A Hip and Healthy Guide to LA: Day 9

A Ballerina Abroad: Day 9 of our Hip and Healthy Guide to LA

words by Saskia Gregson-Williams

This morning I woke up to the birds chirping and the sun streaming in through the blinds. Mum and I put on our gym kit and walked up the hill to the fitness centre, which consists of a treadmill, weights and cross trainer all outside and over-looking the pool. Working out at this time in the morning in the countryside is so peaceful and a complete joy.

After our gym session, we ordered breakfast to come to the room, so awaiting us was two bowls of delicious berry oatmeal and a pot of hot water and lemon. We enjoyed this outside on the patio in the morning sun. After breakfast we slipped our trainers on and trekked up the mountain to the San Ysidro Trail. This hike, up and down through the beautiful tracks of The Santa Ynez Mountain range and across the rivers is utterly mesmerising. With lots of “beware of the bear” signs, mountain deer and the verdant trees and flowers, it’s a walk with nature at it’s best. After our hike we settled back down by the pool, with magazines books and my iPad – I was set for the morning. At midday I ordered a simple club sandwich by the pool and continued to bathe in the hot sun. We had a two o’clock checkout, so I just about managed to eat my lunch, shower pack my bags and we were off on the highway. Such an idyllic location for a weekend break, I feel refreshed, serene and  ready to get back to LA. We were back in Santa Monica by four pm.

A film my Dad wrote the music for, ‘Here Comes the Boom’ was recently released in the states and I was itching to see it. I met friends at the Bridge cinema at 7pm and had a great night at the flicks. The bridge is located about 20 minutes away from Santa Monica but worth the drive for the comfy seating and big high quality screens, you can even order dinner while you watch. It was a hilarious movie! I loved it and thought Kevin James was utterly brilliant. A great cast and comedy.

After the movie we drove back via The Native Foods Cafe, this chain spread across LA is a fresh organic vegan cafe, with lots of options. Quick and easy, it’s no fuss, healthy and fast. I ordered the Crunchy Kale Salad with raw kale, shredded cabbage, apples and avocado tossed with a maple orange dressing and topped with currants, almonds and a creamy tahini drizzle. I also ordered a side of sweet potato fries, crisped and  seasoned to perfection. I couldn’t resist their all-vegan sugar-free desert bar with options such as pumpkin pie, boogie banana bread, double choc chip brownies. In the end I chose their Peanut butter parfait, made with tofu, and topped with boogie banana bread crumbs and dark chocolate chips. I believe i’ve mentioned my love of peanut butter in an earlier post, so choosing this dessert comes as no surprise. The salad was nice, the fries were delicious, dessert was incredible! A healthy meal with a sugarless protein packed pudding. The best way to end an evening.

A Hip and Healthy Guide to LA: Day 8

A Ballerina Abroad: Day 8 of our Hip and Healthy Guide to LA

words by Saskia Gregson-Williams

Day 8

Since I was little Santa Babara has always been our favourite weekend get-away spot. Only an one hour and 20 minutes from Santa Monica it’s easy to get to and yet, when you are there, you feel like worlds away from the hustle and bustle of LA. After grabbing a little something from the Oceana’s breakfast buffet, we packed our bags for the evening and hit the road by 10:30. With a beautiful costal drive we arrived at the San Ysidro Ranch by midday. Located in the exclusive enclave of Montecito  and the depths of the  Santa Ynez Mountains, the scenery is stunning with breathtaking views of the ocean and channel islands. The  individual cottages named after flowers grown at the ranch are surrounded by aromatic orange and lemon groves, vegetable gardens and lots of blossoming seasonal flowers. The cottages are beautifully appointed, with elegant yet comfortable furniture with a country feel. The staff are all eager to please and always very welcoming. The Ranch is also very animal friendly. When we lived here our Golden Retriever, Rudy, was a regular and knew his way around the colourful gardens very well. As you arrive and check in there are always warm cookies by the desk and a bowl of treats for your pet. Everything is thought off, they really leave no stone unturned.

We settled in to the Gardenia Cottage. All the cottages are beautiful and unique; but with all-day sun a jacuzzi, terrace, siting room and large en-suite bathroom this cottage is our favourite. A very nostalgic place for us all. Unpacked and changed we went down to the Stoneground Terrace restaurant for the famous San Ysidro Brunch served till two pm. A two-course brunch with mimosas and juices included. Having had breakfast we passed up the appetizer (sadly as they looked incredible) and dived straight into an entree. I ordered the pan seared Scottish salmon, drizzled with whole grain mustard sauce and balsamic onions on a bed of wilted baby spinach. This was fresh, light and packed with flavour. Mum ordered the SYR’s Huevos Rancheros, homemade corn tortillas with Blackbeans, egg and organic avocado. Normally this dish comes with chorizo and queso cheese, but being dairy free and semi-veggie she asked for it without and they were very happy to oblige. This dish was also delicious, two very good orders but at the ranch I don’t think you really can go wrong!

After an exquisite brunch on the terrace, we walked up the enchanting garden to the pool. We spent the rest of the afternoon lounging on the sun beds, relaxing, swimming and breathing in the fresh mountain air. Returning to the cottage we sunbathed some more on the cottages private sun loungers, showered then dressed for dinner. Walking down to dinner on the narrow stone paths the garden was illuminated by tea lights. Beautiful.

We again sat outside on the terrace; with lots of heaters the temperature was perfect. Although the menu only has one page, each dish is mouthwatering. In the end I chose the Butternut Squash soup to start, the chefs special. A heavenly bowl of goodness, I love the taste of squash, so this thick warm soup was the perfect choice. For my main I ordered the Halibut, it came with roasted rosemary new potatoes and a tomato sauce. Every mouthful had more flavour than the last, the potatoes were wonderfully seasoned and the halibut drizzled with lemon juice was cooked to perfection. As we ate our five-star meal, the chef made my Dad a bowl of broth and a side order of plain jasmine rice. He said it was the most delicious broth and rice he’d ever tasted. They really are very happy to help and assist you with any dietary requirements. So even a man recovering from stomach flu can enjoy a flavoursome bowl of broth!

We went back to the cottage and watched ‘Its Complicated’. One of my favourite films, set in Santa Babara (very fitting) with Meryl Streep, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, it’s brilliant, hilarious and gives you a wonderful feel for the town. If you haven’t seen it, see it now!

The lights are off in the cottage, and the ranch is silent. Time for bed.


A Hip and Healthy Guide to LA: Days 6 & 7

A Ballerina Abroad: Days 6 & 7 of our Hip and Healthy Guide to LA

words by Saskia Gregson-Williams

Day 6

Today we decided to go try out breakfast at Cafe Gratitude. I’ve never had breakfast there before, so was very excited to try it out. I ordered the ‘I AM FREE’ chia seed porridge with lucuma, maca, hempseed milk ,goji berries and blueberries. One of my favourite ingredients to use when I cook at home are chia seeds. Knowing their wonderful nutritional value it was no surprise that this breakfast bowl jumped out at me. Forgetting it is a (for the most part) a raw food cafe I was expecting the porridge to be piping hot, so my face when i tasted the cold tapioca like chia pot was a sight to behold! This breakfast is definitely like marmite, love it or hate it… But try to love it because it’s just so darn good for you. I also ordered the ‘I am Grace’ smoothie with coconut milk, almond butter, vanilla bean and dates. There was nothing at all marmite like about this, heaven in a glass. Other breakfast options include the ‘I AM FANTASTIC’ a live cashew crepe with coconut yoghurt, pecans and fresh seasonal fruit. A choice for next time.

After breakfast we went back to my dads studio in Santa monica. My dads a film composer, which is why I initially moved to LA and the reason I revisit regularly. We listened to a few cues of music, and hung out at the studio until midday. We then headed over to Aveda on Montana to visit the lovely girls there and check out the wonderful natural products in store. This kooky looking salon from the outside is a great place to get a guaranteed good hair cut or blow dry before an evening out.

In the evening we had tickets and backstage passes to Bob Dylan and Mark Knopfler at the Hollywood bowl. As we were meeting friends we thought it would be nice to have a picnic before, so off we went to get lots of bits and pieces! First to Wholefoods: Salty cashews and almonds, sweet potato and lime tortilla chips and lots of salsa. Then to Planet Raw. We ordered all four ‘sushi’ plates on the menu to go. My favourite is the Godzilla with avocado, kim chi, nut-cheeze, wild seaweed, mint, cilantro, pumpkin seed oil, coconut jerky and jalapeño. While we waited, to cool us down, we had ordered a creamy berry smoothie topped with crunchy nuts, goji berries, raisins and lots of yummy trimmings!

Back to the hotel to get ready to go to the Hollywood bowl. A car picked us up and took us into Hollywood around 4:30 with awful Friday traffic so it took around two hours. Once there our friends joined us and we tucked into the picnic nibbles and champagne outside the bowl.

The bowl has the capacity to sit just under 18,000 people, being the largest amphitheater in the US. Box seats up front and rows and rows of bleachers going back. First to perform was Mark Knopfler of Dire Straights. Knofler is an incredible guitarist and the band used to be very rock and roll but the music has a more Celtic vibe to it now. They were great, put everyone in a good mood and finished their gig with a loud encore. After resetting the stage, it was time for Bob Dylan. I was not as familiar with his music but I am aware he is a legend in the industry and has had a roller-coaster of a life. He played for an hour and a half and the crowd loved it. Luckily it was a nice evening to be outside, as normally blankets can be requires late at night

On the way back to drinks with the band at their hotel in Santa Monica we stopped back at Planet Raw to get a superfood chocolate shake with cashew cream and homemade house trail mix to top. How very rock and roll of us…

Day 7

After starting the day at Le Pain Quotidien we went back to the hotel to greet a very poorly father. After having been ill all through the night, he couldn’t so much as get out of bed. Off to Wholefoods we ventured to get some bits and pieces to help his stomach. Lots of coconut water (my favourite rehydrating beverage, with more potassium than a banana) some organic plain salted crackers, grapes, bananas and some sparkling lemon and lime water.

I then went to Venice to visit my old ballet teacher Yuri Grigoriev. I was only seven when I moved out to the US and had only been doing small dance classes in a village hall. When we found Yuri I was absolutely terrified by the classes, the style was so different (Russian) he only spoke a few words of English and I was dancing alongside girls double my age. A tad overwhelming! But I was determined and stuck with it. Yuri taught me how much I love to dance by discipline, correction and hard work. I loved it and from that age I knew it was for me. It’s so lovely to be able to come back now and visit the studio and watch Yuri teach, since I’ve left nothing’s really changed.

I was there until two-o’clock, ravenous I went to the Seed Kitchen on Pacific Avenue in Venice. I ordered a coconut water and a Caesar Salad with cashew parmesan, croutons and a pumpkin seed vinaigrette to go. Seed is located really near Venice Beach so a good place to walk to if your walking, rollerblading or sunbathing in that area. I took it all down to the beach to enjoy with some friends.

In the evening we went out to Hillstones in Santa Monica. A diverse menu, catering for the meat eater with delicious veggie options too. I ordered the Veggie Burger with a side order of the pearl barley salad. Truly delicious, the best American cuisine near third street. But it’s very busy which can have you waiting hours for a table so go early or book in advance.

We then walked a block down to the AMC 7 theatre on 3rd street to watch The Perks Of Being a Wallflower. Such a brilliant film, so well acted and absolutely hilarious. Was surprised by what a wide audience this film caters for, definitely not just a teen flick. After two hours of laughing, crying and being thoroughly entertained we walked up to the Real Food Daily a few blocks away for dessert. We took it to go as we wanted to get back to the hotel. We ordered rice milk hot chocolates a raw blueberry cheesecake and an oatmeal cookie. Thumbs up for all. The cookie was warm and gooey, an amazing dunker for the hot cacao and the blueberry cheesecake was lovely and creamy. Hard to believe these deserts were all sugar-free and vegan. What a great Saturday night.


The Power of the Pumpkin

The Power of the Pumpkin

 words by Frankie Rozwadowska

Ahh the pumpkin – that round orange squash forgotten about for approximately 362 days of the year. And on the days we do acknowledge it, it’s either being carved to death or dished up in a (albeit delicious) spiced latte. It’s about time we gave this fruit the recognition it deserves – it serves a far greater purpose than a Halloween decoration (or embarrassing costume) – it’s a skin saviour. Seriously, the pumpkin packs some serious punch – not only crammed with skin-healing vitamins (A, C, E & beta-carotene), minerals and antioxidants; but also packed with zinc which has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties to calm skin, and enzymes that soothe, smooth and moisturise. If that isn’t enough, the pumpkin is rich in alpha hydroxy acids which act as a natural exfoliator and linoleic acid which helps make skin more supple. AND it helps calm redness. Just the ticket as winter kicks in. Just cook it, mash it, add some natural yoghurt, a drop of honey, and you have a frightfully fierce facemask. Or, to avoid looking like an extra from Dawn of the Dead, you could always try one of these super pumpkin products:

Burt’s Bees Miracle Salve – contains pumpkin seed oil to moisturise and nourish. Works wonders on dry skin and hair. £7.99

Elemental Herbology Wind and Cold Therapy – for your hands, cuticles and lips – this cocktail of botanicals contains fresh pumpkin cells to soothe and repair dry, inflamed skin, whilst stimulating cell renewal. £19.00

MyChelle Creamy Pumpkin Cleanser – it hydrates, purifies and moisturises, and forms a lusciously rich lather that’s both vegan and gluten free. £9.00

Lulu & Boo Rosehip Lifting Serum – 100% raw and organic, the pumpkin seed oil works with an array of other natural ingredients to firm and revitalise skin without blocking pores. £28.00

Philosophy Homemade Pumpkin Pie – use it as a shampoo, shower-gel or bubble bath to cleanse and condition skin and hair. It smells as good as it sounds. £14.00

Nest Fragrances Pumpkin Chai Candle – okay so it may not be skincare but it’s bound help you relax and unwind. The perfect scent for a cosy autumn evening, with notes of cardamom, ginger and cinnamon. £37.00

With the clocks going back; it’s officially time to get your beauty sleep

Get Your Beauty Sleep

words by Frankie Rozwadowska

The clocks went back this weekend, which means we get a whole extra hour of sublime shuteye. Hooray! Our skin is rejoicing. It is not just a saying or an old wives’ tale – sleep really does make you more beautiful. Heidi Klum gets 10 hours a night, whilst Penelope Cruz clocks up 12 – and Eva Mendes claims she would get the gold medal if sleep became an Olympic sport. Those glorious hours when we are dreaming of magical lands or marrying Ryan Gosling (admit it) are when our skin goes through vital processes of restoration and repair and when our metabolic rate rises to replenish dead cells at the surface. Lack of sleep not only makes you feel lousy, but it puts extra stress on the body. Increasing levels of stress hormones mean one thing – wrinkles. And lots of them.  Instead of battling nasty environmental factors like pollution and sunlight, at night our systems focus on repairing damage caused during the day, and without this key time period skin becomes more sensitive and irritated. Sleep also helps support a healthy immune system, enabling our bodies to banish blemishes and fight off infections. It’s therefore no surprise that many products are more effective when used at night. They are absorbed faster and penetrate deeper whilst our bodies are at rest, working alongside nature to turn you into a sleeping beauty fit for a fairytale.

Before bed, soak in a bath of Aromatherapy Associates Relax Deep Bath & Shower Gel. The aromatic oils of nature’s most calming plants (chamomile, sandalwood and vetivert) instantly create a deep sense of peace and tranquillity and the coconut oil will leave you feeling seriously soft. £37.00

Bad news for anyone who sleeps on their face – it is one of the biggest ways to speed up ageing. Your skin is compressed, meaning less circulation, skin creasing and more wrinkles. But there is good news. Sleeping on the 100% silk hypoallergenic Holistic Silk Rejuvenating ‘Anti-Ageing’ Silk Pillow Case means no creasing, therefore no wrinkles. Simples. £42.50

Now you have the pillow, you need the pillow spray. The This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray is infused with 100% natural essential oils (lavender, vetivert, wild chamomile) to relieve tension and insomnia whilst soothing and sedating the mind and body. Simply spritz, smell and sleep. £15.00

The ultimate fighter against ageing has to be the REN Bio Retinoid Anti-Ageing Concentrate. 100% nature derived Vitamin A, Pro Vitamin A and Retinoid Analogue (which does not irritate skin like synthetic retinol) combats wrinkles, fine lines and age spots – leaving skin brighter, plumper and smoother. Warm a few drops in your hands and apply before your night cream/serum. £42.00

Detox is not just for diet but for skin too – and the Sisley Night Complex does detox and more. This cell activator, rich in active plant extracts (hops, horsetail and white lily) and essential oils, is suitable for all skin types – restoring tone, elasticity and firmness, whilst rebalancing and oxygenating. £158.00

Health Guru Dr Andrew Weil puts his power in a pot with the Dr Andrew Weil for Origins Night Health Bedtime Face Cream. Particularly good for the stressed or anxious, this nutrient-rich cream contains Buckbean and St Paul’s Wort to target tense, clenched-looking skin, together with anti-irritants derived from algae and yeast to help visibly calm complexions. £46.00

Eyes are the tell-tale sign of not enough kip (skin under the eyes is only a 1/3 as thick as facial skin and has far fewer sebaceous glands, making it more susceptible to dehydration) so a super eye treatment is a must. The Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Eye diminishes fine lines, puffiness and wrinkles by combining powerhouse natural oils with Butcher’s Broom – a root extract proven to increase microcirculation and to strengthen the delicate eye area overnight. £24.50

Naturally fragranced with the most luxurious of roses, the Eve Lom TLC Cream leaves skin supple, smooth and hydrated, as well as smelling sublime. Formulated with natural oils (Bulgarian Rose Otto, arnica and calendula), beeswax and euphrasia extract, it is gentle enough for the most delicate of skin – reducing sensitivity and calming redness. Total tender loving care. £55

A’Kin is one of a’kind. Blended in Australia’s bushland, the A’Kin Lavender & Rose Repairing Anti-oxidant Night Cream has no nasties and lots of botanical goodness. Rapidly absorbed and enriched with highly moisturising vitamins and fatty acids a’plenty, this works wonders for dryness. £24.00

A night-time nourisher that ticks all the boxes, the Liz Earle Superskin Concentrate rebalances combination and oily skin, nurtures dry skin, clears toxins, boosts circulation, reduces puffiness and encourages cell renewal. Massage this heavenly combination of oils (argan, organic rose hip, neroli and lavender) onto the face and décolletage after cleansing and let sleep and Superkin work their magic. £40.25

A Hip and Healthy Guide to Los Angeles: Day 5

A Ballerina Abroad: Day 5 of A Hip and Healthy Guide to Los Angeles

words by Saskia Gregson-Williams

Day 5

Back to Le Pain this morning for an alkalising hot water and Lemon and another bowl of super omega-3 oatmeal. Early in the morning LA is so peaceful, the cars are replaced with people running and power walking along Ocean Blvd and up San Vincente.

Pilates in Brentwood gardens at 9:30 Another great session, really felt the burn! I am the first to complain when I feel like muscles are gripping excessively and the work feels to tight and heavy, but I am told that tight muscles are weak muscles and to push past it. The Resolution Pilates team are great at incorporating muscle fatiguing exercises with deep releasing stretches for maximum benefit. After a pounding Pilates session, we quenched our thirst outside in the sun at The Coral Tree Cafe next door. I love this chain of cafes, great food, healthy, fresh and organic and there is always so much to choose from. The  smoothies and juices are truly special though, I chose a Beetroot Detoxifier. Full of greens and beetroot. Perfect.

After enjoying the sun we went to the Santa Monica Place shopping centre a new shopping mall at the end of 3rd Street. Just as I returned to England a few years back they started to knock down the old tacky shopping centre and replaced it with this new modern mall with loads of great shops including Tiffany, Michael Kors, Armarni, 7 for all mankind, Nike and lots more. We visited the Nike store to look at new trainers – you’ve got to work out with pretty shoes right?! I bought some super springy orange and grey nikes, with a thin sole, so not to clumpy but with all the right support.

For lunch we met a friend at the top of the mall in the food hall to try out the new Michael Kenney raw restaurant ‘M.A.K.E’. After waiting for outside seating (with weather like this sitting inside is criminal!) we browsed over the menu. The menu was small but included lots of wonderful raw creations. We ordered the Kimmichi ‘Dumplings’ (coconut paper stuffed with pumpkin & seed pate) and the red radish, daikon, nori and avocado salad with a side of  raw fennel and walnut crackers. It took a while to come as the chef’s use the plate as a canvas to create an artwork as well as a delicious meal. When it did come, it was worth the wait – never have I seen raw food look so creative. For dessert we ordered strawberries with a carrot cream purée, lemon kefir sorbet, poppy alfalfa, cucumber ‘jus’ and beetroot biscuits to share. This spectacularly presented pudding was just as delicious as it looked, with no added sugar it still tasted wonderfully sweet.

After some time spent mooching around shops in Malibu. We returned back to the hotel and got ready to meet a friend for dinner at FIG. This restaurant only a few blocks down the road from our hotel on Ocean Blvd is part of the Fairmont Hotel, but locals love it. The menu is very vegan friendly but has lots of organic meat options too. For my starter I ordered spinach with pine nuts and dates. This sat on a bed of freshly made peanut butter, that oozed into the water from the spinach making a crunchy peanut sauce. Being quite a peanut butter addict, we’re talking eating it straight from the tub, I was a huge fan of this savoury and sweet combo. For my main I ordered the Scarlett Quinoa with carrots, apple, green beans, Almonds and more wonderful rainbow foods. It was a tad on the vinegary side, so in future I would ask them to go easy on the seasoning but all in all it was a fantastic meal.


A Hip and Healthy Guide to Los Angeles: Day 4

A Ballerina Abroad: Day 4 of A Hip and Healthy Guide to Los Angeles

words by Saskia Gregson-Williams

Day 4

For breakfast we revisited Urth cafe. We generally go between Le Pain and Urth for breakfast. Today we opted for Urth, as they really do do the best coffee in LA.. And it was one of those days! Then off to Pilates we drove. We were feeling quite tight after Yogahop yesterday, so it was great to work through the tightness with a leg and ab workout. After Pilates we met a friend at Mandeville Canyon for a hike and catchup. This canyon is located in between Brentwood and the Pacific Palisades, the views are stunning the atmosphere so serene and the air so fresh you feel you can think again, after being surrounded by the noise of LA. We hiked for over an hour stopping in between to do a few yoga poses, a really therapeutic way to start the day.

After the hiked we returned to the hotel freshened up and met my Dad for lunch at Planet Raw. Such a delicious Raw Organic Cuisine. We all ordered three different items to share.  The first order I chose was the ‘Cheeze’ Enchiladas; a pumpkin veggie nut & seed pâté wrapped in nori with a guacomole,salsa and sour ‘kream’ dip. It had a spicy kick and is a delicious healthy skin-loving combo. We then ordered the Babylon Lebanese falafel rolls wrapped in a collard green with garlic cream tahini, olives, bean-free hummus and avocados. This also went down an absolute treat. The combination of the tahini, avocado and hummus was to die for. Lastly we ordered their famous full of goodness Dinosaur Salad to share, with kale, wild seaweed, Marine Minerals, cayenne & nutritional flakes. We ordered very, very well and played pass the parcel with are food until every scrap was gone!

Mum and I then headed off to Fred Segal, a small luxury boutique department store of 4th and Broadway in Santa Monica. It’s a quiet, relaxed place to shop with a great selection of new stores. Another great celeb spotting location. We spent ages in all the stores, until having to sit down with a bad case of shopping legs!

For dinner we went to Vincenti Restirante on San Vincente,Brentwood. This is a smart dressy Italian restaurant it’s a great place to eat, and very family friendly. When I was little and we lived here we ate out regularly, this was one of our favourite spots, they all new us and the staff were all so kind to the little me. Returning today we were greeted by all the lovely Italian waiters and waitresses, who looked after us so well and treated us like we’d never left. The food was delicious, presented exquisitely. A wide menu of fresh, roasted and baked fish, flat base quality pizzas straight out the stone oven, seafood pastas, fresh dairy-free soups the list is endless and everything is cooked to perfection. It is easy to understand why this place is always busy, so you have to book in advance.

A Hip and Healthy Guide to Los Angeles: Day 3

A Ballerina Abroad: Day 3 of our Hip and Healthy Guide to Los Angeles

By Saskia Gregson-Williams

Day 3 

Hoorah, I slept till six am, which means seven solid hours of sleep and I definitely feel more energetic because of it. Once up, dressed and ready for the day we headed to The Urth Caffe on main street in Venice. This chain is spread right across LA, so when in doubt find an Urth (also it’s great for  the odd bit of celeb spotting.) The food is all fresh and organic and very, very tasty. We all ordered the Organic Oatmeal, with a side of fresh berries and steamed almond milk.

After breakfast we met a friend at Yoga-Hop on Montana avenue. This sweaty, cardio take on typical zen yoga, is more workout then meditation. It relaxes you while you push your body to a brilliant pumping soundtrack. The teacher, Matthew Reyes, is really encouraging and very welcoming to newcomers. A brilliant yet challenging class and a great workout and a great platform to start the day. Luckily you don’t necessarily have to fly to LA to take a fun California style yoga, great classes in Fulham with Nick Ryder at Yoga LA  (check out www.yogla.co.uk).

Changed and showered after a rather sweaty morning we went to Lululemon Athletica in Brentwood. Now open just off the Kings Road in London, but like most things in the US this is a much bigger outlet. Racks and racks of great comfy yoga/ running/ cycling sportswear in all different colours, shapes and sizes – it’s a hip and healthy fave. The shop is brimming with positive energy mostly  to do with all the motivational mood boards hung around the place. I left with two items: an orange sports bra and a pair of striped running trousers. Fairly expensive, but worth every penny as the quality of the clothes are great and you can be assured they will last a long time.

Midday and we are hunnnngry! Off to Euphoria loves Rawvolution on main street. This all raw, organic, gluten and soy-free café is incredible; a large menu so full with yummy things I had to close my eyes and point at random to choose. I went for the Tiger roll (filled with  curry paper, veggies, avocado and a sweet chilli dip) this raw wrap, was so light and delicious, I didn’t want it to end. I also ordered  the popular Superfood Salad (kale, avocado, flax-oil, tomatoes, and green Dr. Schultze’s superfood powder). A wonderful meal at a fantastic positive place which totally embraces the “your body is your temple” philosophy. Everything is prepared fresh on site and stock the finest local produce. Love, love, love.

After lunch we ventured down Main Street, packed with great shops such as Planet Blue and funky Boho style boutiques. I love this area not just for the shops but the amazing graffiti art. Pictures, inspiring words you name it – it just makes you feel good in a way that only LA can.

For dinner we went to Santa Monica Seafood. A fish and seafood store on Wiltshire with a restaurant and cafe situated inside. The atmosphere is great; lots of locals enjoying the freshest seafood southern California offers. We all had a really enjoyable meal. A great, quick and easy, no-fuss little restaurant. Perfect when you want a healthy fresh seafood dish, a conversation with friends (you can actually hear) and a vibrant all American atmosphere.

A Hip and Healthy Guide to Los Angeles: Day 2

A Ballerina Abroad: Day 2 of our Hip and Healthy Guide to Los Angeles

By Saskia Gregson-Williams

Cafe Gratitude

Woke up at 2am this morning, the joys of jet lag! (Always ensure you top up your iPod with great songs before venturing abroad, in these situations it’s the only thing that keeps you sane).

After listening to Adele three-million times on repeat it was six o’clock and a reasonable time to get up. Showered and dressed in my sports kit I went for an early breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien in Brentwood. This chain, thankfully, is international and there are several in central London, but LA beats them all with a much wider and more delicious menu. I ordered the organic Omega 3 Berry Boost Oatmeal, with flaxseeds, flaxseed oil and almond milk. Yum! This was the perfect wake me up. After breakfast I headed to the Pilates studio. Every trip I go back to Resolution Therapy Pilates in Brentwood Gardens. It’s a great way to retain muscle strength for dancing and is the perfect jet lag remedy. It’s always difficult meeting and being trained by a new instructor when you first meet them, but Resolution is the best in LA as far as I’m concerned. Great atmosphere, lovely trainers and a great physical therapy and massage team at the ready.

We then went over to Abbot Kinney, an awesome street with some really great shops (more on that later). Then for the main feature of the day: lunch at Café Gratitude, Oh my days! This new organic café is located in Venice on Rose and 5th Street. I had been to a branch in San Francisco when dancing out there over the summer, so was incredibly excited to try this one out. For my main I ordered the ‘I am Pure’ this was a delicious sushi inspired ginger-tahini kale salad with sea vegetables, teriyaki almonds, sunflower sprouts and avocado. Mum ordered the ‘I Am Celebrating’ a delicious ceviche style salad of zucchini, coconut, tomato and avocado with raw tomato flax crackers; in the end we shared both and just couldn’t get enough! We also ordered a delicious ‘I Am Luscious’ smoothie for dessert with almond milk, figs, raw cacao, dates and vanilla. Delicious.

We then went for a lovely long walk down 3rd Street checking out all of our fave shops along the way. Eventually as it got later ending up at Interim cafe on Wilshire and 5th street for a delicious simple Berry Smoothie, Cheesy Vegan Burger and a Walnut and Carrot salad. This hidden gem of a restaurant is surprising delicious despite its shabby appearance. We love it and I’m sure it shall be a constant feature as the week goes on!

7pm and needing to wake up, we decided to go to the AMC theatre on 3rd street to see The Seven Psychopaths, five minutes in and I’m out like a light, only occasionally waking up to see a gun, blood, swearing and more such pleasant things as that. It’s 10pm and I am desperate for my bed. See you in the morning.

The What, Where, Why and Which of Detox

The What, Where, Why and Which of Detox

words by Belinda Mann


Why autumn is the perfect time to detox
There is a lot of talk about detox during the spring, as it’s often seen as an aid to get bikini ready for the summer. But detoxing isn’t just a way to shed some unwanted pounds, it has a host of health benefits too. Although it’s true spring is a great time to detox, autumn is equally as good – this is because your body naturally has higher energy during the equinoxes to deal with the detoxing process. If you’ve overindulged during the summer now is the time to slow down, restore and rejuvenate before heading into winter.

Natural flu injection
Detoxing in autumn has been shown to reduce the chances of getting a winter cold. The science behind this shows when the body has an increased toxic load the immune system is on high alert draining its resources. Toxins accumulate when the liver is overwhelmed and cannot do all it’s jobs in a timely manner. A period of detox allows the liver to process toxins that have been stored in the body. When these toxins are expelled the immune system will be under less strain and in a much better position to keep you healthy during the winter months ahead. Think of green juice as your natural flu injection.

Reduce comfort eating in the winter months
During the colder winter months it can be tempting to start comfort eating. It’s not just the cold weather that moves us to reach for comfort food, emotions can also be a factor. Detoxing is more than just expelling toxins in a physical sense, stored emotions are often released as well. For example fear is thought to be a release from the kidney, anger a release from the liver, worry a release from the spleen/stomach, and grief a release from the lungs. The emotional release will help you to feel more clear and balanced.

Stay slim until next spring…
There is no denying that living clean is a key way to stay slim. Any excess toxins accumulated over summer cocktails and parties can contribute to weight gain. If the liver is overloaded it has to store unprocessed toxins and the safest place in the body for storage is your fat cells. In a state of higher toxicity your body wants to hold on to fat to protect itself of toxins. Therefore by reducing your toxic load you will be reducing the chances of gaining weight over the winter period.

How often should I cleanse?
Whilst spring and autumn equinoxes are thought to be the best times, it’s most beneficial to cleanse at least quarterly. Detox is more than a week long commitment its about creating a healthy lifestyle, and regular cleansing is more likely to keep you on track and help you stay motivated. Don’t cheat yourself by doing a week long cleanse then going out on a bender – this can shock your system so you’re not doing your body any favours.

Which detox?
There are many detox delivery options now that make the whole process easier – no getting up early to make loads of juices or different meals. There are plans that incorporate juices, soups and even some cooked food if you feel you need some warmer options now the weather is cooler. These can be a great way to make the detox process less stressful giving you more time to relax. Which detox? is a new service that offers free bespoke advise on detox delivery services in London.

See the site for more www.which-detox.com










A Hip and Healthy Guide to LA – Blogged

A Ballerina Abroad: a Hip and Healthy Guide to Los Angeles

By Saskia Gregson-Williams

Having lived in Los Angeles for a period growing up, it feels like a second home and I visit as often as I can to see friends and family.

I moved here when I was seven. At the time I didn’t really appreciate how incredible the city is, I was too busy dancing and hanging out with friends to absorb any of the aspects I appreciate today. Returning for two weeks, i’m making it my aim to visit all of my favourite places; yoga studios, canyons, beaches, healthy restaurants, vegan cafes… The list is endless. These California gems are very popular with LA residents, and mostly unbeknown to tourists. So even in peak months you can beat the hustle and bustle but still get the best LA experience. I will be blogging my experiences and a day by day guide to all the special places that make for the ultimate in hip and healthy holidays.

Day 1

Virgin Atlantic, 11:30 am, Premium Economy, and a 12-hour flight ahead of me. Those were the only details I knew when entering heathrow on Sunday morning. Leaving all e-ticket and visa business to my mum which proved to be a big mistake.

Within the first 10 minutes of being at the airport she told the desk staff we were upper class passengers so off they sent us to the golden card member check-in. When there, we continued to bluff to no avail. The woman soon realised what passive fibbers we are, and also landed the bombshell we hadn’t applied for an ESTA (an essential online document to enter the US) Well done mum! We scurried off to an Internet cafe in shame to complete the crucial form.

14 hours later, we’ve landed, the sun is shining and all memories of dragging our suitcases on a mini-marathon around heathrow airport have faded… slightly.

My dad picked us up from LAX, Wholefoods bag in hand full of delicious raw crackers, coconut water, cashews and tamari almonds. Was I happier to see him or this delicious bag? It’s a close call. After a well-deserved 4pm feast in the car we drove back to the Oceana Hotel, Santa Monica. Beautiful spot by the Ocean, the view is absolutely breathtaking and a wonderful central place to spend the next 12 days.

Rent bikes along Venice Beach just outside Oceana Hotel

After un-packing, we strolled down Santa Monica blvd to The Real Food Daily, a favourite organic vegan restaurant of mine on 5th Street. The menu is full of soy-free, sugar-free, gluten- and wheat-free options. My mum and I are both dairy-free and rarely eat red meat, so this place is perfect. My dad who is the most conventional eater enjoyed it just as much.

The menu (to the non-vegan) is quite confusing at first, with lots of soy proteins and nut cheeses that you would not find in your normal American restaurant, even so every plate is delicious so you really can’t go wrong. I ordered the ‘Dip Me Enchiladas’ with black beans,  corn, blackened mushrooms, corn tortilla, brown rice, and creamy guacamole.

After having eaten nothing on the plane, I devoured every morsel! Tempted by the famous RFD dessert bar, I ordered to share, the chocolate tart. Again so much healthier than any normal chocolate treat, it was a guilty pleasure without the guilt.

9pm and the jet lag is beginning to creep up on me, to bed I go..