3 Things You Must See While In The Alps

The Alps is a magical landscape with lots to offer visitors. The area is so vast though that it can be difficult to decide exactly where to go and what to see, especially for first-time visitors. So, what are the things that you really must see while in the Alps? We’ve listed our top three Alpine sights that should not be missed.

Although famous for skiing and snowboarding, the region of Haute-Savoie has much more to offer visitors. At Aiguille du Midi, which is home to Chamonix’s mountaineering capital, you can enjoy spectacular panoramic views from Europe’s highest cable car system. At 1,807 metres, Aiguille du Midi’s cable car currently holds the world record for the highest vertical ascent. This cable car takes you as close to Mont Blanc as is possible via a lift system. It’s also easily accessible.

To the north of the Haute-Savoie region is the resort of Flaine. At this cultural and artistic hub, you can view stunning open-air sculptures by artists such as Pablo Picasso and Jean Dubuffet. For those looking for a quiet stroll in pretty surroundings, Annecy, with its pastel-coloured houses, is not to be missed. With its cobbled streets and canals, it’s easy to see why this picturesque town is often referred to as ‘the Little Venice of the Alps’. With views of the Thiou River and Lake Annecy, the town is also home to an art and natural history museum.

The Alps aren’t only famous for their spectacular slopes and mountain views; they’re just as renowned for their awe-inspiring lakes and thermal pools. Among the most well-known bodies of water in the area, Lake Geneva borders France and Switzerland. The largest of all the lakes in the Alps and spanning 580 square kilometres, Lake Geneva boasts some of the most luxurious spas in the entire mountain range. Overlooking Lake Geneva is Evian-les-Bains, a historical spa town that’s world-famous for its mineral water. Also stunning and definitely worth a visit are Lake Garda, Lake Como, Lake Constance, and Lake Bled. Not only are the Alpine lakes great for spa resorts, they’re also perfect for adventure seekers as they provide a range of sporting activities, like paddle boarding and kayaking. With awe-inspiring scenery, fun water sports, and therapeutic spas, the lakes has a charm that appeals to everyone.  

Les Trois Vallees
This region in the Savoie area of southeast France is the world’s largest ski area in the world. Known as ‘the Three Valleys’, this breathtaking landscape has something for everyone. Thrill-seekers can enjoy the numerous winter sporting activities, ranging from skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, dog sledge riding, and more; whilst those who prefer a more relaxed vibe can take advantage of the thermal spa resorts. Les Trois Vallees can be enjoyed all year, with popular summer activities such as mountain biking, hiking, golf, fishing, etc. After exerting yourself with some sports, why not consider a leisurely stroll among the many picturesque towns on the slopes? The views in Le Trois Vallees are outstanding and there really is so much to take in. Regardless of what time of the year you’re planning on visiting though, you should make sure you check the snow forecast from pistepro.com so that you know what to expect and you can plan accordingly.

The Alps is an area of exceptional beauty and it can be quite overwhelming, especially for those who are visiting the area for the first time. With its incredible scenery, a range of sporting activities on offer, picturesque towns, and therapeutic lakes, the Alps has something for all tastes. 

Fatigue To Flaky Skin: 5 Signs You’re Lacking Iodine In Your Diet

Iodine is an essential mineral that your body can’t make by itself, so we must depend on food or supplements to get what we need. It plays an important role in the production of thyroid hormones, which are important for vital bodily processes such as metabolism. This is why low thyroid hormone levels often lead to problems such as low energy, constipation, and weight gain, to name a few. 

Many countries, such as the US and Canada, add iodine to their table salt to reduce problems associated with iodine deficiency. However, we don’t do this in the UK and the World Health Organisation now classifies the UK as seventh out of the ten most iodine-deficient nations in the world. 

Dr. Naomi Newman-Beinart is here to tell you all about the signs of iodine deficiency and what you can do about it.

Dry, flaky skin

Did you know that thyroid hormones can actually help your skin cells to regenerate? When people have an iodine deficiency, they often find that their skin is dry and flaky, and researchers believe that this may be due to low thyroid hormone levels. Taking a natural seaweed supplement is a great way to improve iodine deficiency and as an added bonus, seaweed also contains antioxidants which are well-known to help protect the skin from damage and fight signs of ageing.

Feeling cold all the time

Feeling cold is a common symptom of iodine deficiency. Iodine is required for the production of thyroxine, a thyroid hormone that helps to regulate your body temperature. If you don’t have enough thyroxine, you are more likely to feel cold even when you are doing all the right things to try and stay warm.

Swelling at the front of your neck

When you are deficient in iodine then your body can’t make enough thyroid hormones. When this happens, your thyroid starts to work overtime to make these vital hormones and this can result in overgrowth of the thyroid gland, which is at the front of your neck. This is called goiter. Luckily, if caught soon enough this can be reversed by supplementation. 

Weight gain

Over the years, I have come across many women who struggle with unexpected weight gain and weight that is really hard to shift, even when they are doing all of the right things. The reason iodine may be the culprit here is that thyroid hormones help to control your metabolism, helping convert what you eat into energy and heat. When you have low thyroid hormone levels, you burn less calories from your food, so more of those calories are stored as fat. 

Memory troubles

Did you know that being iodine deficient can affect your IQ? Scientists collated over 20 studies looking at the relationship between iodine status and IQ, and all of the studies found that a deficiency was associated with lower IQ. Research has also found that people with lower thyroid hormone levels performed less well on memory tasks than people with higher levels – fascinating stuff and an excellent reason to start thinking about adding seaweed to your daily diet. 

If you think you might be deficient, you can get this check by a doctor, or an online Q&A can tell you more about your iodine status. However, unless you include white fish and dairy as a normal part of your daily diet, you may wish to consider supplementing with some seaweed. Seaweed is something that more and more of us are starting to gradually add to our diets. It’s no longer surprising to see someone snacking on seaweed, adding it to a salad or choosing sushi for lunch. But many people aren’t aware that a key reason seaweed is beneficial for our health is due to its natural iodine content. I love Doctor Seaweed’s organic ‘Weed and Wonderful’ Hebridean Ascophyllum seaweed capsules. They contain only natural ingredients from food sources, providing natural nutrition in a much easier and more convenient way. Each capsule contains a similar amount of natural and safe iodine as you would expect to find in a portion of white fish.

READ MORE: Why Nutritionists Hail Seaweed As A Must-Have Beauty Food

5 Reasons Why Nutritionists Hail Seaweed As A Must-Have Beauty Food

7 Lovely Activities To Book To Celebrate Mother’s Day

Mother’s day is coming up on the 19th of March and it can be a different day for many people. To celebrate their mothers, step-mothers, adoptive mothers or aunties-who-feel-like-mothers… to honour friends who are mothers or soon-to-be mamas… to acknowledge your own motherhood journey. Or to reflect and remember a mother who is no longer with you on earth. Whatever Mother’s Day means to you, whether you feel like celebrating it or not, we thought we’d share a few lovely activities you can book to make a day of it, if you choose to. 

Visit the Beatrix Potter Exhibition at the V&A

The V&A always put on amazing exhibitions and for the last year or so, they’ve been celebrating the works of Beatrix Potter. Their “Drawn To Nature” exhibition was a huge success, although sadly now finished, but they’re continuing with the animal theme with an exhibition on Potter’s interest in Aesop’s animal fables. Plenty of her illustrations will be on display and it would make a lovely activity to do.

Indulge in The Berkeley’s famous Prêt-à-Portea Afternoon Tea

The Berkeley’s Prêt-à-Portea is renowned for its themed afternoon teas with their astonishingly beautiful selection of hand-decorated sweet treats. Afternoon tea in London just feels like a proper quintessential day out and would be perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth!

Treat mamas-to-be to Cowshed’s Full Body Care Treatment

Something for the mums-to-be… Cowshed is our absolute go-to for relaxing body treatments and their maternity menu is well-equipped with heavenly options for those who are pregnant. Spa treatments can often be tricky with a bump in tow but they’ve nailed their methods to give mamas the R&R they so desperately need (and deserve!). We love the Primrose Hill location or for a real baby-moon treat, head to Babington House where the very first Cowshed spa originated.

Learn to make Pasta with Pasta Evangelists 

If you like getting your hands messy and you’re a true foodie at heart then a pasta-making workshop is a great activity to do with your mum! Pasta Evangelists (who are famous for their letterbox pasta kits) host all sorts of pasta workshops so unleash your inner italian chef and learn to make some classic pasta dishes!

Bond over blooms at The Flower Appreciation Society

What really says “I love you”  more than flowers? Well… making your mum a bunch yourself! A floristry workshop is probably the perfect experience to treat your mum to and the bonus is you walk away with some gorgeous blooms that you created together. Check out The Flower Appreciation Society (we love the name!) to discover their seasonal courses.

Book a mani/pedi at Margaret Dabbs London

Treat your mum to the most indulgent mani-pedi at Margaret Dabbs London Clinic this Mother’s Day. Sit back and relax side-by-side in the spa clinic whilst the nail specialists beautify your tootsies with the Supreme Pedicure which harnesses optimal foot health using medical tools, complete with a hydrating exfoliation, a reviving soak and massage. The Supreme Manicure pays TLC to dry hands with a creamy scrub, hand and lower arm massage and treatment mask that will leave your hands reborn. Go matchy with your Mum with their range of colours!

A Weekend Getaway at Birch

If you’re craving a weekend break, Birch’s weekender package, has you sorted. You can book for Friday and Saturday night and get Sunday night for free on Birch. With the extra night, it allows you to settle into Sunday so you can make the most of your weekend. With a stay at Birch, guests can enjoy the array of cultural activities over Mother’s Day weekend such as pottery classes and focaccia bread making. Also, with the wellness activities to experience those zen moments, such as Forest Yoga, Gong Bath sound healing, fitness classes and more.

This Mother’s Day, Birch is running a special class called Self-Care for Mum. Self-Care for Mum entails a leading holistic life coach for women, and host of the popular Reconditioned podcast, Lauren Vaknine, will be hosting Self-Care for Mums in homage to the incredible beings that mothers are.

READ MORE: 12 Dreamy Retreats To Book This Spring

12 Dreamy Retreats To Book This Spring

The Cult Workout (Loved By Harry Styles) That Sculpts Like Nothing Else

The endless list of celebs that are hooked on Reformer Pilates has unravelled a cult workout that has swept the fitness industry… advocates include Harry Styles, Hailey Bieber, Adele and Kendall Jenner to name a few. Created by Joseph Pilates, the Reformer evolved as a way of helping wounded soldiers in World War 1 believe it or not. Attaching springs to beds enabled movement for the bedridden patients to rehabilitate and thus Reformer Pilates was born! Fast forward to 2023, the Reformer has been refined but the principles remain the same, facilitating flexibility, strengthening and lengthening. We got the inside scoop from the top Reformer Pilates experts to uncover their tips, from advice for first-timers, how it can help with injuries and what the magic formula is that makes it so effective (and addictive)!

Jessie Blum, Founder & CEO of Heartcore

How was Reformer Pilates brought about? 

Developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 1920’s, Reformer Pilates challenges you using spring resistance, providing a more demanding strength and endurance workout. In 2010, I developed the Coreformer, an adaptation of the traditional reformer with the aim of creating an enhanced workout experience for every shape and body type: it moves very smoothly and quietly, is super comfortable and allows for a wide range of movement. We manufacture the Coreformer in small batches to ensure each piece is solid, and made with care, attention to detail and love. When the Press referred to it as the “Rolls Royce of Reformers”, it made my day. 

What can newbies expect from a Reformer session?

At Heartcore, we are committed to bringing you a transformative mind-body workout every time you come to class. The Heartcore Method follows a certain flow which includes a variety of movements for a complete body workout, focusing on a larger range of motion and adding slightly more resistance than you may find in a traditional Pilates class.  We push you past your perceived boundaries to experience new heights of your physical and mental capabilities – whether you’re training for your next ironman or are just starting out on your wellbeing journey. With the positive, welcoming and encouraging support from our teaching team, the sound of great tunes and a beautiful community of like-minded people, your energy shifts naturally to “yes, I can and yes, I will”. That, for us, is the power of positive movement. 

So many rave about the unique benefits of Reformer Pilates, what makes it different to other forms of exercise?

Reformer Pilates works the entire body, using muscles you didn’t even know existed. The more controlled nature of movements activates our slow twitch muscle fibres which tend to make for a leaner physical appearance. And it is very core focused – initiating every move from our powerhouse with our breath. By being aware of our breath, we can deepen the connection between the mind and the body. We tap into each move and how it feels, working consciously into the full range of each motion, improving our strength, flexibility, coordination, balance and body awareness. 

The burn from Reformer is pretty intense! Are there any tips you have to push through the burn?

Focus on your breathing, take it slowly, and reset when you need to. Our workouts challenge you to dig deep and use your mental resilience, making it a transformative mind-body workout. You learn a lot about yourself on the Coreformer, it takes you on a journey of strength and possibility – physically, mentally and emotionally. 

Marsha Lindsay, Creative Director of Nobu Pilates

The Reformer itself can look quite daunting to those of haven’t used it before, what’s your advice for navigating your way around the kit?

I remember clearly the first time I saw the reformer and having the same feeling. Firstly, don’t try to figure it out by yourself. Have an experienced instructor to take you through the basics so you understand how to move and transition correctly. Secondly, it’s good to know from the beginning that springs are the best way to start your Pilates journey versus the mat work.

Certainly, starting any form of Pilates is going to be hugely beneficial to your body; practising both Mat and Equipment is important in the long run. However, I always encourage my first-time clients to immerse themselves into the reformer and apparatus to begin.

The springs are designed to build strength in the muscles, yet the resistance also provides support. The mat work can be the most challenging repertoire, as you are required to manage your bodyweight against gravity. The quickest progression is to use the spring work to understand how to recruit the correct connections, then challenge the body by taking the spring support away and seeing if you can achieve the movement independently. This being said, I’m not saying the reformer and equipment are easy!

What are the things to note when starting Reformer? (ie breathing techniques, slowing down the movement, core engagement)

It’s good to know that when creating the method, Joseph Pilates listed his 6 key principles to be Breathing, Concentration, Control, Precision, Centring and Flow. Working on using all 6 principles will massively improve your practice.

In our classes, we commit to honouring and delivering on all these themes to empower clients to be the master of their own bodies. With this knowledge and ability to move mindfully, it can be applied in all forms of workout to propel our client’s progress in any activity they do; whether in professional sport, recovering from injury or staying mobile for life.

Another component is understanding how to recruit the abdominals correctly. When asked to ‘switch on’ their abdominals, most new Pilates clients will tense, harden, and push their abdominal muscles, as if they are bracing.

In Pilates, we want to learn about using the lower abdominal muscles in all the movements providing greater support, connection, and strength. Your Pilates instructor will coach you through the correct way to scoop the lower abdominals ‘in and up’. 

Lastly, understanding that moving with the flow doesn’t necessarily mean rushing or using momentum. Moving through the exercises too quickly can affect form and create tension in the wrong muscle groups. Pilates is all about quality over quantity; ten repetitions with incorrect placement is a much greater value than twenty faster with incorrect form.

How many times a week would you recommend doing classes to get results?

I recommend 3 sessions per week to fully appreciate the benefits of Pilates. The most famous Joseph Pilates quote is “In 10 sessions you’ll feel the difference, in 20 sessions you’ll see the difference, and in 30 sessions you’ll have a whole new body”.

Most of us must battle numerous challenges whether trying to build strength in a certain muscle group to progress, rehabilitating an injury, or simply facing daily postural challenges in modern life. After doing one Pilates session, clients immediately feel great. However, they go back to their desks or resort to poor form which reverses the process. One session per week doesn’t cut it. Like anything worth doing, Pilates requires commitment and consistency to achieve long lasting strength and conditioning. The upside is once you start becoming accustomed to the movements, your muscle memory kicks in, and it becomes easier to maintain. It’s also super fun and addictive so why not add it to your weekly routine!

Reformer Pilates is renowned for its aesthetic appeal, what can you expect if you practise regularly?

It certainly is! The regular Pilates goer will develop great muscle tone and much better posture, allowing them to stand taller and straighter. The external results are a bonus.

What’s going on internally is just as important to highlight. Pilates is a full-body workout that promises to deliver the ultimate blend of strength, stability, and flexibility. Every session you will learn how to connect with deeper muscle groups to find balance in the body. It also brings awareness to better posture by taking a 360 view of your body’s alignment.

Matt Newman, Senior Trainer at Ten Health Fitness

Internally how does Reformer work the muscles?

Reformer Pilates allows the body to move through a full range of motion while using springs to load the muscles. Loading the muscles, and taking them to the point of fatigue, causes muscles to get stronger and more durable. Working the body through a full range of motion also helps to develop your flexibility, allowing your limbs and joints to be strong yet supple. Controlled strength training, like Reformer Pilates, is one of the most important things you can do to improve your physical health. Reformer Pilates is also well renowned for including many different exercises targeted at challenging the ‘core’. The core is sometimes a bit of a mystical term, but it essentially defines an interconnected group of the back, hip, and abdominal muscles (not just your stomach muscles, contrary to popular belief). Working on core strength has numerous benefits, like increasing athletic performance, improving coordination and balance, and reducing the risk of injury.

Who is Reformer Pilates suitable for?

Reformer Pilates can be suitable for everyone, of all ages, genders and fitness levels. Reformer Pilates is an effective form of low-impact resistance exercise, using a variety of springs to alter the tension and load of the movement. Because of this, Reformer Pilates is a very versatile form of exercise. With the wide and diverse selection of movements that are possible on a Reformer machine, sessions can be adapted to meet a wide variety of needs – whether that’s to create a very demanding workout for people who want to improve their fitness or to support those who are looking to rehabilitate an injury, or long-standing joint/muscular pain.

If you’re unsure whether Reformer Pilates is suitable for you, the best thing to do is speak to a qualified instructor, they can guide you towards the most suitable movements and level for you.

How does Reformer compliant other forms of exercise?

Due to the variety and range of movements, you can complete on a Reformer machine, Reformer Pilates can complement many other forms of exercise. If running is your thing, or you’re training for a marathon, Reformer Pilates can help develop the strength of your lower limbs. It can also strengthen the supporting muscles around the ankle, knee and hip joints, reducing your risk of injury.

If weight training is your exercise fix, then you can use Reformer Pilates to increase your strength and mobility in a greater range of motion, helping you improve your depth and form. Reformer Pilates can also help performance in exercise involving hand-eye coordination like netball, football, tennis and golf by improving balance and coordination, as well as developing your core strength.

Something important to note when pairing different forms of exercise together in a weekly programme is exercise intensity, rest and recovery. Reformer Pilates can be used as an intense workout, or as active recovery, depending on what class type you pick. The variety of Reformer Pilates is what makes it truly amazing.

How can Reformer help with ailments in the body such as joint pain?

Exercise has been proven to improve outcomes and help manage many different forms of clinical diagnosis; including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, menopause, and musculoskeletal conditions amongst them. 

According to a recent study, One in five people consults a GP about a musculoskeletal problem every year, with current estimates saying over 30% of people in the UK live with a musculoskeletal condition, such as joint problems or low back pain. Whilst low back pain can have many potential causes, where even sometimes the cause of the pain is unknown, it is well evidenced that regular physical activity can help relieve low back pain. Reformer Pilates helps strengthen the core muscles (back, hip, and abdominals) through multiple different directions and movements, which can contribute to reducing low back pain.

When looking at joint injuries and joint pain, like shoulder pain, the main aims of rehabilitation are to increase strength, endurance, stability and range of motion around the joint, alongside pain management. Reformer Pilates is proven to strengthen muscles and improve muscular endurance, using spring resistance to challenge and fatigue muscles. Also, a key component of Reformer Pilates is exercising across a full range of motion, helping gradually restore mobility around the affected joint. 

As well as building physical health, another important element of Reformer Pilates, and of all exercise, is improved mental health. Exercise helps release endorphins, reduce anxiety, and improve the understanding of physical outcomes, as well as the social interactions that people experience within Reformer Pilates classes and the wider Pilates community.

Whilst Reformer Pilates is perfectly safe and very beneficial, If you currently have a clinical diagnosis, it is always best to consult a medical professional before you start with any exercise programme.


Heartcore, Various Locations
Nobu Pilates, Marylebone
TEN Health & Fitness, Various Locations
Karve, Kensington
Core LDN, Sheen
Psycle, Oxford Circus
Exhale Pilates, Primrose Hill & North Finchley
Anthro-Contrology, Richmond

Spring Skin Prep: 6 Best Body Scrubs For Dry Skin

Winter often leaves the skin feeling tight, dehydrated, flaky, scaley and in serious need of some TLC. Spring is the perfect time to work in some skin-glowing prep to your existing beauty regime and holiday-ready skin always starts with a good body exfoliation. Body scrubs are a great way to remove that winter layer of dead, dry skin to reveal lusciously soft, glowing skin. Whether you want a body scrub for fake tan prep or you want to give your skin a bit of a pep-up, here are our top body scrubs for dry skin.

Cowshed Exfoliating Sea Salt Scrub

If anyone is going to do a good scrub it’s Cowshed. With many of their spas offering exfoliating treatments alongside their heavenly massage therapies, they’ve had many years of perfecting the art of smooth, baby-soft skin. Their classic exfoliating sea salt scrub is used in their spas so you can be sure you’re going to get a hard-working product that buffs away dead skin and leaves behind summer-ready limbs. We like to use this the day before a fake tan session as it really works well at making sure there’s not an inch of flake left on your skin. Nobody wants a patchy tan after all!

Oskia Renaissance Body Scrub

If you’re looking for your body scrub to pack a bit of an antioxidant, anti-ageing punch then Oskia’s Renaissance Body Scrub is the one to choose. Infused with vitamins, minerals, enzymes and omegas your skin will look plump, soft and visibly more youthful. It contains Pink Himalayan Salt for that buffing effect, Fermented Pumpkin Enzymes to give the glow, Vitamin E to restore the skin and protect against free-radical & environmental damage and Omega 6 in the form of Starflower Oil to provide firmness.

Kate Somerville Exfolikate Resurfacing Body Scrub

This body scrub tackles exfoliation with a triple-action formula! Combining a physical, chemical and enzymatic exfoliator Kate Somerville’s Exfolikate leaves no stone (or no flake should we say) unturned. Promising to tackle even the most stubborn of dry patches and pesky bumps that won’t seem to budge, don’t be fooled by its seemingly less gritty formula. It definitely packs a punch!

Ouai Scalp & Body Scrub

A beauty product that has multi purposes is always a winner… fewer products, less clutter and more room in your suitcase! Jen Atkin’s brand Ouai is a cult classic and this body scrub can be used on your body AND your scalp for a thorough detoxifying cleanse. Exfoliating sugar crystals are mixed with a nourishing blend of probiotics and coconut oil to leave the skin on your head and your body feeling smooth, clean and hydrated.

ilapothecary Quiet Start Body Scrub

The smell of this on its own is a good enough reason to purchase this body scrub from ilapothecary! If you like Ylang Ylang then you’ll love this. A classic sugar-based scrub, this is fantastic for the entire body but if you want to give yourself a pre-holiday pedicure then we love using this as a luxurious foot scrub to reveal super soft beach-ready tootsies. 

Weleda Birch Body Scrub

If you’re part of the sensitive skin club and want a gentler alternative to a rough body scrub that will still give your skin that desirable glow, then try Weleda’s Birch Body Scrub. Using natural beeswax pearls to gently lift away dead skin cells, this soothing, hydrating formula is perfect for sensitive areas and still feels moisturising and protective for the skin.

READ MORE: 8 Best Winter Facial Oils

We Visited Michelle Obama’s Fave Fitness Retreat… The Ranch

Medical-grade wellness programmes have rippled into luxury travel destinations and resorts, but none of them does it quite like The Ranch. Coined by Michelle Obama as her ‘favourite fitness retreat’ The Ranch in Malibu, LA, has been a success to say the least, managing to bag A-Listers, including the ex-First Lady herself, as recurring clients.

The Ranch Italy has taken space at the decadent Palazzo Figgui, decked in 18th-century classical Italian charm. A far cry from formulaic medical settings, The Ranch has grasped that, yes, we want the best of the best when it comes to our health but we want it in style. Halting character and class, Palazzo Figgui has been operating as a hotelier since 1913 and still houses regular guests alongside The Ranch retreaters, albeit in its own separate space. The Palazzo is a quintessential hotel that specialises in medical wellness, so although The Ranchers are kept separately in communal areas, all the guests under the roof are there for aligned purposes. There’s no indulgent food or wine being ushered around to taunt you! 

It’s clear that The Ranch has set up shop in this specific venue for a multitude of reasons. Yes, it’s an incredibly lavish hotel, and yes there are ultra high-tech services at your disposal, but ultimately it’s what goes on outside the hotel that makes it so worthwhile, and technology nor grand interiors have a role to play here. Utilising the great outdoors, Figgui has endless hiking trails on its doorstep, making it the perfect match to align with The Ranch’s philosophy.

In a nutshell, The Ranch is a transformative wellbeing retreat with hiking at the heart of it. Founders, Alex and Sue Glasscock repurposed their acres of land in Malibu to curate this magic formula that we now know as The Ranch. The programme is cemented in the core values; to encourage Ranchers to go off-grid, disconnect from the outside world for a few days to reconnect with themselves, challenge themselves within their own limits, always give it their best shot, asking for help is not a sign of weakness and be mindful of how you’re feeling at every step of the way.

Pre-Ranch and I mean about 3 months prior, I received a detailed document, with a thorough packing list of hiking gear (none of which I owned) and a guide to prep myself. No booze, not much of an issue given the lead-up was January and no sugar, much more problematic with the sweet tooth I have little control over sometimes! There are also hiking leg workouts to follow to get you physically ready, that, I wasn’t too concerned about deeming myself pretty active but this was definitely a faux pas on my behalf. Put me in a Barry’s studio no problem but hiking for 4 hours is a completely different story. The stamina required is a different ball game, it’s long, it’s tiresome but indeed, rewarding and uplifting…more on that later down the line. So, hiking gear packed, I headed to Rome, then onto the rural town of Fiuggi, for a much need hiatus from city life.

Giving you a flavour of what’s in store, the programme commenced with an orientating, led by manager, Livia, laying out the ground rules and schedule for the next 4 days. From the offset, I was impressed, albeit a bit nervous. A wake-up call at 6am, a mere calorie count of 1400 per day and fitness sessions followed by yoga each afternoon…what on earth had I got myself into? Livia then followed on to add that we’d be having a daily massage and then proceeded to give us the grand tour of the Palazzo Figgui and all its state-of-the-art facilities, including a gym with the most high-tech machinery I’ve ever seen and the spa which again enthralled with its various hot-cold therapy hydra pools and infrared saunas….my faith was slightly restored.

It’s clear that all Ranchers are here with a specific goal in mind, whether it be weight loss, increase fitness level or a complete reset from the hectic lifestyles we tend to lead. Nobody is simply here on a vacation, this is a journey of self-discovery and finding self-discipline.

The execution of The Ranch is stellar, blending their signature ethos with Italian culture woven in subtlety. It’s clear that the Californian influence and philosophy are there, yet there are also European elements present that make the whole experience slightly more mellow, for example, they’re more than happy to give you a little more food if you desire, and you won’t be penalised for missing a class.

Day 1, the wake-up call was a bit of a rude awakening but a quick splash of water on my face and I was ready to go. Easing you in, the morning commenced with a bout of stretching. A slice of seed bread with a generous dollop of nut butter and jam later we were out the door en route to the hike start point. Boots strapped, Camelbak on, Apple watch set and I was ready to roll.

From the get-go, The Ranch team urge you to take the hikes at your own pace. You hike for time, not distance which is a key element which makes the Ranch very inclusive. Little red flags map out your route, so if you find yourself alone in nature you won’t get lost. Each Rancher has their own walkie-talkie and updates will be projected throughout the hikes… info about the scenery, to signal you’re lost if necessary and the team’s favourite, drink water, water, water! What I learnt firsthand is that the right gear is essential, you have to get the number of layers right, the shoes must be comfortable and everything must be easily accessible, the more you stop to faff around the more you begin to get frustrated. 

The hikes send you into another dimension where you lose track of time. One foot in front of the other, staying alert in your body to tackle the terrains yet freeing your mind from the constant narrative that we never seem to be able to switch off. Marvelling at the views as you cross different terrains, there are ups and downs that will creep up on you. At points you’ll be totally breezing it, elated by the beauty that surrounds you. At other times, it feels never ending and your feet are beginning to tap out. It’s a journey, to say the least. The hiking routes switch up daily, meaning each day brings new challenges. Racking up elevation gains, crossing snow-filled forests and climbing rugged mountains are all things you’ll tick off the list. Inevitably, the hike stints will take their toll on your body, so the daily massage is welcomingly necessary.

The afternoons are filled with a strength session which focuses on the upper body and core, avoiding lower body (for obvious reasons). The restorative yoga class comes as a tonic to soothe tired, aching muscles from the aftermath of the morning hikes. Apart from these two sessions and of course, the much-needed massage, the afternoons are leisure time to enjoy the facilities or quite frankly lie horizontal and just chill out.

Food is an integral component of The Ranch philosophy. The thought of 1400 calories per day can seem daunting off the bat, but ultimately it is a weight loss programme and the calorie deficit is essential to ensure guests get the desired outcome. Adequately, I can assure you that you will not starve, far from it, you’ll be satisfied and delighted to see what each day’s menu brings! The Ranch has taken a plant-based approach to food, paying close attention to the quality of the produce they use. With that in mind, menus are constantly changing to adjust to what is in season. Luckily Italy boasts copious amounts of abundant fruit, vegetables and legumes which make up the creative dishes that are laid out pristinely each mealtime. Palazzo Figgui’s Michelin star chefs have been trained by The Ranch Malibu chefs to do their utmost to follow their food philosophy to a T. Everything you’ll put in your mouth, down to the nut milk is made on-site with absolutely no refined sugar or preservatives. Following the slow food movement that has gained momentum in Italy, The Ranch tries its best to adopt the ‘zero-kilometre’ concept. The coined Italian phrase essentially means the food has not travelled far or more literally it hasn’t travelled at all!

Breakfast fuel is always hearty, varying from homemade seed bread, granola topped with seeds and berries, courgette banana muffins and buckwheat oatmeal. To keep energy levels high throughout the hike, you’re given a snack of either fruit or nuts to stash in your rucksack. Lunch is served post-hike at 1pm sharp, as evidently, you’ll be ravishing by that point. The myriad of dishes includes quinoa and pickled veg over a bed of turmeric hummus, black rice with a mix of grilled veggies and crispy chickpeas and lentil soup served with corn focaccia for dipping. An afternoon pick-me-up is dished out around 4pm, popcorn, oat cookies or cacao energy bites are some I was treated to during my stay…the little sweet kick was exactly what the doctor ordered! Dinner is served at 7pm each day, by which point everyone is pretty lethargic. This is the meal the chefs really flex their culinary skills and put an Italian spin on The Ranch’s signature recipes. A twist on Parmigiana brings together fresh basil pesto, macadamia ricotta and rich marinara sauce between layers of grilled aubergine. Another note-worthy favourite of the group was the ‘pizza’ made with a cauliflower base. Palazzo Figgui’s fresh tea blends are laid out in the living space for guests to brew at any time, along with a selection of pukka teas for a nightcap!

The spa at Palazzo Figgui will blow your socks off. Dorned as the mecca of health for the healing mineral water that has run through this region of Italy for centuries, it was innate that Palazzo Figgui went down the wellness route. The foundation of life, which filters through the health-enriching water, takes centre stage as you enter the spa. Guests are advised to drink with caution due to the detoxifying qualities, starting with 1 cup per day and gradually increasing. Features include an indoor to outdoor pool, salt room, infrared sauna, Swedish sauna, Turkish bath, plunge pool and the place I retreated to most, the Walking Kneipp, a hot-cold therapy hydra pool that you circuit around to aid recovery on the lower body.

Transforming your overall health and improving longevity is at the forefront of the programme, and to measure this, vital parameters, blood panelling, urinalysis, weight and waist measurements take place at the beginning of your stay. Specialised doctors will run through your blood work results, outlining the finding and recommending supplements that will boost areas you’re lacking in. This is also an opportunity to ask any questions about your health and any issues you’re particularly struggling with, which is not something we often get to do, I really used this time to pick his brains about my eczema which I’ve struggled with for countless years. The doctor recommended I take a cycle of supplements that will cleanse my body from any heavy metals as from what I told him, he gathered it was highly likely I was allergic to nickel. I’ve been to the GP about my eczema too many times to count and the outcome has always been steroid creams that thin my skin and only solve the issue whilst I’m using the medication, the second I stop, it’s back. This was a complete revelation for me and I’m looking forward to seeing how the heavy metal cleanse delivers! To conclude the programme, a 2nd weigh-in and waist measurement is taken as a comparison. Over just 4 days, I was apprehensive that any change would show but to my surprise, this short period did deliver results on both fronts.

Casting my mind back to the first day, my thoughts were, just get through this, it’s only 4 days. Leaving I felt completely different, I didn’t want to leave. The Ranch is so much more than a results-oriented fitness program, it’s a chance to reset completely and utterly from the outside world and reenter a better version of yourself. It’s a lesson that great things come from stepping outside of your comfort zone. Hiking is both a physical and mental challenge that is so inclusive, you don’t have to be super athletic and breaking any records is not on the agenda. It’s a chance to be alone with your thoughts, with interludes of conversations with like-minded individuals to push you along the way. As Ranchers, you’re all on the same journey, the destination will differ but, with the nurturing support of the incredible team, there’s no doubt that you’ll find what you came searching for at The Ranch.

The Ranch Italy offers 4-night and 8-night stays, to learn more visit theranchmalibu.com

words by Isabelle Shury

Sadie’s February Wellness Must-Haves

This February, as I do every February, I am turning another year older. So with that in mind I wanted to dedicate this Wellness Must-Have feature to all things FACE. As I get ever-deeper into my late thirties, I tend to spend a lot more time thinking about wrinkles, dehydration and collagen! Gone are the days when I could sunbathe SPF-free (ok – I know that I should never have done this but I did and now I am paying for it!) and instead it’s all about taking skin supplements, applying serum religiously and wearing sunscreen even when it’s cloudy! Here is my round-up of face-saving, skin-loving techniques, tricks, tools and treatments… Happy Birthday Me!

The Better Aging App


I met Carme the Founder of Facetoned one day and honestly could NOT believe how great she looked. I was still in my early thirties when I met her though and so it took me a few years to download her app and become an avid follower of her techniques. Using a gua sha or just her hands, Carme’s App, Facetoned, takes you through short videos where you copy quick techniques that actually tone the muscles in your face – making your appearance so much more youthful. Just like muscles in a body we need to work our faces too – think Pilates but for your face.

The Facial

The Lanesborough Royal Fern Facial

If you like your facials with an equal dose of relaxing massage and effective anti-ageing techniques then the new Royal Fern Facial at The Lanesborough could be right up your street. Starting with a lovely lymphatic drainage massage, the therapist will work away at helping any facial tension to melt away. This is then followed by some EMS facial tools to help lift and sculpt the muscles – encouraging a youthful, sculpted, and firmer appearance. The facial, created in partnership with Royal Fern – a revolutionary plant-based discovery in skincare founded by world-renowned dermatologist, Dr. Timm Golueke, the skincare brand harnesses the antioxidative powers of the fern plant.

The Face Mask

Makanai 24k Gold Perfector Sheet

Japanese skincare brand, MAKANAI harnesses century-old traditions to create fresh, enriching and luxurious products. Based on botanical wisdom, the indulgent ingredients include a cult-skincare favourite, gold flakes, that have healing and youth promoting properties – plus they make for a great Instagram selfie. 

The Face Oil

By Sarah London Daily Vitamin C Booster

The ultimate glow-getter – this facial oil genuinely makes my face look better instantly. I have pretty dry skin and this does a brilliant job of making it appear dewy and fresh. I apply it on top of my normal serum and moisturiser in the morning. I can’t recommend it enough!

The Face Tool

FOREO ESPADA Blue Light Acne Treatment Device

This clever little device uses blue light pulse technology to eliminate bacteria and stop spots in their tracks. It’s also great for promoting healing. I am a real picker (don’t judge me – I already judge myself enough!).


“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them”

– Walt Disney.

Beauty Editor’s Fab 5 + The New Glow-Giving Treatment To Book

Keeping up with the beauty world is no easy feat, but thanks to our resident beauty expert Frankie, you can keep your finger on the pulse of what’s hot in the world of skincare, makeup, body care and beyond. From product picks to expert tips and the ultimate treatments to try, Hip & Healthy has you covered. This month Frankie shares her beauty “Fab 5”, the secret to making your scent last longer and a new glow-giving treatment to book.

REN ‘Perfect Canvas Smooth, Prep & Plump Essence’ – £43

Powered by bio-fermented ingredients to protect against pollution and instantly plump skin, REN’s new essence is the product you never knew you needed. Used on freshly cleansed skin before your serums and creams, it not only helps the skin absorb your products better, but it even strengthens the skin’s barrier and boosts moisture levels. So, when it comes to smoother, plumper, healthier skin, this essence is, well, essential.

Wildsmith Skin ‘Stillness Shower Oil’ – £38

If you’re looking for the ultimate way to wind down after your day, look no further than Wildsmith Skin’s ‘Stillness Shower Oil’. Boasting a blissful all-natural fragrance of chamomile, lavender, and rose geranium, which works in sync with our circadian rhythm, it helps you de-stress and sleep better. All while its antioxidant-rich, anti-inflammatory oils deeply nourish skin, working with emulsifiers to dissolve and rinse away dirt and dead cells. Dream.

Grace Cole ‘White Nectarine & Pear Fragrant Diffuser’ – £30

Transport yourself to a blossoming fruit orchard with Grace Cole’s gorgeous ‘White Nectarine & Pear’ diffuser. A vibrant, juicy blend of English pear and sweet nectarine balanced with delicate floral notes of rose and lily, it’s the perfect way to bring a splash of sunshine into your home no matter the weather. Handmade in England, each diffuser has been created just so to ensure each reed carries the perfect amount of fragranced oil – ensuring maximum freshness for up to 12 weeks. 

BELLA ‘Wanderlash Mascara’ – £28

A mascara that lifts, curls, defines and thickens for an instant false lash effect, that’s packed full of active ingredients to nourish and protect, and that supports mental health charities with each sale? It may sound too good to be true, but BELLA’s ‘Wanderlash Mascara’ is the definition of a magic wand. Three years in the making, this vegan, cruelty-free lash lover is causing a serious stir thanks to its revolutionary formula (which shuns over 30 nasties) that coats lashes in rich, jet-black pigments for the most incredible volumising effect. In three words? Move over falsies.

Ouai ‘Heat Protection Spray’ – £24

If there’s one hair product I genuinely can’t live without, it’s this. Previously known as Ouai’s ‘Memory Mist’, the ‘Heat Protection Spray’ boasts the same powerhouse formula and delicate floral scent but has undergone a name change. Not only does it shield strands from heat styling (protecting up to a whopping 232 degrees Celsius), but it also uses advanced memory polymer technology to help set your style and keep it in place. All while boosting shine. Yes, ouai


Choosing between a massage and a facial is never easy (or fair), which is just one of the reasons why Bamford’s new ‘Detox & Glow’ treatment ticks all the beauty boxes. All about relieving tension, boosting circulation, clearing skin, and giving you back your glow, in just 60 minutes you’ll be totally transformed. First, your back is treated to a dry body brush and a blissful massage to rid you of tension and impurities before your face enjoys an express fruit-enzyme packed resurfacing facial to give you a glow JLo would be proud of. Not forgetting the tummy massage to promote gut health and better digestion, of course. All in Bamford’s stunning spa space. Like I said, dreamy. 
For more information and bookings, click here.


“There are many ways to layer fragrance and make it last longer. Try a scented body crème first, layered with your fragrance of choice and then topped up with your favourite Jo Loves ‘Fragrance Paintbrush’ whilst on the go; this always has a long-lasting impact”, recommends fragrance queen Jo Malone. “Also, never rub your skin together when putting on a fragrance – let it dry freely as it can sometimes break down the fragrance molecules and dull the scent.”
Try the Jo Loves ‘White Rose & Lemon Leaves Fragrance Paintbrush’ – the perfect portable (and romantic) perfume. £40.

words by Frankie Rozwadowska

Vitality and American Express® Have Revealed That THIS Is The Fittest City In The UK


Although traditionally a New Year thing, we believe here at Hip & Healthy, that goal-setting is not just for January. As we enter the second month of the year we love making little changes that will have a big positive impact. As Founder of Hip and Healthy, I often get asked how I stay motivated to eat well and move my body regularly and a big thing for me this year is to meditate more and take care of my mental health as well as my body. 

This is why I was so excited to read a new study1 from the Vitality American Express Credit Card, which reveals the different ways that Brits up and down the country are looking after their minds and bodies. Plus, it was fascinating to see who earned the title as the fittest city in the UK via the UK cashback map, and just what it is that gets us all working up a sweat with a smile on our face. For nearly half of those asked (46%), that’s earning cashback, and with the Vitality American Express Credit Card, you can earn cashback on the exercise you already do, so however you’re choosing to work on your wellbeing this year, your finances can get a healthy boost too. Find out how much cashback you could earn with the cashback calculator and join the rest of the country to improve your physical and financial fitness!

Turn Your Steps into Sterling 

This year, hitting your health and wellbeing goals won’t just boost your personal health but your financial health, too. With the Vitality American Express Credit Card, you can turn the exercise you already enjoy into cashback in your pocket. Vitality American Express Cardmembers earn 0.5% cashback on spend up to £10,000, then 1% after that – while new Cardmembers earn a further £100 cashback for spending £2,000 in the first three months of Cardmembership. Cardmembers can also earn an extra £10 cashback monthly with the Vitality Cashback Booster tracking monthly activity points with Vitality before converting them into additional cashback. Assuming an average spend of £1,000 a month, this means a new Cardmember, exercising regularly, could earn up to £290 cashback in their first year.2 If Cardmembers have more than one qualifying Vitality insurance plan, they can double their Vitality Cashback Booster and can earn up to an additional £20 monthly. 

The Vitality American Express Card has a representative 40.0% APR variable. 18+ Terms apply.

Walk Your Way to Wellbeing

The research showed that we are a nation of walkers, with 34% naming hiking as one of their favourite ways to exercise. Respondents took an average of 7,550 steps a day with a third (33%) choosing to exercise in rural areas. Gym workouts take the silver medal for most popular exercise activities; 1 in 5 (20%) UK adults listed gym workouts as one of their top ways to workout. Leeds loves the gym the most; 82% of gym-goers in Leeds visit their gym twice a week, with 9% going every day. But it was Manchester that took pole position as the UK’s fittest city with over a quarter of adults (26%) in Manchester exercising 4-5 times per week, followed by Edinburgh (23%).

When it comes to motivation for staying fit, almost half of surveyed Brits (46%) agree that earning cashback (for example getting money credited to their bank or credit card) would encourage them to exercise more. Vitality American Express Cardmembers can earn cashback linked to how active they are. They can earn up to an additional £10 cashback monthly with the Vitality Cashback Booster, which tracks monthly activity points with Vitality before converting them into cashback.

The UK’s Most Mindful City

The same research from the Vitality American Express Credit Card found that London is the UK’s most mindful city, with 70% of its respondents saying that they practice mindfulness activities. Listening to music (34%) is the preferred way to practice mindfulness in the capital, but breathing (21%), yoga (20%) and mindful walking (16%) were also popular. It appears that most of the UK though has its head in the right place when it comes to working out, as caring for mental health is a key reason why Brits exercise. Amongst respondents that exercise, almost half (46%) cite improving their mental health as a reason for exercising. 

Check out the Vitality American Express Cashback Map to find out what different cities are doing to gain points and earn cashback. You can also try out the Vitality American Express Cashback Calculator to find out how much cashback you could earn from your day-to-day exercise habits.
And finally, visit the American Express website to discover where your points could take you if you are a Vitality member and apply for a Vitality American Express Credit Card.

Ts & Cs

Each month, Vitality will take your month’s activity points and convert them to a healthy cashback booster rate, which is then applied in addition to your standard Amex cashback rate, on the first £1,000 of purchases per month. Your Vitality healthy Cashback Booster earn rate will be determined on your monthly activity points earned two months prior. Any cashback earned will be paid annually. 

The Vitality American Express Credit Card has a representative 40.0% APR variable. 18+ Terms Apply. To be eligible for the Vitality American Express Credit Card you must be an existing Vitality planholder and have qualifying plans. To find out how you can become a Vitality member click here. Subject to minimum spend, eligibility criteria and approval. 

Visit www.vitality.co.uk/rewards/partners/ for terms and conditions. 

Representative APR is correct as at 08/03/2023. Interest rates link to the Bank of England base rate. See amex.co.uk for details. Vitality Corporate Services Limited acts as a credit broker. Exclusive lender is American Express Services Europe Limited. American Express Services Europe Limited has its registered office at Belgrave House, 76 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 9AX, United Kingdom. It is registered in England and Wales with Company Number 1833139 and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

1 All data is based on Omnibus research conducted by Opinium. 2000 UK adults were surveyed between 4 November and 8 November 2022.
2 Based on a qualifying Health or Life Plan with a monthly maximum spend of £1,000 and an adult member earning at least 160 Vitality activity points per month.

Hip & Healthy Guide To Chelsea

Chelsea has to be crowned London’s chicest neighbourhood, so it’s no surprise that there’s an abundance of wellness hotspots around every corner. Wellness hubs, beauty salons, luxe hotels, trendy fitness studios and healthy restaurants line the streets with big names and independent businesses proving themselves worthy of a spot in Chelsea. Here’s our very on H&H-approved guide to Chelsea!


The Organic Pharmacy

Bringing homoeopathy into the modern era, The Organic Pharmacy’s flagship store and spa on Cadogan Gardens offers a range of health and beauty treatments that harness the brand’s two decades of knowledge. The scope of treatments ranges from pampering facials and massages to in-depth clinical lead health consultations. Technology plays an integral role in many of the treatments, boosting the effectiveness to maximise results. Fusing the worlds of holistic and scientific, The Organic Pharmacy’s treatments bring in aspects of both sides, and the experience they’ve acquired after years of working with people to achieve equilibrium in the mind and body.  Striking the balance between clinical and high-end, the store and spa is a tranquil setting. The product range has grown to cover supplements, skincare, body care and make-up. One of the best sellers that the friendly staff are more than happy to talk you through is the 10-Day Detox Kit which we should do once a year to recalibrate the body. Whether it’s rejuvenated skin, body contouring, non-surgical lifting, food intolerance testing or getting to the root cause of health issues, The Organic Pharmacy is essentially the place to visit for a full health MOT!


With its heritage deeply rooted in traditional Malaysian spa rituals, Ushavani Spa is the hidden gem in Cadogan Gardens. From the outside, the spa simply appears to be a townhouse but once you step inside you’ll be transported to a Malaysian sanctuary dedicated to wellbeing. Upon entering the exclusive space, your journey begins by removing your shoes and cleansing your hands with a lemon and ginger-infused towel, setting the tone for the experience. Pre-treatment, indulge in some ‘you-time’ using the spa facilities. The restorative therapies on offer capture the essence of ancient Asian culture that focuses on spiritual harmony through holistic treatments. As standard, all treatments are a minimum of 90 minutes as Ushvani’s philosophy believes this is the time required to fully unwind. Designed to assist with sleeping difficulties and enhance immune responses, massage therapies commence with grounding guided meditation and breathing exercises. The treatments incorporate Reflexology points to induce a deeper state of calm, with the use of pure botanicals to cure ailments, commonly used in Asian therapies. Post-treatment your therapist will prepare you a hibiscus tea which you can sip on at leisure in the tea room, as you slowly come back to your body after what can only be described as a spiritually uplifting spa experience.

Duck & Dry

There’s no better place for a blowout than Duck & Dry’s original salon in the heart of Chelsea, on King’s Road. The experience is always seamless, from the uber-cool styling pods, prosecco bar and friendly stylists that nail the perfect bouncy blow-dry every time. The concept is simple and effective, you choose your ‘look’ and they work their magic…you leave feeling like a new woman! Duck & Dry also create up-do’s if you’re looking for something fancy for an event. A self-care ritual that never disappoints Duck & Dry’s blowdry bars are the quick fix to feeling your best!

Bamford Wellness Spa

The little sister to the Bamford Cotswolds Spa, the Brompton Cross location offers Londoner’s a city escape. Built on three pillars; Move, Breathe and Heal, the holistic wellness space brings the essence of nature through the Bamford products which harness pure restorative ingredients inspired by the natural surroundings of the Cotswolds. Across three floors you’ll find the shop space showcasing the clothing, body and skin care collections, treatment rooms where holistic therapies take place and a skylit studio a tranquil sanctuary for gentle movement and meditation sessions. This little pocket of calm in a hectic oasis is designed to reclaim harmony and balance to your wellbeing, whether you take part in a restorative class, indulge in a treatment, sip a calming tea infusion or browse the range.

KXU Medical Spa Clinic

You may know KXU for its fitness classes (we’ll come to that later) but down in the basement, you’ll find the Medi-Spa which focuses on performance-led, effective treatments delivered in the luxe surroundings of the premium wellness hub on Pavillion Road. If you’re looking to get more out of your treatments, this is the place to book, from body remodelling, exilis, cool sculpting, massages, beauty, skincare, rehab…the list goes on! KXU has acquired London’s finest therapists to deliver the treatments, with a depth of skill and expertise, they’re experts in their specific fields, hence the reputation the medi-spa has retained for the effectiveness of their treatments. The Hadda Facial in particular is a good place to start, named after the facialist herself, this treatment is a workout for your face using a combination of ancient beauty rituals such as Gua Sha and reflexology to lift and sculpt. Softly spoken, Hadda has a relaxing aura which sets you at ease, but her hands are the magical tool which amplifies this treatment. The variety of treatments offered at KXU will amaze the most seasoned beauty advocates, with medical, tech-led therapies at one end and holistic practices at the other, as well as everything imaginable in-between.


Sloane Place

In a prime spot with all the wellness hubs dotted within walking distance, Sloane Place is the perfect spot to rest your head. In the hotel, you’ll find a restaurant serving up British-Javanese fusion food, a roof terrace and a hideaway, along with a range of bedrooms from cosy rooms to suites. The boutique hotel takes the shape of a grand townhouse on Lower Sloane Street with easy access to Sloane Square, Duke of York Square, Kings Road and Pavillion Road. Epitomising relaxed elegance in a contemporary style, the hotel ticks all the boxes for what you’re looking for in a city break stay, with thoughtfully designed bedrooms, Molton Brown toiletries and extremely comfy beds! 

Beaverbrook Townhouse

The little sister of the acclaimed hotelier Beaverbrook, the Townhouse brings the quintessentially British charm from Surrey to Chelsea! The 14-suite Georgian townhouse pays homage to London’s historic performing arts scene, bringing design flare that represents various renowned theatres. Expect sumptuous beds, generous bathrooms, lavish food, sublime cocktails and good old-fashioned hospitality. The vibrant colour palette has been eloquently injected into furnishing, feature walls and artwork to give a bold yet timeless interior aesthetic. If you’re looking to splash out on a city stay, the Beaverbrook Townhouse is the plush choice to book for guaranteed R&R.



KXU, the pay-as-you-go boutique fitness hub is your best bet for an endorphin-boosting sweat in Chelsea. Enter through the palm trees into the reception area and cafe, providing all the post-workout fuel you need to enjoy there or to go. The multifaceted studio covers cycling, yoga and barre in the basement, plus strength and conditioning and cardio upstairs. KXU’s signature mash-up of strength and cardio classes gives you the best of both worlds, using all the kit from treadmills, dumbbells, kettlebells, and even an enormous tyre features often. The changing rooms have a rose-gold finish, adding to KXU’s premium presentation. Finish your workout with a cryotherapy blast or an infrared sauna to complement your training!


Tucked just behind King’s Road, the Heartcore Chelsea studio is giving NYC loft vibes and might just be our favourite studio out of them all. Gurus in creating the ultimate sculpting formula in the form of Reformer Pilates, the Heartcore Method gives an unforgettable burn that will have you hooked! The feature wall with quirky artwork scattered all over makes for great focal points whilst you grit your teeth through the reps. This is definitely one of Heartcore’s biggest studios, which is good news as more Reformers means more chances to get a spot, the booking slots get snapped up pretty quickly for obvious reasons. 

Vita Boutique Fitness

Fusing Pilates, barre, yoga and strength training in one beautiful townhouse in the heart of Sloane Square, Vita Boutique Fitness is one to visit if you’re into low-impact, highly effective workouts that will tone, lengthen and strengthen. The reformer sessions prove popular, run by Vita’s expert instructors who will flow you through a number of techniques that you’re likely to have never done before. The grab and glow cafe gives a healthy take on tea and cake, with refined sugar-free and herbal health-enhancing brews to enjoy in or take away.

Stretch LAB

StretchLAB’s third studio to open in London is on Draycott Avenue. Offering 1-on-1 assisted dynamic stretching, their Stretchologists carry out the certified proprietary stretch method for a much-needed, albeit gruelling, 50-minute session. Taking place on a therapy bed, the Stretchologists will ease you into all sorts of shapes and angles, getting deep into muscles and joints in a way you’d never achieve alone. StretchLAB aims to counteract damage and prevent potential damage, as well as help recover from intense physical activity. Welcome to everybody from gym-goers with achy muscles to office workers with bad posture and everyone in between, StretchLAB works on your personal ailments to improve movement health, leaving you fully stretched out!


London’s cult boxing club, KOBOX has a studio in a prime underground spot on King’s Road. Renowned for its distinctive fight club meets nightclub finesse, KOBOX sessions guarantee 50 minutes of high-intensity escapism, where you can let loose on the bag! Each class is split equally between the bag and the wall, whereby you’ll work on boxing combos alongside strength-based exercises targeting a specific group of muscles on different days of the week.


Standing the test of time, KX is the exclusive health and fitness members club on Draycott Avenue, which houses a state-of-the-art gym, spa and health-led restaurant all rolled into one! Jam-packed with the best equipment money can buy, KX’s studio has everything you need for a hardcore workout. If classes are your thing, the extensive timetable includes dance, cardio conditioning, indoor cycling, resistance conditioning, yoga, barre, Pilates and reformer Pilates. Open to both members and non-members alike, the spa employs some of the industry’s most advanced practitioners that specialise in cutting-edge beauty treatments. Giving their members a seamless experience from start to finish, everything is at your fingertips, from the chockablock timetable of classes to the fully equipped changing rooms, with robes, REN body and skincare products, a menu of healthy post-workout fuel and even a laundry service, so your gym kit is freshly pressed for your next visit. 



Split into a health-led café and a fitness studio, Volonté is a great little spot for a workout or a nutritious meal…or both! Upstairs you’ll find the Volonté Café, a beautifully designed space to enjoy nutrient-dense dishes from breakfast through to early dinner The well-balanced menu features smoothies, breakfast, balance bowls, wraps, sandwiches and more! Downstairs is the Volonte Energy Studio, run by master trainer Haylene. The signature class U360 is a full body session following a bespoke principle of; move, work, restore. The intimate setting means clients really do get the most out of each session, developing technique and form on strength exercises and increasing cardio capacity work rate.


This hidden gem on Walton Street is an independent, family-owned deli and kitchen with plenty of healthy options to choose from. Greenspears is passionate about using responsibly sourced seasonal British food inspiring locals to dine consciously in the beautiful cafe-come-deli! The creative menu is bursting with brunch classics, egg dishes, healthy bowls, vibrant light bites and sweet treats. Greeted by courteous staff, Greenspears has an organic charm that remains wholesome in a very shiny world of sicky pink cafes. The food matches the vibe…nutritious and delicious with something to tickle everyone’s taste buds.

The Good Life Eatery

One of the first places that showed us that healthy eating was cool, Good life Eatery have stuck to its core values for over a decade. The Chelsea cafe on Sloane Avenue serves superfood salads, wraps, bowls, sweet dishes and a variety of avo toast, all with a health kick! The cold-pressed juices and smoothies are noteworthy, jam-packed with vitamins, enzymes and trace minerals they are smooth and zingy…ideal to cram in the fruit and veg in the most delicious way. Whether you choose to grab and go or dine in, The Good Life Eatery is always a stellar choice for a nutrient-dense lunch.


Daylesford has been a H&H fave for well over a decade. Whether it’s for lunch, a browse at the farmhouse-style homeware, picking up some groceries or stock up on their health products, we can always find a reason to end up at Daylesford. Replenished every morning with fresh produce delivery from the organic Cotswolds farm, you can find artisan bread and pastries, seasonal fruit and vegetables, pasture-raised meat, fresh fish and cheeses, along with ready-to-cook meals and soups, pantry essentials and organic wines in the Farmshop. The grab-and-go selection includes salads, toasties and quiches, freshly made each morning by the chefs plus barista-crafted coffee and smoothies. Upstairs, the cafe serves from breakfast through to supper, to enjoy and eat in. Daylesford’s whole ethos is built on sustainability long before it was trendy, so align with that, the menu follows the rhythm of the seasons with daily-changing specials based on what’s just been picked from the market garden.

Wulf & Lamb

Putting a purely plant-based spin on traditional dishes, Wulf & Lamb’s all-day restaurant on Pavilion Road is a great pit-stop to refuel with plant-powered goodness. The menu has been crafted to satisfy your craving for comfort food, demonstrating that vegan food doesn’t have to be all restrictive or boring. Highlights from the menu include the hearty chilli non carne, made with spiced mushrooms, lentils and kidney beans and the “fish” burger, made using banana blossom, a not-so-common ingredient that mimics the meaty, tender texture of fish. Steering clear of processed meat substitutes, the menu plays with vegetables and pulses in new and exciting ways which will tickle your taste buds!

READ MORE: Hip & Healthy Guide To Cape Town

A Woman’s Wellness Expert Shares 5 Tips To Reduce Hormonal Acne

Hormonal acne can present itself at any age. Developing acne as a teenager is upsetting, but during adulthood, it can adversely knock your self-esteem and overall confidence levels. Studies have revealed that 50% of women in their 20s, 35% in their 30s and 26% in their 40s deal with acne. Hormonal acne is triggered by fluctuating hormone levels. An increase of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, which mainly happens during menopause, pregnancy and menstruation cycles, causes the rise of pimples. Compared to regular spots, hormonal acne tends to be cyclical and appears around your chin, mouth and jawline, in the form of clustered inflamed pink bumps. The hormone levels cause your body to overproduce pore-clogging sebum, which leads to changes in skin activity and bacteria building up in hair follicles. Hormonal acne can be triggered by a range of factors such as pregnancy, anxiety, diet or birth control.

In general, breakouts last 2-3 weeks, but you might, unfortunately, be dealing with hormonal acne for years. This is common in your 20s and 30s and could then return during menopause. However, if execute a plan which is tailored to your situation now, you could be on your way to keep your hormonal acne breakouts at bay. The secret is to understand what works for your skin to combat hormonal imbalances. Nikki Hillis, women’s wellness specialist at Sun Chlorella has shared her 5 tips to clear hormonal acne.

Adjust your diet

Your diet is a power factor when analysing your hormonal acne. Certain food groups will support your body’s natural ability to detoxify, balance your blood sugar levels and address hormonal imbalances such as estrogen detoxify. Start by reducing the level of stimulants which can raise levels of cortisol (stress). Cut back on sugar, red meat and caffeine and stick to an anti-inflammatory diet. This involves plant-based foods where possible and an influx of avocados and leafy greens such as spinach and kale. Stick to whole grains rather than processed sugar and consider an alternative to cows’ milk such as oat and almond milk.

Keep your skincare consistent

There is an array of ingredients which have been deemed to ease hormonal acne breakouts. The key is to use them in moderation as opposed to overloading your skin with different products and ingredients. Keeping your skincare consistent will help the ingredients penetrate your skin and avoid any aggravations. Choose one active ingredient as part of your morning routine and build yourself up to using another one for the evening if your skin can tolerate. Dependent on your skin type, if you have sensitive skin for example, you might want to use them on different days. Retinol, salicylic acid, glycolic acid and benzoyl peroxide are the top contenders which you’ll find in acne-fighting products. Those with more sensitive skin could benefit from azelaic acid (also used to combat Rosacea) which is gentler on the skin but still often used by dermatologists as part of an acne-fighting skincare routine. Skincare brands like Paula’s Choice and Dr Sam’s both offer azelaic acid serums. 

Take food supplements

Food supplements are available to help with skin nourishment and renewal if you’re unable to source all key nutrients in your diet. Sun Chlorella’s ‘A’ tablets can be taken with a meal, a glass of water or in a smoothie. It’s a really well-rounded multi-vitamin bursting with phytonutrients including vitamins A, D, E, K, B-complex, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, iron and zinc along with complete protein and essential fatty acids – both EPA and DHA. Rich in vitamin A, the tablets allow your skin to have access to the nutrients it needs to stay supple and healthy. It has also been shown to safely speed up tissue repair and healing in your skin which helps with hormonal acne breakouts.

Monitor your stress

Stress is a known cause of breakouts, and sometimes it can be unavoidable. However, you can find a stress-reducing outlet during high hormonal periods, such as your time of the month, which helps you detach from these thoughts. Consider taking up yoga or taking time in your morning routine to do some breathing exercises. You should also get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night to avoid feeling lethargic and burnt out the next day.


You’ll need to visit a board-certified dermatologist to discuss prescription options, but they can be effective treatments in the form of topical and oral antibiotics. Clindamycin and erythromycin are topical antibiotic treatments that reduce bacteria on the skin and minimise breakout-related inflammation. Oral antibiotics such as doxycycline can be prescribed for infected breakouts which are tender to touch and cause your skin to look inflamed.

Not Into Cold Water Therapy? Heat Therapy Has MANY Benefits Too!

We all know about the benefits of cold therapy and we’ve been trying to Wim Hof our way through Winter with cold water plunges. But what about the other extreme, the benefits of heat therapy? In Finland, they swear by saunas which feature in many homes, offices and even the Parliament House. With a population of 5.5 million and an estimated 3.2 million saunas, they are an important part of Finnish life. Women even gave birth in saunas as they were the most sterile room in the house! ‘The sauna is the poor man’s pharmacy’ is a Finnish proverb, but can we really sweat our way into optimal health?

So what is it about these wooden heat boxes that make them so therapeutic? Firstly they promote relaxation, every single spa has one after all! Usually dimly lit, they encourage a sense of peace and tranquillity (hopefully without the use of a mobile phone!). Secondly, heat has long been known to help ease pain and inflammation, blood vessels dilate in the heat and blood flow increases, boosting circulation, eliminating toxins and creating the perfect place to soothe aching muscles. 

And all that sweating? Well, not only can this improve circulation and clear out clogged pores but very much like the cold, heat is a potent stressor on the body. This stressor increases our metabolism and triggers a state called hormesis which activates our survival mechanisms and helps repair cellular damage. It therefore helps our bodies become stronger and in turn we live longer. 

Dr Susanna Søberg, a Metabolic Scientist and author of ‘Winter Swimming: The Nordic Way Towards a Healthier and Happier Life’, believes that contrast therapy is optimal for health, combining cold immersion and sauna heat within a single session. She says in a recent Instagram post, ‘The combination of the contrast in temperature forces your body to activate and reactivate the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, which challenge hermetic stress, increase nerve signalling, metabolism, expression of Heat Shock Proteins (repair cell damage), inflammation and endothelial layer (improvement in circulation).’ 

And as tempting as it is to end one of these combined sessions in the sauna, it’s actually best to end in cold immersion to force our body to do all the hard work to heat itself back up. All that shivering enhances our metabolism and helps to activate brown fat thermogenesis (the good fat). 

It’s no wonder that saunas have started popping up all over the UK coastal regions, it’s the ideal place for both heat and cold immersion. The famous Sandbanks, in Poole, Dorset now has its very own, The Saltwater Sauna, a hugely popular haunt amongst the locals with stunning, panoramic views of the coastline. Sam Glyn-Jones, its Founding Director, believes the combination of heat and cold therapy ‘is a biohackers key to unlock sustainable wellness and longevity and we believe is about to become a mainstream practice in the UK.’  It seems the Finnish sauna culture is starting to catch on.    

Not only is the sauna beneficial for physical health, it is also a social activity which unites people offering a sense of community; an important element for our mental health. And the beautiful scenery helps us to reconnect with nature providing a deep sense of well-being.

But what about those of us who can’t stand the heat? Well there’s good news with the introduction of infrared saunas – they have all the benefits of the traditional sauna but less of the air heat. They work by using light to create heat and it warms the body directly whereas a traditional sauna heats up the air. This makes an infrared sauna a much more comfortable and relaxing option allowing for much longer heat exposure which potentially increases all those fantastic health benefits. A win all round!

Some great places to try if you live in London are LondonCryo in Belgravia (they also have clinics in the city and St John’s Wood) as well as Repose in Kensington.

So definitely don’t give up the cold water therapy this winter but add in a sauna and you’ll reap the benefits!

words by Francesca Londono-Richards