THE BLONDE ETHOS

N+TC WEEK: YOGA AT THE ORBIT

FitnessNatalie GoodchildComment
NIke Training Club Week London Yoga The Orbit Natalie

Last week, Nike+ Training Club (N+TC) look over London to offer free classes from paddle boarding to ballet, all with expert trainers. I was invited to join a few classes (including the launch class; spinning with 1Rebel at the Gherkin, which looked amazing!) but only managed to squeeze one of them into my calendar. That one was Yoga at The Orbit with Jessica Skye and it was incredible.

Nike+ Training Club

N+TC is a free, functional fitness training app designed for women with over 100 full-body workouts! The workouts are inspired by world-class athletes and based on years of Nike research - and that really shows. The app is great for guiding you through an entire workout, but I also find it an amazing source of on-the-go inspiration when I’m looking for new exercises to add to my training programme. I highly recommend downloading it.

Nike Women also offer Nike+ Training Club classes in other locations on a regular basis. Just Like the Nike Women UK Facebook page to book onto classes.

Nike Training Club Week The Orbit Yoga Just Do It

Yoga at The Orbit with Jessica Skye

After arriving at the Olympic Park, heading 80m up The Orbit and changing into appropriate attire (how awesome are the new legendary lava tights?!), I was ready for a yoga session with a stunning view over London. Jessica, Nike Trainer and the founder of Fat Buddha Yoga, lead an amazing yoga practice that worked towards building strength and focus, as well as improving flexibility and balance. I was so focused throughout the session that I almost didn’t get chance to appreciate the beautiful nighttime skyline (I said almost…) and felt blissfully relaxed after we finished with a Savasana. Jessica is such an encouraging and inspiring instructor and I'm looking forward to taking more classes with her in the future.

Jessica Skye Yoga Nike Training Club Week The Orbit

Refreshments from CPRESS

After our session, Nike ensured that we refuelled the healthy way with organic juices, snacks and salads from CPRESS. I opted for the Rainbow Circus, which was absolutely delicious.

 

Get involved!

If you missed out on classes at NTC week (or even if you just want more!), you can still join Nike by signing up for some N+TC digital sessions. And don’t forget to download the app!

If you managed to grab a spot on a N+TC week class, I’d love to hear about it!

Fly Flex Flow: New Sweaty Betty GF4F Campaign

FitnessNatalieComment

The new Sweaty Betty Get Fit 4 Free campaign has arrived! It launches today (22nd January) and runs until 12th February. During this time you can head over to the Sweaty Betty website to access the workout videos, or head into store every Tuesday during the campaign to get your fit fix.

The Fly Flex Flow challenge is a three-part workout incorporating indoor or outdoor run intervals and skipping to get your heart racing, some body conditioning movements using light weights, and a relaxing yoga flow. 

I was lucky enough to experience the Fly Flex Flow challenge myself at Sweaty Betty HQ with the workout’s designer, SB Ambassador Annie Foulds.

Fly

I am in no way a keen runner, and wasn’t initially sold on the idea of freezing outdoor run intervals, but if they went some way to getting me a body like Annie’s, I was damn well going to give them my best shot! Although I couldn’t wait to get back indoors, I actually really enjoyed the flat-out sprints and know that if I was doing this workout three days a week like SB recommend, I would definitely see some improvements in my endurance.

Flex

This section was a combination of exercises covering your full body. I think this section is a great introduction to come really effective exercises that can be perfected and progressed to sculpt your body. While I’m used to heavier weights than SB’s 1.5kg dumbbells, I still experienced a serious shoulder burn when Annie got us doing arm circles!

Flow

Finally, renowned yogi Jo Arthur guided us through a short yoga flow and Savasana, which was really relaxing.

Overall, I think that this trio of exercise elements is a really good way for Sweaty Betty to kick-off the new year.

It’s great to give you the chance to find out what aspects of your body could benefit from a little improvement, or to introduce you to a new exercise discipline.

If you give Fly Flex Flow a try, let me know how you get on!

Healthy Hair with Chad at Elajé

Grooming, HaircareNatalieComment

In the past six years, I don’t think I’ve returned to any hairdresser more times than I can count on one hand. The reason for this wasn’t always because I didn’t like the haircut, and it has never been a case of me not gelling with the hairdresser, it’s simply that no hairdresser ever demonstrated that they knew a thing about hair beyond how to wash and cut it. I was sick of leaving hair salons with my hair full of a plethora of products, even though my stylist couldn’t tell me how or why any of them were actually beneficial, beyond cluelessly saying “uh, they’ve got good ingredients…it might say on the bottle”. I was starting to lose all hope… Until I met Chad at Elajé Hair & Beauty*.

The Salon

Elajé is a stunning salon. It’s refreshingly spacious and modern with a really relaxed vibe. It’s clear that a lot of effort has gone into designing the perfect space to attend to the needs of all of their clients, with the option to have a private room for haircuts and treatments, free wifi and even iPads to use during your visit.

Elajé is located in central Cambridge, just a short walk from the train station, so even if you don’t live in the city, it’s easy to get to - and well worth the trip.

Chad Maxwell - Artistic Designer

Chad is quite simply the most talented hair stylist that I have ever had the pleasure of having an appointment with. His unrivalled passion for what he does is inspirational and his knowledge is second to none. As well as being a great stylist, he understands the biology of hair, the technology behind styling tools, and the science of product ingredients. As well as having this knowledge, he was keen to share it, and without me even having to ask. I am so delighted to have found such a gem!

He told me:

 "Being trained with top products and finding a passion for in depth knowledge is something I have always thought is important. A client is fully putting their trust in you so if you can't provide them with the information they need you are not fulfilling your job duty properly.”

Clearly, he just gets it.

It’s also remarkable that Chad is 20 years old (I couldn’t believe it when he told me!) with 5 years of experience already behind him. He trained with SeanHanna and with L'Oreal and Wella products, is a member of the GHD styling squad, and has worked three seasons at London Fashion Week. The day after I met with him, he was even working the Victoria’s Secret show.

Chad is super ambitious and a definite star in the making (he has the name for it too, right?!), so book in with him while you still can!

My Consultation, Cut and Finish

To start, Chad conducted a thorough consultation with me. We covered my last hair cut, my haircare routine, any issues I have with my hair, and my lifestyle. Chad also checked the condition of my hair and talked me through different styles and trends.

I felt that Chad put a lot of effort into understanding my requirements and I was really confident that he knew what to do with all the information that I gave him.

I was really happy with my wash and cut, plus the little complimentary head and neck massage, and the blow-dry was the best I have ever had. Probably because, like everything else, it was highly personalised. By understanding my hair weight and texture, Chad applied the best styling techniques to give extra volume and shine; and without a tonne of gunky products. He even gave me tips for replicating my salon blow-dry at home!

Ultimately, Chad provided a highly personalised treatment - something that only passionate creativity and a deep understanding of the field can enable.

Haircare Tips for Fit Girls

Throughout my appointment, Chad gave me lots of tips for looking after my hair, especially with the amount of time that I spend in the gym, and I couldn’t not share them:

1. Don’t tie up or put tension of any kind on wet hair. Hair is at its stretchiest when wet and this can cause it to snap or become damaged.

2. Don’t always tie your hair up in the same place. This is likely to cause kinks and weakness in the concentrated area.

3. Try plastic, spiral hair ties. I rediscovered a pack of invisibobble hair rings in my drawer after seeing Chad, and I swear by them. They’re great for preserving a blow-dry when you’re working out too!

4. Don’t wash it every day. Try using dry shampoo, or simply rinse and condition to refresh. This will help the balance of natural oils in the hair.

5. Avoid sulphates and silicone. Stick to high quality shampoos and conditioners where possible.

6. Use the right product for your hair. Your hair is a delicate balance of proteins and moisture. Avoid using ‘repairing’ products unless you’re sure that your hair has structural damage (from chemical treatments, for example), otherwise the extra proteins can make your hair brittle.

As well as having a brilliant cut and blow-dry, I learnt a lot about my hair and how to best look after it. I even had the opportunity to sample Elajé’s beauty treatment offering, as I was treated to a perfect manicure without even having to move from my salon seat! I had such a wonderful experience at Elajé and I would recommend them to anyone.

Head over to the Elajé website to learn more or to make a booking.

A Winter Boost from Savse Smoothies

Nutrition, Reviews, FoodNatalie3 Comments

Last month, while I was working flat-out on my university assignments, I caught the most horrendous cold that I have ever had. Luckily, a little delivery from SaVse Smoothies* arrived at the perfect time to dose me up on the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that I was desperate for. These drinks also happened to be completely and utterly delicious. 

SaVse Smoothies

I really love the SaVse brand and what it stands for. SaVse (meaning “crammed” in Georgian, as Georgia is where Nina first developed her smoothies) is a family brand completely dedicated to making their drinks as nutritious as possible, not just with the ingredients that they include (which they’re totally transparent about), but with their production processes, too.

SaVse make their smoothies using High-Pressure Processing (HPP), meaning that the ingredients are cold-pressed rather than being pasteurised with heat. This preserves the vital vitamin and nutrient profile, which can be lost through the heating process, and there is no need for preservatives. Hooray!

I think that the benefit of this production process is also evident in the amazingly fresh flavours of the drinks.

A Rainbow Range

There are five super-colourful drinks in the range, all of which provide 2 servings of fruit and vegetables in a convenient and easy-to-drink 250ml bottle. 

I’m going to go against the trend here and declare that I’m not actually a smoothie lover. I love the concept of them, but I really dislike the thick and gloopy texture of a lot of them, especially other brands of store-bought smoothies. Plus, I haven’t had chance to get to grips with my blender or to brave the mess of making them at home.

However, I loved drinking SaVse Smoothies. They have a super smooth, almost juice-like texture, but still as much fibre as other smoothie brands (I checked!). I assume this is due using HPP and to the lack of banana, which is generically used to bulk out smoothies.

Of course, the flavours are incredible too:

Super Red

The Super Red contains strawberry, orange, kale, spinach, broccoli and celery. I was amazed at how this drink really did taste of fresh strawberries! I didn’t notice the flavour of any greens in the juice, but I know they were there for a brilliant hit of vit C.

Super Orange

The Super Orange is a blend of mango, celery, apple, lemon, orange, passionfruit and carrot. This smoothie went down especially well as I’m a huge lover of sweet exotic fruits.

Super Green

The Super Green contains pear, broccoli, kiwi, lemon, banana, kale and spinach. This is SaVse’s most popular smoothie and I can understand why. This is a really refreshing way to consume vegetables that are renowned for their sometimes harsh green flavours.

Super Blue

The Super Blue is crammed with blueberry, kale, beetroot, spinach, blackcurrant and apple. I really enjoyed this drink and love that it has so many ingredients that are high in antioxidants.

Super Purple

The Super Purple contains beetroot, apple, lemon, lime, mango and avocado. This is probably the smoothie that I was most nervous about trying as I haven’t yet acquired a love for beetroot’s earthy flavour. However, it has been perfectly paired with fresh and zesty fruits that make it really palatable and enjoyable to drink. I’m so impressed!

Another brilliant thing about SaVse Smoothies is that they are widely available and affordable (especially compared to a juice-bar equivalent) at around £2.75 a pop.

Finally, I spotted this little thought on the SaVse website - definitely something to always bear in mind:

Everything you eat or drink either feeds disease or fights it

Have you tried any of SaVse’s super smoothies? Let me know which ones are your favourites!