As part of writing a lifestyle blog, I’m sometimes asked where I choose to purchase my activewear looks and/or accessories. Up to this point, it’s usually from occasional department store visits. However, things are changing, and today I’m happy to share a little treasure chest of lifestyle finds – Bicester Village. Traditionally thought of as a pure ‘designer outlet’, the shape of their offering is changing, to reflect the different ways that you and I express our shopping impulses! Sportswear has long since joined the ranks of the luxury maisons and to mark the landmark opening of the Lucas Hugh boutique (I’m pictured with founder, Anjhe Mules who I interviewed HERE), I hopped up to Bicester on the direct train from Marylebone, and discovered a wealth of healthy lifestyle shops with proper discounts! This post documents my experience so that you can see if it might be for you too! (more…)
Winter has well-and-truly hit in London – brrrr! – and now that Halloween is out of the way, the long run into Christmas is underway! I’m going to be posting plenty of ideas to help you stay on the seasonal ‘straight-and-narrow’, but in the meantime, it’s just about cold enough to get me thinking back to the summer.
In these pictures, I’m wearing another great tennis affair from my friends at Monreal London; I love the simplicity of the block white dress with the subtle blue detailing, and the elasticated rouching at the waist – comfortable, flexible and great for tennis. They were shot on the beach at Pamplonne, and Club 55 St. Tropez; to get there I stepped aboard a gorgeous specimen of a Riva ‘Super Aquarama’, and was motoring towards the restaurant at 55 knots! Once there, fresh grilled sea-bass and some fresh greens.
On this chilly London day, I REALLY miss the toasty sun of holiday, but luckily it’s only c.250 sleeps until the next dose of summer comes along 🙂
See MORE PICTURES from the day here. Faya x
This post focuses on tips & tricks for correct running technique. A couple of weeks ago, on a blog trip (a.k.a ‘excuse for a mini-holiday’) to the perma-sunny Quinta Do Lago, in Portugal’s Algarve, I indulged in some long, peaceful runs along the gorgeous sweeping beaches. I’ve always loved long distance running, and without sounding like a total hippie… (more…)
This post is about an alternative, healthy ‘burger’ recipe which takes inspiration from a recent blog trip to New York. ‘When in Rome’ do as the New Yorkers… with that in mind it seemed right that on my monumental ‘cheat day’ I should go overboard and indulge in a proper American burger, milkshake & fries! If you read this blog regularly, you’ll know this is a VERY rare occasion indeed! I headed to the grand opening of Shake Shack in Grand Central Station, which I’d heard so much about (great PR!). To celebrate it I wore my favourite gold burger ring by GoldieRox – gorgeous jewellery celebrating junk food, best of all with 0 calories!!! (On that matter, in America most menus now include ‘calories’ which is really helpful!)
I was fully aware that this meal would rack up some seriously naughty numbers but I was blown away; I consumed 1870 calories in just one meal, which is pretty much what I would typically eat in a day!!! Going to Shake Shack was certainly a bit of a fun outing, and I believe you do have to enjoy and live life a little now and then, but this serves as a reminder of just how easily you could be consuming a VAST amount of the wrong kind of calories without even realising it. In the event, I could only manage a half of my portion (still 935 calories), and since my body isn’t used to it, I struggled for the rest of the day. I’m much more at home with a healthy alternative; my previous healthy burger recipe included a tuna steak; this alternative is my nutritious, low-fat, low-sugar and lower-calorie ‘Skirt Steak Wrap’ (pictured below), which weighs in at a nutritious 485 calories, bursting with vitamins minerals and quality protein. See MORE pictures, ingredients and ‘how to make it’ below…
It’s October in New York and this day was a scorcher – 27 degrees! Since there are a few fantastic jogging routes around the gorgeous Central Park, I thought I’d go for a little explore; my ‘fitness curiosity’ got the better of me, and that turned into a 40 minute jog, after which I decided I wanted to finish off with some legs!! This post documents that leg routine, and be warned, it’s pretty gruelling, targeting all major muscles – hamstrings, quads and glutes – to tone, firm and strengthen thighs and bum! Unlike some of my previous leg posts, having just been jogging for the last 40 minutes this workout included no weights, just a park bench and some steps! That extra bit of added cardio should get you sweating and avoid shivering in the chilly ‘autumn’ weather! Really challenge yourself by keeping the rest period to a minimum – Weights not required, the combination of leg exercises is utterly exhausting!
Whilst we’re on the topic, if you’re thinking about taking up running I think it’s worth keeping a log book. By recording your performance you will be able to see how you’re improving and to potentially help avoid injuries, typically sustained when you try to go all-out for no reason. Analysing patterns can help you learn how your body responds to different intensities. Are you pushing your body too hard too soon, or may the opposite be the case? Are you letting your body recover properly? There are lots of apps to help you with logging your runs – so many that I plan to write a post about them! If you’re thinking you don’t take your running that seriously – try to at least record the distance, time and pace. Getting into the habit might just inspire and motivate you to run that extra mile, when the incremental exertion is the greatest 🙂 My favourite thing about it? You get to set yourself / your friends challenges and to enjoy the fresh air whilst getting to know the city & countryside – sounds perfect! 🙂
Click below to see the full routine, shot in Central Park, New York.
I am a little bit too excited about my custom-designed trainers that have just arrived from Nike ! I love trainers, so to be able to nuance my very own pair is a bit of a treat 🙂 I went for patriotic Swedish blue and neon ‘Volt’ yellow, and on the tongues it has the F.O.T. (Fitness On Toast) abbreviation and my name monogrammed on. It’s a bit of fun, and a nice way to put some personality on your shoe for a pretty small premium!
The technical name of this pair is ‘Nike Free 5.0 iD Women’s Running Shoe‘. I’ve owned a few pairs of the previous versions, and I find the shoe ideally comfy – it has a similar feel to barefoot running, but with some subtle cushioning, and it’s practically weightless – a very ‘free’ experience for my feet, which matters because I’m in them all day. The sole has deep cuts along the length and width of it which ‘enhances the natural range of motion, encouraging a smooth, efficient stride whilst helping maintain stability’.
If, like me you wear trainers alot it’s worth having a few pairs to swap between (depending on your sport of choice), as well as considering that a shoe’s useful life is only c. 6months before it’s time to pick up a new pair. I’ve teamed my shoes with a pair of dual layer socks, to maximise that ‘new shoe’ comfy feel 🙂
Click MORE below to see extra pictures. Faya x
Another gorgeous fitness outfit crafted by the talented Caroline Greenslade, founder of British activewear brand Vevie, who I mentioned in my previous post, ‘Vevie La Revolution’. The outfit I’m wearing here, with it’s cute pink polka dots and fitted form, evokes a touch of ‘old world’ glamour. It’s very feminine and fun to wear, even for a bit of a ‘tom boy’ like me 🙂 I couldn’t imagine a more fitting place to go for a morning jog sporting this ‘retro-chic’ look than along the famous Cannes beachfront of La Croisette, where all sorts of timeless & classic ‘movie premiere’ glamour has unfolded at the Film Festival!
After my morning jog, I’d earned a well deserved breakfast at the Carlton Cannes. Breakfast is literally a time to ‘break the fast’ after a long nights sleep, so I always aim for a substantial meal to start the day right! On this occasion? Scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, mushrooms and skinny latte. And to top it off a delicious fruit salad. Bon ap! 🙂 Faya.
Wearing: Vevie’s Hertford Dotty Polka Flash Jacket, the Hertford Dotty Polka Racer top and the Hertford Dotty Polka Flash leggings. I particularly like the functional details of this jacket – the two front zipped pockets, the polka dot thumb loops and the inner dotted collar for a fabric contrast. The fitted leggings have a comfortable waist and two waistband pockets to store keys/phone/snack! All garments are UV protected – 50+ and are made from a breathable, technical fabric. Plus they’re cute 🙂
Click MORE to see all the pictures from the shoot, then maybe go for a run too?!
Just a quick fitness fashion post; you might remember that I promised in my earlier post Unreal Monreal to showcase some more of Monreal London‘s fabulous tennis-wear… Voila! Here are some pictures from a shoot at the Byblos Hotel in St. Tropez wearing their signature short tennis dress (which, according to WWD magazine, Victoria Beckham was the first to pick up!). This is my favourite dress of their collection! It’s all part of the continuing revolution which I think ends with sport and high fashion crossing over & it’s all for the better when it comes to our workouts!
Click MORE below to see the rest of the photos. Faya x
It’s almost 35 degrees out – uncomfortable & sweaty, but I’m not complaining; it serves as a great reminder of just how important it is to stay hydrated especially in heat like this. I normally drink about 2 litres of water a day (we lose 2.5 litres during the average day, regain 1 litre through food, and the remaining 1.5 litres is supposed to be your drinking water… but I like to build in some extra!). In these pictures shot in Saint Tropez, en-route to Pamplonne, it’s more like 3-4 litres a day – I literally got through 8 of these 50cl bottles in the 24 hours. Water must be the most important ingredient we can give our bodies, which are 60% water anyway – it’s critically involved in pretty much every bodily function we humans are capable of. It improves overall well-being and quality of life in so many ways and will certainly improve your ability to achieve your training goals.
Click MORE below to read my 8 reasons for staying optimally hydrated, and a couple of tips to spice up the bland taste 🙂
Time for some Fitness On Toast ‘ethos’ 🙂 … I’ve always believed that there should be very little difference in how men and women train themselves. Women, like most men, hope to achieve the same aesthetic end-point; a lean physique (drop body fat percentage and in so doing, ‘tone’/sculpt the musculature), as well as wanting to build strength, endurance, flexibility etc.
Why is it then, that so often I see women performing simpler, less effective (and perhaps less ‘intimidating’) exercises than men in the gym? Take the deadlift – a phenomenal compound exercise, yet 80%+ of the time men dominate the freeweight area with not a single woman in sight! Women should squat, dead lift, bench press, sweat and work hard! Go heavy and work to the maximum – THAT gets results much faster, which is of course the key reason we seek progress at the gym in the first place – to see results, and preferably quicker!
The popular misconception that ‘wafer-skinny’ is the ultimate reward for sacrificing hours on end at the gym, is misguided and unhealthy. That’s just so ’80s. These days ‘strong is the new sexy’; people want to FEEL strong and BE healthy, not just LOOK thin at the cost of feeling malnourished. That’s not to say we should all end up looking like Muscle Mary’s either, by the way, but it is far tougher for women to gain physical mass than for men.
Muscles constantly burn fat, which combined with a healthy diet, can help to yield the ‘lean’ look. However, female bodies have a different hormonal set-up. Men naturally have higher testosterone levels (a ‘muscle-building’ growth & repair hormone) and because women have significantly less of this, it’s harder for us to gain muscle mass. Those few women you may see in the gym who look huge have most likely worked incredibly long & hard for that look! So stop worrying about ‘bulking up’. You just wont wake up one morning and split your blouse sleeves because you lifted heavy weights the night before!
There are certain muscle groups (& therefore certain exercises) that women should probably de-emphasise, relative to men. The Trapezius (neck & surround) muscle is a good example – something most women don’t care to develop. Likewise, few mademoiselles want comically-pronounced quadriceps – but what woman doesn’t want a perky, round firm ass – which by the way, is the gift you get from almighty squats and thunderous dead lifts! Or toned arms and defined shoulders? So start benching, or keep lifting heavier – I don’t want to come across all feminist, but ‘Go take over the weights area, Bitches !!!‘
(click MORE below to see all the photos from my workout at the very well equipped gym in the Hotel Byblos, Saint Tropez).