WELL BEING & OTHER STORIES

Recipes, rituals and other stories to realign the body and mind

LONDON

AN EVENING ON UPPER STREET

Essentials, Travel, Review, Lifestyledanielle coppermanComment

From top | Rejuvenate Intensive Body Balm, Aesop | Catherine Oil Burner Blend, Aesop | Samples, Aesop | Glass Pot, Folklore | Blue Dipped Gold Hammered Earrings, Oliver Bonas | Glass and Acacia Storage Jar, Folklore


Yesterday was supposed to be my ‘day’. My ‘day’ - my time - to do Christmas Shopping, and get the great people in my life the great gifts they deserve. Since I was putting together Holiday Breakfast Hampers we curated at Qnola all morning, the ‘day’ I’d set aside was in fact an ‘evening’. But I think I had a better time anyway. It was a mild evening, I was hardly layered up at all - no scarf, no gloves. What month is this? Hang on, where am I? Whatever’s going on, the air was fresh, the shops weren't too busy and the music on my iPod seemed better than ever. It was one of those (perhaps rare) moments where you’re insurmountably happy and content in your own company. And my mood was only lifted when I managed to get pretty much everything on my list, got offered a glass of wine by a salesman in Aesop (good tactics - bought a lot), and discovered a few shops I’d never heard of, selling very ‘me’ things and lots of them (again - bought a lot).

For last minute gifts, head to Upper Street in Islington for a calmer shopping experience than more central London locations. Spend some time in NookLondon and Folklore - remember that you are buying for others and not yourself - swing by Ottolenghi or The Artisan Gluten Free Bakery for homemade healthy fuel anytime of day, and then browse what I think was a Christmas Market but didn’t have the chance to enjoy as markets are a day thing, and on this particular day I was a nighthawk shopper.

AND THAT'S WHAT AN ACQUA CALDA JOURNEY FEELS LIKE

Review, Lifestyle, Beautydanielle coppermanComment

I was recently invited to embark upon the Acqua Calda Journey at Grace Belgravia and I think accepting the invitation might have been one of the best decisions of my life so far. In fact, I know it was. 1 hour and a half of pure detoxification - but not on an edible level - left me feeling silky smooth, care-free, and as light as a feather. No juice cleansing, no macro-salads - not your usual kind of detox. Just the natural healing power of water, steam, temperature, salts and essential oils aimed at invigorating and refreshing you from the outside in, instead of the inside out.

The journey began with 15-20 minutes in a sauna, lying flat on my back, head resting on soft hammam towels. Sounds relaxing - and it was - but after 15 minutes, your body is actually working much harder than you think. You see it as a sedentary lie down, a time to think, breathe and do nothing, however, your body is working hard to regulate your body temperature, your breath and your circulation, and is expelling toxins in the form of sweat from every inch of your body. 

Following this, I thrusted myself into a shower with jets aiming at my hot bod from every angle, and, as instructed yet rather hesitantly, pressed the cold button. An entire minute (which I assumed would feel like an hour but which actually seemed like a second) of full power, ice cold water hit my steaming body, cooling me down from head to toe, literally taking my breath away, but somehow delightfully. The first few seconds were much appreciated as I felt a little dizzy from the sauna and was keen to cool down. I didn't even mind that I couldn't expel full breaths as my body stood obediently in a situation it would never usually willingly have found itself in. After this, I sipped on lemon infused room temperature water, sitting wrapped in the hammam towel, as my breath and body temperature rebalanced and returned to their standard rates.
After a few minutes, I was guided into an aromatic steam room with beautiful tiling and gentle lighting. Considering my body temperature and the way my cells were buzzing, it felt hotter than any other steam room I'd been in, but as I lay flat, my body and mind were becoming calmer and calmer and the intensity of the heat hardly phased me. This 20 minutes felt considerably longer than the time I'd spent in the sauna, but I powered through and when I left the room, I felt too amazing for words. The wet heat, as opposed to the dry heat of the sauna, had worked to rehydrate my body, and the high temperature had my cells and my metabolism working in overdrive. But, despite feeling slightly light headed, I felt incredible. Back in the shower, one slightly longer minute of ice cold water on my body was refreshing, energising, empowering and invigorating. The hardest part was over. My skin was alive, my metabolism was thriving, my cells were busy and my mind was clear. I felt spaced out, I felt as though I was floating on air, I felt brand new and I felt like anything was possible. The final stage of the journey was even more relaxing, and very little was required from me.

I was led into a gently heated room with a smooth marble slab in the middle, incredible scents of natural salts and essential oils and calming music. I lay flat whilst the spa manager guiding my journey smothered my body in Himalayan Pink Salts, scrubbing away at my refreshed skin, removing any dead skin and dirt, and penetrating my open pores. It was amazing. It's all well and good exfoliating in the shower, but you never quite reach every inch of your body, and I personally get tired or bored easily. She did a thorough job and my entire body felt alive and invigorated, not to mention. Once this was applied and rinsed off on both my front and back, a gentle massage was followed by a full body spirulina mask - a thick yet light, smooth, cooling natural mask consisting only of pure spirulina and water. And that was that. 15 minutes later, with my feet in a magnesium salt electrolyte-replenishing foot bath, I reflected on how much I'd changed since stepping foot in the changing rooms just over an hour before. I was so calm, my mannerisms and my speech were slow and gentle, I felt positive and happy, energised and refreshed, light, carefree and balanced. I also felt incredibly exhausted, as, although I'd theoretically done absolutely nothing, my body had been working up a sweat - literally.

It is amazing how doing so little can wear you out so much. Our bodies are so incredibly clever, and even when you think you're doing nothing, you're doing so much on a cellular level. Every second of every day your body is renewing, repairing, strengthening and recreating cells, muscles, bones and tissue, and is constantly carrying out active processes. Diet plays a huge part in fuelling these internal functions, but the skin is just as important in keeping our bodies in check. As the largest organ of the body, and the organ of expression, keeping our skin healthy is hugely important, and essential to overall health. Our skin is what protects our cells, organs and internal processes, and if our skin is unhealthy, clogged or congested, our cells will be too. That's why it is so important to take care of your skin, and to start cleansing your body physically, and not just through diet. The two go hand in hand, and it is easy to practice this kind of treatment from home. Take interval showers (going from hot to cold), make homemade scrubs, natural body masks and natural moisturisers. What you feed your skin, you ultimately feed your body, so make sure you use products with as few additives in as possible. Try not to use products you can't eat. If it isn't safe to eat, it isn't safe to be absorbed into your body through every pore.

BE CONTENT

Travel, Wellbeing, Review, Lifestyle, Beautydanielle coppermanComment

I'm not much of a facial person. I mean, I'm facial in the sense that I have a face, but I'm not a 'go for a facial' kind of girl. My beauty regime has always been pretty minimal to be honest. I am grateful for being blessed with a pretty easy, cooperative complexion. My skin, although sensitive and dry at times, has never been especially oily, greasy, spotty or problematic. 

I had my first facial when I was 21, and since then, I've had only 1 other. Between the two, there are very few similarities. I'm almost trying to forget the first one, to make more space in my mind to hold on to the memory of my second one, which took place at Content Beauty, London. Calling it a facial actually seems like an unjust way to describe it. It was so so so much more. So much more.
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I enjoyed a casual stroll down Marylebone high street - a calm, very traditional street in London dotted with independent cafes, restaurants and shops - before ending up outside the shop. A small, characteristic store with a picturesque shopfront, Content Beauty is a real one off. A tiny shop with fully stocked shelves, it is more like an apothecary, or something out of a Harry Potter film - with interesting jars, products, ingredients and other contraptions on shelves and bookcases that reach the ceiling, grabbing and keeping hold of your attention. You could easily spend days in there, browsing the products, reading the labels of each one, or talking to the specialists who stand calmly on the shop floor to offer advice to anyone who needs it, but at the same time not imposing on your journey around the shop or following you around offering unwanted advice. It is like a library of beauty products, and everything in there is organic, natural and lovingly made. There is so much to discover.

"THE BRANDS WE STOCK, SHARE OUR PASSION FOR NATURAL SKINCARE AND ORGANIC INGREDIENTS. EACH HAS BEEN CHOSEN FOR THEIR COMMITMENT TO QUALITY AND HOLISTIC SKIN HEALTH."

I was so mesmerised by the products that I almost forgot I was there for a facial. A beautiful specialist, with a really calming, gentle air about her, approached me by the Dr Alkaitis products, and guided me down a tight staircase to a treatment room under the shop. Beneath the shop was even more tranquil, with an impossibly chilled atmosphere and mesmerising aromas. I already felt better about life in general.

I removed my top and climbed onto a cloud-like bed, resting my head in the soft, trusty hands of this stranger who was about to change my life. I'd opted for the Dr Alkaitis Skin Food Facial Treatment - which combines organic, enzyme-rich, natural ingredients with gentle techniques, as well as a facial massage, to reduce inflammation, calm skin conditions, revitalise the complexion, remove impurities, enhance the skins natural state, and encourage the skins natural functions.

"WINNER OF THE WALLPAPER MAGAZINE DESIGN AWARD FOR BEST FACIAL IN 2010, THE DR ALKAITIS TREATMENT CONTAINS CERTIFIED ORGANIC, BIODYNAMIC AND ETHICALLY WILD-CRAFTER INGREDIENTS IN THEIR RAW STATE, FOR GREATEST EFFECTIVENESS. DUE TO THE 'LIVING' COMPLEXITY OF THE FORMULATIONS, DR ALKALIS PRODUCTS WORK WITH YOUR SKINS NATURAL FUNCTIONS - NOT AGAINST THEM".

The treatment deeply cleanses and clarifies congested skin, at the same time as nourishing and calming any sensitive, inflamed or irritated skin.

There are several phases to the treatment:
. Remove make up, using Dr Alkalis Make-Up remover.
. Cleanse skin with Purifying Cleanser / removed with organic muslin cloth.
. Exfoliate / with a natural, gentle peel (consisting of organic oat buds, blueberry, bilberry, strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, barley grass, turmeric, cats claw, and enzymes lipase, lactase, protease, amylase and bromelian), to encourage impurities and blemishes to become more visible. 
. Pre-extraction prep / this includes a layer of active raw manuka honey applied to the skin before a suction technique is used to gently loosen dirt or open pores. Manuka honey has may benefits for the body both internally and externally. In this instance, it works as an antiseptic and anti-bacterial layer to ensure the skin is clean before the extraction phase.
. Gentle manual extractions - optional / basically a gentle yet accurate and determined process in which any blackheads are removed, eliminating toxins and rebalancing the skins natural processes.
. Soothing gell applied with organic cotton pads / to calm down any areas that were affected during the extraction phase.
. Facial massage / using organic treatment oil (containing turmeric to reduce inflammation as a result of the prior stages of the treatment). This also includes an impossibly relaxing upper body massage of the head, neck, arms and shoulders - which I never wanted to end.
. Finishing mask / using the Universal Mask by Dr Alkaitis. This is literally like putting food on your skin, and if you learn about how certain ingredients can compliment and care for your skin, you can pretty much make your own face masks and scrubs using the contents of your fridge, and a few superfood powders. This one includes oat buds, organic grass juice complex (incl. kamut, alfalfa and wheatgrass), sea vegetable complex (incl. chlorella, dulse, spirulina, ainu-wakame and sea palm), Goats milk protein, vegetable complex (incl. carrots, cabbage, kale, sweet potato, broccoli, cucumber, ginger and parsley - amongst others) and a seed complex (incl. amaranth, flax, soy, buckwheat and millet - amongst others).
. Final massage phase, followed by the application of a replenishing serum, eye cream and organic day cream

After the treatment, I stayed in the shop, learning a little more about the products, and about the dangers of many conventional beauty products. I learnt about how our skin is the largest organ, and is a reflection of what is going on internally. It also acts as the transport route for all kinds of material - both good and bad - to be absorbed into the body. One of the greatest (and easiest) things you can do for your skin is to use 'food-state' beauty products, or simply just food. You shouldn't really put anything on your skin that you can't eat, as harmful chemicals in cosmetic products will still end up inside your body, regardless of whether you eat them or absorb them. Think about it next time you're shopping for new moisturisers or make up, and treat the ingredients label just as you would your food items.

If you want to learn more about what not to feed your skin, what ingredients to avoid and what products to invest in for your own personal beauty goals, visit the shop or make an appointment for a treatment with one of the teams specialists. Things were fine before my facial. My skin wasn't especially difficult, my beauty regime was pretty basic, and I luckily had never been especially troubled by blemishes or acne. But things were definitely better afterwards (sometimes you are so comfortable with what you are used to that you don't even know there is room for improvement). I left with a glow, and I might have taken some exciting new products with me too, and with the introduction of just a few simple ingredients to my beauty routine, my skin is now not just healthy, but content.

JUICE BABY

Travel, Wellbeing, Reviewdanielle coppermanComment

Despite the name, Juice Baby is by no means infantile. This place is more like the daddy of raw food, and with a menu I thought I would never find this side of the pond, it is so ahead of the game. Their Raw Pad Thai is like no other, their millionaire shortbreads are so nourishing it's like biting into a slice of happiness, and the chia seed pudding, with an abundance of homemade toppings, is Spot. On. And what I love about it most is how silently it has crept onto London's health food scene.

The atmosphere is wonderful, and something I find really important in any kind of eatery, especially a healthy one. People can easily feel intimidated entering a health food store, feeling under educated or out of place if they aren't a regular juicer with a sturdy E3 shot schedule. But Juice Baby is calm, laid back and has beautiful interiors that don't make you feel on edge about spilling a little kale juice. This place could very easily be your best friends living room.

Their menu is what sets this place apart from other health food jaunts across the UK. They've gone one step further than a few bliss balls and a box of courgetti, offering amazing sea kelp noodles and salads with vibrant, tasteful dressings, delicious chocolate treats, homemade nut milks, juices, smoothies and shots, and other snacks that fit perfectly into a busy lifestyle with little time to dedicate to cooking. They make salads instantly more delicious with simple dressings and dips, and their lunch boxes are full of a combination of ingredients, making them exciting and interesting, as opposed to plain, dry and limp-looking. They take traditional favourites like thai noodles and mexican chilli and rework them with natural, raw ingredients, brimming with life as well as flavour.

The staff are lovely, the vibe is admirable, the owner is passionate and, although it feels like the other side of the world from where I live, it is definitely worth the journey. No noisy coffee machines, no loud chart shows, just calming interiors, chilled music and a lovely energy. Sit and enjoy their salads or order from their breakfast menu, or if you're in a rush, empty their fridges and fill your bags. 


W H A T   T O   G E T

Sea Kelp Pad Thai
Taco Bowl
Caramel Slice
Raw Brownie with Cacao Frosting
Chia Seed Pudding

3 9 8   K I N G S   R O A D ,   L O N D O N ,   S W 1 0  0 L J 

THE DETOX KITCHEN

Travel, Wellbeing, Review, Lunch, Lifestyle, Brunch, Breakfastdanielle coppermanComment

It didn’t take me long to decide how I felt about The Detox Kitchen – the newest addition to london’s community of healthy eateries. To see a large bowl of fresh guacamole on the counter as I walked in was enough to get me interested. A menu the size of an entire wall boasting revitalising juices as well as a huge variety of food had me quite literally transfixed. And noticing anthropologie paraphernalia in every corner - as if at home in my own kitchen - made me want to sit down and never leave. Which was lucky, as it’s obvious upon entry that grab-and-go is hardly their ethos. With a sense of calmness and a chilled atmosphere (just what I like), natural light coming in through a huge window overlooking the cobbles of kingly street and amazing service, it couldn’t be more inviting.
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I arrived at The Detox Kitchen late on their second day of business. Only one lonely bowl of salad remained and the fridge was looking smugly empty. I took this as a good sign and quickly grabbed a pot of Quinoa with Cashew Pesto before anyone else did. I also bought some mind-blowing Wild Garlic and Spinach soup to take home with me. As a quinoa addict this is a strong statement but the quinoa pot was one of the best quinoa combinations I had ever tried. The flavours were amazing and the ingredients were ‘so fresh and so clean’ – in the words of Outcast. My only regret was not having arrived earlier, as I spent most of my time gazing at the menu and thinking about their egg rolls. Luckily for me there remained some baked goods on the counter so I tucked in to a Banana Muffin, which of course was delicious and light, and left me feeling clean – not a effect many muffins can have on people.

I love anywhere with salads on display because you know what you’re getting and your decisions are visually educated. The prices here too are very affordable, unlike many specialist health joints that the general public view as only places the rich and famous visit. You can take away handpicked salad boxes for lunch, choose from a selection of small pots or trail-mixes to take on-the-go with you if you are time-poor, busy or travelling a lot, or stock up on healthy staples to take home, like their large pots of soup or bags of cereal. And if you have more time, sit inside and watch the world go by over a fresh pot of tea and a wholesome plate of food. The drinks menu is also phenomenal with a large selection of smoothies and juices. On my second visit I had a Lemon & Ginger tea, and half expecting a soggy Twining’s tea bag I was excited to see vibrant, brightly coloured ginger slices and the juiciest chunks of fresh lemon floating atop my hot water. This attention to detail was enough to confirm that anything you find at The Detox Kitchen will be as fresh, pure and wholesome as it possible can be.

The Detox Kitchen is definitely one of my favourite new eateries in London and I can’t wait to go back for a proper wholesome lunch. I love their philosophy and what they stand for, I love the location and the interior of the eatery, the people are incredibly friendly and the food is spot on. The menu features pretty much all of my favourite meals and snacks, meaning I can finally eat out and not have to redesign the entire menu or mix and match a selection of sides in order to have something half healthy. They have mastered the balance between eating healthily and still being able to enjoy your food. There are no skimpy salads and nothing is disallowed - just lovingly made food created by people passionate about real, nourishing, feel-good ingredients. The salads are interestingly dressed vegetable dishes - as opposed to bland, wilting salad leaves commonly associated with ‘healthy eating’ - and the brownies by the till – which I hear they are already gaining a reputation for – are a sure sign that The Detox Kitchen lifestyle is not a boring, monotonous, tasteless one. Founder, Lily Simpson points out “Healthy food can be brilliantly tasty. It can fill you up, and yes, you can have pudding”. That pretty much sums it up.

Visit their website for information on the delivery side of the business. They offer fresh food plans delivered to your door whilst you sleep, so all you have to do to keep healthy and feel great is plate up. You can choose from a selection of packages all of which consist of fresh, wholesome ingredients developed by their team of nutritionists and top chefs. Expect to start your day with a vibrant shot of wheatgrass or a greens juice, enjoy a wholesome protein or vegetarian evening meal and allow yourself a satisfying, guilt-free dessert.

A SHED YOU WILL WANT TO LIVE IN

Travel, Review, Lifestyle, Dinnerdanielle coppermanComment

Tucked away on a roadside in Nottinghill is not much more than, well, a shed. What caught my eye was the beautiful, cosy garden patio covered in fairy lights and foliage in front of the building. It looked like a tiny house in Italy until i took a closer look and realised there was a menu on the wall, and a damn good one at that.

This was a one off in terms of how our usual dinner plans go. We had never heard of The Shed, we hadn’t been recommended to go there and we hadn’t read any reviews about it. So it was a pleasant surprise, once we’d finished a good 8 sharing plates of mind blowing food, to find gushing reviews of it online when we got home. A very happy coincidence, and perhaps the most successful impulsive dinner choice I’ve ever made.

Inside, the atmosphere was intimate and cosy, and as it was a Saturday, it was humming with hungry locals. They all obviously knew what to expect because there was a sense of excitement among the place. We, on the other hand, had to be talked through the procedure and then wait patiently, half expecting to be disappointed.

The menu is divided into Mouthfuls, Slow cooking and Fast cooking. Each heading is quite self explanatory, but this was a new breakdown of food for us, so it took us a while to order. They recommend that you share each plate, which is small, or order more than one per person if your companion is not a sharer. We ordered 6 to begin with, between two of us, and got stuck in to each dish as and when they arrived, tasting each unique, flavoursome dish and salivating over them together. Each dish was different which kept our tastebuds amused and satisfied, but also seemed to send them into overdrive, as we ended up ordering two additional plates. We couldn’t stop.

The dishes were controversial combinations of amazing ingredients, including chorizo puree on giant asparagus, and cured pollock with lemon mayonnaise and marigold. The fantastic menu changes daily and is made up of Sussex produce sourced from the owners’ youngest brother (whose roots are firmly planted in Nutbourne, as a farmer) and other local suppliers. “Growing, foraging, great cooking and great company have always been the order of the day, and this ethos has been brought to life at The Shed”; by three extremely talented brothers.

"RESERVATIONS AND WALK-INS ARE WELCOME AT THE SHED, SO LONG AS YOU’RE READY TO ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVES, JUMP ON THE COMBINE HARVESTER AND GET STUCK INTO SOME HARDY EATING, DRINKING AND MEMORY MAKING".

Well, that just about sums it up.

DISHOOM | THE DISHIEST PLACE IN LONDON

Travel, Review, Lifestyle, Dinner, Brunch, Breakfastdanielle coppermanComment

Let me introduce to you a brand new brunch; the kind where a white dusty bloomer is replaced by warm, crispy naan and any sight of a builders tea is enriched with a hundred spices you can’t pronounce the name of. Upon entering Dishoom – a sixties style Bombay diner off a little Shoreditch (or soho) side street - a multitude of aromas swarm towards you, possessing you so much that you momentarily forget how to say ‘table for two please’. Dizzied by the spiced air and in awe at the effortless, inimitable interiors, my good friend Charlotte and I followed our waitress to a comfy cushioned booth glowing in the morning sun. The waiters are incredibly relaxed (so we got on very well here, bleary eyed on a Sunday) and imply the most popular dishes, without imposing on your decisions. My word of advice is to trust them; you will thank them later.

We go instantly weak at the knees at their description of the chai latte and take them up on the offer whilst we scan the menu in confusion. Naan bread at 10am in the morning? Spiced tomato relish at 10am in the morning? Green chilli omelette? At 10am in the morning? We thought we’d got it so wrong, having more or less professed in the art of hunting down london’s top brunch spots until now. However, we stuck it out - gave it a chance - mainly because we trusted the décor, the chic gold lamp that sat between us, and the look on fellow customers’ faces as they saw their Bun Maska swerving through the restaurant towards them, eyes gleaming as they envisaged it bathing in their perfectly cooled chai, just moments away from being drowned in warm, chocolately spices. 
Our chai arrived and we both closed our eyes in slow motion as we took a sip, reopening them with a synchronised ‘hmmm’, before ordering a bowl of nutty house granola and a baked egg naan roll. We weren’t sure what to expect but as soon as the granola came we knew the egg naan would not disappoint. It was hands down the best granola I’ve ever eaten; perfectly roasted, perfectly sweetened and spiced to, well, perfection. The buttery crunchiness went hand in hand with the creamy chai, and the table was emptied before the egg naan arrived. We were half expecting some kind of multicultural Indian French toast but were pleasantly surprised after our sweet starter to receive a savoury serving of eggs, tomato and fresh coriander wrapped in thin, baked naan bread. The ingredients were so fresh and the naan was so light and crispy and evident in every mouthful it had been cooked just seconds before delivery. Never before have i tried a naan bread so thin yet so chewy and somehow able to melt in your mouth.

not our brunch but the sort of thing you can expect to walk past as your enter the restaurant in the AM.

I soon returned to Dishoom for dinner having eyed the menu and noticed pretty much all of my favourite foods, as well as a signature house dahl which needed to be done. There is always a queue and due to inevitable popularity you cant book on weekends. However, with a serious selection of cocktails and small plates, no one could feel too put out waiting at the atmospheric bar, in a huddle of excited customers in happy-weekend-mode. I had a chilli, rose and pomegranate martini which sounds ominous but really Hit. The. Spot. The dinner itself is definitely worth the wait if only for the green coriander chutney which I always have to order thirds of. A sweet tangy companion for the gigantic masala prawns and dry chargrilled chicken tikka, and a perfect dip for a fish cluster or okra fries. The abundance of flavours and spices are strong and mind-blowing at the same time, it’s almost impossible for your taste buds to keep up, and ordering small plates to share you get the bonus of dipping and mixing one juicy dish with another. The dinner was much healthier than the breakfast, with plenty of protein dishes, a few vegetarian options and sides of curried greens. Just go easy on the rice, you order several plates to share and I would honestly say you don’t really need it. If anything, get the garlic naan, which is thin, light and seemingly easy on the metabolism, and perfect for mopping. 
I will warn that you get so caught up in a frenzy of making your way around each dish and experimenting with mixing and making all sorts of different, flavoursome combinations that you kind of forget you’re eating and that your body has a limit. Every time i have eaten here for dinner i have sat back with a sigh having tried almost everything with everything, twice, and then realised that my stomach isn’t so impressed with my behaviour. Everything is so new and all the flavours are so different that it is almost like a game rather than a mealtime. The portions are really valuable sizes and with lots of protein you get full quickly. Thankfully they only have two ‘sauce’ curries on the menu whilst everything else is chargrilled and dry so nothing if too rich or creamy (apart from the dahl) to leave you feeling sluggish at all. What you feel is satisfaction, if also a little over-indulgence. 
To finish, cinnamon ice cream is recommended or coconut sorbet on a stick, if your mouth is too on fire for a hot chai. Alternatively, a Lassi is a fitting choice, and ultimately sooths the mouth, which would otherwise be buzzing all night long.

Shoreditch is my favourite of the two, more spacious and atmospheric than the Soho restaurant, and has a bigger bar area for your weekend wait. 7 Boundary, London, E2 7JE.

CARAVAN CAN

Travel, Review, Lifestyle, Brunch, Breakfastdanielle coppermanComment

After experiencing a fry up like no other at Saxon and Parole in New York I found it hard to accept the unpromising likelihood of me finding anywhere with as good a game in London. In a back issue of Stylist months beforehand some of England’s best-kept Brunch secrets were exposed in a short column on unique eateries around the country. And being the dedicated food lover that I am, I had wisely thought to put the page aside for a rainy day. I have since been working my way through it, one Sunday at a time.

This particular Sunday it was my flatmate Charlotte who suggested we turn off Guy’s Big Bite and get off the sofa to spend our Sunday eating good food rather than watching unhealthy American’s knee deep in saucy ribs. As an enthusiastic coffee-lover, Caravan caught her attention immediately, boasting its own roastery and a very seductive coffee menu.

“We roast batches of beans daily on our Probat roasters using beans sourced from around the world. When we find a coffee that we love, we take the time to develop the roast profile to bring out the best flavour characteristics.”

She needed it in her life, and as it turned out, so did I; I just hadn’t known it then. Fresh out of bed and still in our oversized ‘cosy clothes’ we hopped on the 73 and went straight to the newest Caravan in Kings Cross. Thankfully all other customers were on our wavelength and the place was a slow-moving, sleepy slumber of people in ‘Cot-Bots’; the perfect atmosphere for a long, lazy lunch.

The building is huge and very industrial looking with pipes visible on the ceiling and long wooden tables that look like they came from a private school dining hall. As you queue (unfortunately it is practically compulsory) you line up past countertops covered in cakes, looking into the busy, bustling kitchen where bacon is seared like there’s no tomorrow.

We soon slipped onto the end of a busy table and after speculating over their ‘Salt Beef Bubble’ speciality, decided against it, ordering instead from their impressive ‘Sides’ section. This consists of just about any typical fry-up constituent you can imagine, including avocado with lemon and chili flakes and chorizo or wild boar sausages. It was the right decision. We ended up with clattering side plates falling off our corner of the table as we tucked in to huge juicy mushrooms, herby scrambled eggs, avocado and streaky bacon. Charlotte soon forgot about how good her latte was when this turned up. The eggs were full of flavour - which I never really expect from eggs - and the mushrooms were out of this world – unusually plump and soaked in organic butter.

Usually when I go out for brunch I tend to go for sweet pastries, pancakes or granola but with mountains of poached eggs and garlicky sausages whizzing past me on every waiters arm I couldn’t waste the opportunity. It was by far the most enjoyable breakfast I’ve located in London so far, even better, I thought, than the city’s famous Breakfast Club’s. There was nothing ‘greasy-spoon-y’ about it and the atmosphere was amazing; like a family-filled kitchen on Christmas morning, but on a slightly larger scale. The mushrooms stole the show this time, but didn’t quite suffice for the Creamed Spinach that I’d reluctantly had to leave behind at Saxon and Parole. Bloody good effort though, Caravan.

I have since been back a couple of times and have opted for starter style ‘sweets’ as well as the standard over-ordering of sides, simply because they sounded too good to miss. With my current obsession with coconut intact I tried their ‘Coconut Rice Pudding with Baked Banana’, which was even better than it sounds. The bowl was filled with thick coconut milk flavoured with spices and a sweet smokiness from the banana. Weeks later I returned with my most loyal lunch-loving companions to try ‘Coconut Bread with Lemon Curd Crème and Berries’. Yes, yes and a third time yes. So early on a Sunday it was easy to confuse the experience with still being in bed dreaming it. But I wasn’t. It happened. And it was… Well, you just need to try it for yourself.

It is important to visit with someone who is as enthusiastic about food as yourself, because the starving anticipation and the noises and commentary that follow a mouthful of each dish are definitely part of the experience. If you can’t be bothered with a tired attempt at a home made fry-up, Caravan can.

Granary Building, Granary Square, London N1C 4AA.

WELCOME TO THE GOOD LIFE

Travel, Wellbeing, Review, Lifestyledanielle coppermanComment

You leave this place thinking exactly that; life. is. good. Because there is finally somewhere in london to buy fresh cold pressed juices? Because everything you’ve just consumed has provided you with essential vitamins and nutrients and revitalised your entire body? Because you have just tried the greatest chia seed pudding you ever have and ever will? Likely all of the above will contribute to your improved mood on exiting this chilled little gem, just off Sloane Avenue.

Somehow, despite a surge of interest and research in nutrition and fitness in the last year or so, London has little to show for it. “Healthies” may be the new “Selfies” and gyms may have developed into exclusive, members-only clubs but there is still so much confusion over eating the right thing in order to obtain optimum health and weight maintenance. People may be going to the gym but they’ll still follow some kind of unrealistic fad diet, or opt for the newest low-fat breakfast bar laden with empty promises of help. Wholefoods, Planet Organic and Cruush are all London has to offer and are our best attempts at ‘real food’. They may boast a range of superfoods and fresh fruit and vegetable juices, but trust me; they’re no Juice Press. We just haven’t quite got it yet.

Unlike New York, LA and Australia, London has been slow on the uptake of valuable information and education regarding real foods in the catering world. Things like why cold-pressed is better than centrifugal juicing or why Maca and Baobab provide more vitamin C than an orange are yet to make the headlines as celebrity diets are strutting around stealing the show. The dieting industry makes billions of pounds every year by victimising poorly educated and vulnerable people into falling for their moneymaking fads. But thankfully The Good Life Eatery has arrived bringing with it real knowledge, real food and real skill which until now only existed in places like The Juice Press, NY and Pressed Juicery, LA. Thank you Shirin. Thank you Yasmine.

The Good Life Eatery is what London has been lacking. Until now we’ve had to settle for murky, discoloured juices from Wholefoods knowing full well what we are missing across the globe. Along with the freshest of cold-pressed juices The Good Life also offers a sensational range of smoothies and snacks as well as an exceptional brunch and lunch menu. The menu isn’t vast but personally this makes decision making a lot easier, and each dish is full to the brim with ingredients so you practically get a few meals in one. The juices come in inspiring combinations and even a shot from the taster selection got me worked up, feeling great and excited for more. Made with a Hydraulic Juicer they ensure that all vital nutrients and enzymes are not lost during the process, making you feel better than ever and nothing like how you would after shop bought, sugar laden fruit juices.

The window is filled with gluten free, wholesome cakes and treats again with impressive concoctions like green tea cupcakes. The selection is varied with loaves, protein nibbles and biscuits, large slices and muffins, all of which are free from refined sugar and gluten, adding to the feel-good vibe. The lunch was amazing, consisting of ingredients that so many restaurants in London haven’t even heard of. I had a Kale salad with sweet potato topped with nuts and nutritional yeast. The menu board screams brilliance so much that you are dubious that what you order will actually be as good as it sounds. But it is. Pure satisfaction is what you will experience. Maybe it’s the way the kale was ‘massaged’ that made it taste so good. The attention to detail is evident in every mouthful, almost as evident as the abundance of nutrients. They use only the most wholesome, nutrient-rich, locally sourced produce keeping it ethical and really good quality as well as incredibly delicious - trust me, you can taste the difference. This is the first cafe i’ve been to in London which has a gluten free or spelt bread sandwich option, and you hardly notice the bread at all because its so packed with ingredients you can barely take a bite. Not a bite size socially acceptable anyway.

It’s not just the food and energising drinks that instantly improve your life, mood and body composition, even when you didn’t know they needed improving, but also the entire vibe and energy of the place. A sense of pure health and a slow, stress-free lifestyle is potent as soon as you walk in off the street. It’s not huge inside so the place is a small babble of chilled, interested and excited new comers. The atmosphere is low key and intimate and the perfect place for food lovers and health freaks to spend time. I love the decor, featuring huge jars filled with super foods and large blackboards which compliment the rustic exposed brickwork. It possesses both a convenient fast-food approach as well as a slow, welcoming, easy-like-sunday-morning kind of vibe. Grab a juice from the fully stocked fridge quicker than you can say KFC for an instant, on-the-go pick me up, or sit down for lunch and you wont be rushed away even if you’re making your way through your second gluten free club, waiting for a smoothie and intending to finish it all off with an Organic Nude Espresso (which - i might add - is like no other).

THESBCOLLECTIVE, UK

Travel, Review, Lifestyledanielle coppermanComment

I was introduced to Russell Bateman, founder of the SBC, just after a Christmas full of roast dinner, leftover roast dinner, puddings, leftover puddings and chocolate, in a desperate quest to lose 5 pounds before fashion week. I was told he was the best in the industry, with a diverse client base of actresses, pro fighters, mothers and models. Having been somewhat inactive since skiving PE at school, I thought it was about time to see what I could do, and was convinced that with a clientele like his, it would be worth it. What I wasn’t so convinced about was that I would see results after just 2 sessions; how wrong I was.

Russell has been training men and women for over ten years and The SBC was the result of him spontaneously Instgramming one of his beautiful clients working out. How he got her to agree to that I wasn’t so sure, until I attended one of his workshops. This 50 minute session was a family-like community of girls working out - slim, but not at all bitchy despite the name- and wanting the world to see what they were capable of. Photographs of girls on all fours, sweating over kettle bells, pressing weights in high heels; girls training like girls have never trained before. That certainly got people interested, and The Skinny Bitch Collective was born. Russell developed a unique approach to helping women achieve the body they’ve always wanted, lifting heavier weights than your boyfriend could.

NUTRITION
Training with the SBC isn’t just about working out, but your nutrition and lifestyle too. After reviewing my main goals we discussed my sleep patterns, my stress levels and my diet. Before our first meeting I provided him with a two-week food diary, which consisted primarily of fruit, muesli, salad and lots of snacking. The feedback I got was a little surprising, apparently a common outcome among most of his female clients. I’d thought, like so many other women, that my breakfast (if I didn’t skip it) of muesli and fruit was as healthy as it could get. However, after branding me the ‘fruit queen’ Russ explained that fruit was high in fructose sugar, and although a natural sugar, it is sugar all the same; and sugar was to be treated as an encouraging ally to body fat.

He sent me SBC Nutritional Guidelines and explained to me what my diet would be from now on. He lost me at “Chicken for breakfast” but re-discovered me at “Sweet potato and Quinoa”. The SBC daily guidelines consist of an entirely organic diet, high in protein, high in good fats and low in sugar with no refined carbs. One of the first things Russ will warn you of are the misconceptions of a low-fat diet which is one of the most negative weight loss strategies, fooling the majority of women – and men - into buying overpriced, pseudo products which will only do the opposite of what they promise to. He points out that “the less fat in the food, the less fat you lose” because any fat taken out must be replaced with something else; most commonly sugary carbohydrates. So a low fat diet ultimately means one high in sugar, and sugar is the enemy. Don’t believe the hype.

A standard breakfast “SBC style” is high in protein and preferably consists of a fillet of salmon or a chicken breast with almonds or macadamia nuts. This shocks every one of Russell’s clients. It may at first seem an unbelievable alternative to your yogurt and fruit, but once you’ve tried it, you’ll never go back. “Breakfast is integral to metabolic potential throughout the day, increasing neural drive and focus”. Knowing that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, I instantly wanted to make it the most nutritious and beneficial, too. As weird as it may seem to cook a lunch-like meal at 7am, you’re body will thank you, and you will get so much more out of your day.

Alongside working out - especially as intensively as his clients do - protein is essential, for energy as well as muscle repair, and contributes toward a leaner body. Meat is to be organically sourced and Quinoa (an SBC staple) is key for high protein levels and nutrient content. He recommends grass fed beef consumed with macadamia nuts, which are full of healthy fats. On top of protein, he emphasises the importance of fibrous green vegetables in your diet, and as he clearly knows women so well, he has even included a snack section, recommending green tea (to assist digestion) and berries or nuts for a midday lift.

Included in the food plan, Russell explains the importance of supplements in helping to lose bodyfat, aid digestion and general health. Check out his recent interview on Get The Gloss to find out his favourites. http://www.getthegloss.com/article/body-centric-supplements

FIRST SESSION:
My first session with Russ should probably have been a bigger deal for me than it was, because I had no idea how different he was from other trainers or how hard he was going to work me. I had no idea how lucky I was to be training one on one with such an in demand trainer. I had no idea how influential he was on the fitness scene, I wasn’t on twitter and all I knew was that he trained a few other models from my agency. I had zero knowledge and to be honest zero interest in fitness and I portrayed this in our first session through my attire alone. It was clear I hadn’t seen his Instagram because if I had I would have gone to a lot more effort than turning up in some awful black-soled trainers I’d borrowed from my sister. That alone reflected how fitness-backward I was.

Thankfully, we avoided running in them too much, and focussed on things I’d never heard of before. Spider crawls, disco lunges and mountain climbers came to the fore of the session and I knew straight away that, however out of the loop I may have been, this wasn’t any old standard way of training. He had me lifting weights I didn’t know I could lift, dragging bags down the corridor heavier than myself and then squatting whilst my legs trembled in shock beneath me. I had never seen anyone train like this. He explained why his unique and unconventional primal moves could work so well, compared to a long distance run or a cross trainer stint. Russ believes long haul cardio can negate your shape and have a negative impact on your composition. Research suggests long workouts can increase your stress hormone, Cortisol, and that some people can’t lose weight because of it. The right balance of exercise, sleep and nutrition is key, as they can all affect its increase and decrease.

During the session I thought, on several occasions, that I wasn’t going to make it to see my family again, let alone see the last set of burpees through to the end. However, as soon as we finished, I wanted to do it all again straight away. I felt amazing, even more energised than before we’d started, and aching with a pain similar to when you burn your tongue on your favourite meal but It’s so worth it that you just keep going. So, despite the hard work, shocking amounts of sweat and being very close to tears, when he invited me to one of his workshops the following Saturday, I couldn’t think of anywhere I’d rather be. Admittedly, I did consider truanting at the thought of a room full of SBC experienced “bitches”, cringing at my trainers, watching me drop my weights and wining after press up number 1, but again, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Yes, they were lean and experienced, but in an inspiring way rather than humiliating, and they were further from being bitches than your own Dad.

WORKSHOPS:
An SBC workshop includes a group of enthusiastic girls, an epic playlist, a harsh yet humorous trainer working you to your upmost potential and, of course, some pain. Before we began, each girl consumed an exclusive shot of SBC’s Pre-workout Potion. This contained a combination of fresh coconut water and an amino acid which helps to turn fat into energy. This set us up to really get the most out of our workout, aiding fat loss and hydration, and was further proof that SBC’s style of training was unique. You wouldn’t get that from a conventional gym class or from working out alone.

We started the hour in the same way as our one-to-one session with a mix of dynamic warm up movements. The music got louder and before I knew it I was clapping like a deranged sea lion behind my legs and working my abs harder than ever. There was considerably less resting than in our first session, with constant and dramatic changes in movements like overhead squats followed by press-ups and then some quick weight lifts before lunging down the corridor. The benefit of a group class meant that you simply couldn’t be the girl lying on her face whilst the others persevered and proved that it could be done. There was no time to think about how sick you felt or how difficult such normally effortless movements like getting up off the floor had become.

The entire workshop is high intensity and tackles every part of your body, even when it thinks it can’t work any harder. By working your whole body in the SBC class you are developing your structural balance and strength as well as losing body fat and getting leaner. With encouraging profanity from Russ to spur you on in order not to fail, you end up pushing yourself way beyond your limit without even noticing it go by. The class left me feeling even more inspired than our first session. Seeing so many girls training and eating in such a refreshing way made me want to run (or hobble) home and fill the cupboard with organic essentials that were going to change my life, alongside the training.

SBC has been unstoppable since the day it began. It is going big places and I am honoured to be working alongside Russell as he continues to change the way women all over the world train, eat and live.

We recently met up in New York, where Russ was visiting agencies and gyms to discuss SBC’s potential in the US. In between appointments and castings we discovered several incredible health food joints and amazing restaurants. The Wholefood’s alone were overwhelming, and, with 24hour opening times, provided hours of fun. We discovered several mind blowing Juicery’s, a gourmet coffee shop, (M&M World) and the best pre-workout breakfast I think either of us had ever had. All this and we even managed to fit in a bespoke training session in Central Park. (NY post coming soon).

Since then, I have also accompanied Russ to Aynhoe Park in the Cotswolds, for a private weekend workshop with the owners of the house, with the incentive of setting up SBC retreats there in the future. I also joined him for an SBC retreat-style weekend in Ibiza, where he spends every summer training overseas clients and doing workshops in breathtakingly serene locations with beautiful backdrops. We relaxed in the sun, swam in the sea, ate amazing SBC food and worked out everyday on a cliff overlooking the ocean. (More on these trips to follow).

As for the future, exciting plans include LA workshops, taking SBC to Tokyo and innovative collaborations with top health food companies and detox delivery services. There have even been requests for a private SBC Supper Club. This is next level training and nutrition – don’t miss out.