeous steak cooked to your liking – blue, red right up to well done. A fan of all things raw I took mine blue, and it just melts in your mouth. It comes with a side of fries and coated in the most incredible sauce. The first time I went to Le Relais de Venise a colleague of mine claimed he wanted to bathe in it, it’s that good. It’s almost a curry like flavour to it, but it’s creamy and delicious and a well-guarded secret. A few years ago a French newspaper claimed they had cracked the sauce, which they claim contains chicken livers so I’ll have to try it out for myself soon!

le relais de venise

We washed it down with a bottle of their house red, and the waitress came by again with seconds after we had cleared our plates. It was absolutely divine – I only wish they’d open up a branch in Muswell Hill! At this point I was so full and an incredibly happy girl, but Mr. A wanted to got a tarte au citron after all that queuing which was also delicious.

tarte au citron It was also lovely to see the lovely lady behind the Wonderlusting blog at the RA bloggers event, who I had met at the BGO blogger meetup event the night before, which I’ll be covering in my next post!

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Fatal Attraction to Shoryu Ramen

It was one of those unbelievably beautiful London days that it seemed almost a shame to be going inside last Saturday. But my sister and I, both nursing hangovers were pretty happy to be doing so, especially as we had managed to snag an unbelievably good deal. For a tenner each we’d managed to get some amazing seats to the West End production of Fatal Attraction at Theatre Royal Haymarket. As children of the 90s we were both really excited to see Kristin Davis (Charlotte York from Sex and the City) play Beth Gallagher in Fatal Attraction, based on the film of the same name. Londontheatre royal haymarket

But first, we had to eat – and as we were pressed for time (we went to the 2:30 show) we wanted something quick and delicious. Luckily, Shoryu ramen which we have been multiple times was just around the corner, so we popped in for a Shoryu Ganso tonkotsu ramen.Shoryutonkotsu ganso ramenshoryu tonkotsu ramen

If you are up for authentic, quick and tasty ramen then Shoryu is definitely worth popping into. The broth and noodles are delicious, and the pork and egg perfectly done, with a little runny in the middle. I washed mine down with oolong tea, and we were in and out within half an hour. Back in Japan, the best ramen places are always the dingy ones that truck drivers frequent – and is meant to be eaten fairly quickly as the noodles can get ‘long’, or soggy. If you are up for a long, leisurely feast of Japanese cuisine then I wouldn’t recommend the fast-paced and bustling Shoryu for you. As a pre-theatre lunch it was perfect, and we managed to get back in our seats with plenty of time.shoryushoryu

The show itself was really great – Natascha McElhone was hard to keep your eyes off of, she had great presence and is one of those people who looks even more stunning in real life than in films or photos. Kristin Davis and Natascha McElhone both stole the show, and the ending was different to the hollywood version, something the screenwriter had originally wanted to explore before the movie execs got involved. It was darker, which I liked and was such a good day out.Fatal Attraction

We decided to keep chatting about the play over bubble tea at Boba Jam. Bubble tea is quite an acquired taste – sweet milky tea with giant balls of tapioca floating at the bottom isn’t everyone’s cup of tea (haha!) but it was a great way to end a lovely afternoon.bubble tea