Guest Post: How To Spend A Healthy Day In Manchester

Hello there, my name’s Pamela aka @SpamellaB, a Manchester-based blogger and freelancer working with health food brands doing recipe development, content and social. What an HONOUR it is to be writing this guest post for Zanna’s incredible blog… I mean, this girl is smashing it right now isn’t she?!

Following on from her insightful ‘How to Spend a Healthy Day in London‘ and a call-out on Twitter to cover other cities, it was amazing to be recommended to compile a guide around my current location: MANCHESTER. It might not be as big or buzzing as London but over the past few years of living here, the health, food and fitness scene has boomed.

So let me take over from Zanna here and share with you of my favourite things to eat, see and work up a sweat if you happen to spend some time in this awesome city up North!

Explore The Outdoors

There can be a misconception that Manchester is just shops, restaurants, pubs and clubs; which is certainly true, but there are also areas of beauty to discover on foot. Follow the route around the canals to discover other parts of the city, especially over at one of my favourite picturesque spots, Castlefield (just off Deansgate Metrolink stop). When I post photos on social media around this part, people are surprised to learn it is very close by the centre, rather than miles away from the hustle and bustle!

If you fancy a longer hike or run with loads of ground to cover, then drive 10 minutes out the city or hop on a tram and head to Heaton Park, a fantastic place to explore when the weather’s nice. Offering amazing views, plenty of uphill paths, a mini farm and even a garden centre, you could easily spend a good half-day out in the fresh air here.

Work Up A Sweat

Although Manchester has many gyms, why not try something different and take part in a drop-in hot yoga class at The Life Centre (http://www.thelifecentrenorth.com/), just opposite the infamous Hilton Hotel / Beetham Tower. Whether you’re a bendy pro or a total amateur, there are a variety of classes for all levels at my regular yoga studio so if you fancy getting super hot and sweaty or want to take some time out for yourself, I’d highly recommend popping by!

Tuck In

Now you’ve burnt off some energy, it’s time to refuel with a healthy but filling lunch. Although we’re lucky to have so many awesome food places on the city’s doorstep, here are some I’d strongly suggest trying out:

  • Try Evelyn’s (http://www.evelynscafebar.com/) in the trendy Northern Quarter for delicious dishes suitable for all tastes and requirements, from gluten-free Sweet Corn Fritters and Salsa to Peanut Chicken Skewers with Soba Noodles.
  • A smaller, more intimate spot also in the the Northern Quarter is Oak Street Cafe (http://www.craftanddesign.com/oak-st-cafe-bar/), offering tasty homemade dishes with many gluten/dairy-free and vegan options.
  • For the hardcore gym-goers, don’t miss out on devouring Kettlebell Kitchen‘s (http://www.kettlebellkitchen.co.uk/) protein boxes, healthy burgers or pizzas with allllll the sides – including, which I know Zanna will LOVE – Peanut Butter Protein Fries. YUP.
  • Vegan food and juice pop-up wagon, Cowherds (http://www.cowherds.org.uk/) is worth going to if juices, hearty meals and salads made from scratch are up your street.

Indulge

As if that wasn’t enough to make your tummy grumble, if you’ve got a sweet tooth like me but conscious of what you eat, an absolute MUST is checking out recently opened Simone’s Healthy Bakery in the Arndale Shopping Centre. Raw Vegan Snickers Bar, Matcha Protein Brownie, Raspberry & White Chocolate Cake…Most of these are free from dairy, gluten, sugar and added fats so it’s totally acceptable to try more than one!

Stock Up

While Manchester is known for it’s high street shops, if you’re looking for health food then fear not. GNC in the Arndale is bursting with health and sports-related supplements, nut butters, snacks, drinks and all that jazz. Pick up a bargain and discover random things in HomeSense and TK Maxx, while McCall’s Organic market stall across the road is reasonable for store cupboard ingredients and treats like Ombar chocolate and other sweet treats. If you’re feeling really naughty, then it would be a crime to miss the Lindt store in the Arndale for alllll the chocolate!

Treat Yourself

It would be wrong to go home empty handed, wouldn’t it? Tucked away in St Anne’s Avenue is Lululemon, a haven for technical athletic clothes suitable for running, yoga, the gym – anything that gets you sweaty. Gorgeous designs and reasonably priced, it’s worth having a browse even if you’re not looking for anything in particular. I guarantee you’ll walk out with one piece of kit or fitness accessory!

Enjoy A Cheeky Glass of Bubbles

Imagine sipping on a glass of Prosecco that only had 67 calories per glass and 7g of sugar per litre, plus it was organic and suitable for vegans. Well, that’s now come true thanks to the arrival of Skinny Prosecco, available at Selfridges in Exchange Square or the exclusive, swanky Club Brass Bar in Hotel Gotham. Even if you’re just out for a few in the evening, it’s worth getting dressed up and trying it out!

So there you go, a guide to all the healthy things on offer in Manchester. I hope you have found it useful check out some of these spots if you come to visit this wonderful city! Thanks for having me, Zanna x

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November 30, 2016

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An Active Winter Weekend In Jersey: The 3 Day Itinerary

As a child I was brought up on a farm in the depths of Yorkshire. My weekends were spent in the moors or at the seaside, hiking around in my waterproof trousers and tucking into picnics overlooking stunning scenery. Although I am now a Londoner, I will never lose touch with my love of the outdoors and I often crave a breath of crisp seaside air.

A common misconception is that you have to leave the UK to experience a slower pace of life. In fact, relaxation and exploration are right on your doorstep. Jersey is a beautiful island just off the southern coast of England. It takes me back to my childhood. It’s rolling hills, rugged coastline and quaint cafes are unspoiled. It provides a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. I recently spent a long weekend there during the winter months and managed to cram in tonnes of cultural and scenic experiences, as well as my fair share of eating! If you’re looking for some inspiration for an upcoming trip, here is the itinerary I followed.

Friday

Getting to Jersey is ridiculously easy, especially from London. I recommend catching an early morning flight from London City Airport. It is super quick and convenient and gets you there in just over an hour. Once you land, grab a rental car in the arrivals hall and head out into the small country lanes. I recommend downloading the Maps.Me app which uses no data but gives you GPS functionality. Drop your bags off at your hotel and head out to explore the island.

Start off in St Brelade’s Bay grabbing a light lunch at L’Horizon Hotel overlooking the gorgeous surroundings. Once your meal has settled, grab your coat and walk down to the beach. Take a stroll along the sandy coastline, paddle in the refreshing water, delve into rock pools and soak up some sunshine. Once you have your dose of vitamin D, grab your car and head to St Helier. This is the main town in Jersey and the centre is best explored on foot. This is a great opportunity for some shopping. Be sure to head down the smaller side streets to stumble upon unique local shops.

If you want a true taste of Jersey head to the central market. This beautiful indoor market is crammed with overflowing stands selling local produce and crafts. Don’t forget to pick up some famous Jersey fudge while you’re there! Once you’re all shopped out, finish your day at the classy No 10 Restaurant and Bar on Bond Street for a delicious three course meal, speedy service and a bustling atmosphere.

Saturday

Start your day off with a workout. I recommend taking advantage of your surroundings and getting outdoors for a morning run along the coastline. To refuel, head to the popular Moo cafe in St Helier. They focus on healthy and wholesome breakfast and lunch food, including colourful smoothie bowls and fresh homemade salads. Don’t forget to grab an energy ball for the road!

Now it is time to delve into all the attractions Jersey has to offer. Depending on the weather, you can explore by bike or by car, the choice is yours. I recommend starting off at the Jersey War Tunnels. This is the most popular attraction in Jersey, and for good reason. It gives a valuable and fascinating insight into the war history of the island. Following this, drive over to Mont Orgueil castle. Take your time exploring is many rooms and hidden staircases, before climbing to the very top for a stunning view over the neighbouring bay. Then wander down into the harbour village and grab a coffee, indulge in some people-watching and absorb the local atmosphere.

Finally, head to El Tico for sunset drinks overlooking a gorgeous seaside view, before heading inside and tucking into a hearty dinner. The communal tables make for a friendly atmosphere. Be sure to look at their ever-changing specials board to find the best meals on the menu. Beware though, the portion sizes are huge!

Sunday

It is your final day on the island, and you simply can’t leave without going on a walk along the coastline. To be honest, you could practically walk anywhere on Jersey and see beautiful sights, but there are free resources available to give you some guidance. Find yourself a walking trail on the Jersey website and head out for a stroll. One of the most well-known routes is from Corbiere Lighthouse down the coastline to Portelet Bay; it honestly has some of the most beautiful scenery on the whole island so don’t forget to bring your camera. You can even stop off along the way at a cafe for a coffee overlooking the sea.

To finish your stay in Jersey, head to one of the popular Jersey Crab Shack restaurants for a late lunch. They overlook stunning views and serve up famous crab tacos which are well worth the hype. Before you head to catch your flight home, be sure to take one final walk along the beach and inhale a deep breath of fresh sea air.

All in all…

Jersey has taken my heart. The people are friendly, the food is fresh and the scenery is beautiful. It is the perfect location for an active escape, with a rugged coastline just waiting to be hiked and a rapidly expanding health scene. And the best part? It is affordable and close to home. I’ll be back!

Check out my accompanying video here, I am pretty proud of it!

Zanna xx

Photos and video: Denis Plesca

November 14, 2016

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Guest Post: How To Spend A Healthy Day In Bristol

As a student, I know how hard it seems to eat healthily and workout properly when on a budget. However, having spent two years roaming the streets of Bristol as a student, I have found that it is indeed possible, even if it doesn’t have all the options London has. In some ways it’s even better – without the London prices, eating healthily doesn’t have to munch into your monthly budget, and with multiple gyms with student discount memberships and classes, it’s possible to keep fit and fuel yourself on the smallest of budgets.

Hit The Gym

There are many gyms in Bristol, some of which have PAYG classes, which are useful if you’re just around Bristol for the weekend or simply want to try something different. There are many chains, including Puregym, Anytime Fitness, The Gym etc. which offer everything you could want. The university gym is basic but contains most things you need for a workout. However, Bristol has no way of competing with London in terms of fitness classes – the real wonders lie outside the gym. So you could…

Get Outdoors

Despite being one of the largest cities in the UK, in Bristol you’re never far away from the countryside. Living in the city is fun, but it’s the surrounding areas that are truly breathtaking, and allow you to escape from the hustle and bustle of busy city life. Ashton court is my favourite – an easy walk from the city centre, or a quick bus ride away. Walk or run over the Clifton suspension bridge for the spectacular view and you’ll find yourself in a huge park with deer and other wildlife, and plenty of space for a nice run, walk or bike ride! If you can’t get to the Ashton court, the Downs is another area of spacious grassland perfect for getting in that vitamin D and releasing those endorphins.

 Café Hop

Bristol is well known for its myriad of independent cafes and café chains. My favourites include Friska, which does healthy hot food and homemade cakes and wraps and Boston Tea Party, which, although it’s a chain, is one of my favourite cafés/restaurants ever! They use all free-range eggs and meat and have delicious salads, although my favourite has to be their brunch – the eggs royale and brown rice porridge are both incredible. Bakesmiths is the new kid on the block, offering homemade cakes and sourdough bread, as well as incredible coffee and lunch menu items. I hear their in-house baker is in at 4:30 every morning making that day’s sourdough. The décor is also SO nice – if I have a coffee meeting, the chances are that I’ll go here, because good coffee mixed with great interior design makes my soul happy.

Wine And Dine

There are so many restaurants in Bristol it’d be impossible to recommend and review them all here. However, favourites of mine include Wildwood (yay for 50% off for students!), the mint rooms (delicious Indian food) and the River Cottage canteen. River Cottage’s new winter menu includes a mix of mains (free-range meat, delicious fish and vegetarian options) and side salads, which you can order to compliment your mains. This is definitely one of my favourite places to go in Bristol, although the dish prices can add up if you’re like me and want to try everything! If you’re looking for somewhere cheaper but equally delicious, Eat a Pitta is incredible. There are three in Bristol, and all serve pitta and a range salads which you can either stuff into your pitta (which is HUGE) or have in a box on the side.

Indulge

 I’m one for balance and LOVE to indulge in totally unhealthy things every now and again, because what is life without indulgence? One of my favourite restaurants in Bristol is Bosco Pizzeria, which does the best pizzas I’ve ever tried ANYWHERE (including Italy). Kaspas on Park Street is a restaurant purely for sweet sugary desserts. With décor like an American diner, it might not be your traditional British café, but it sure is worth a visit. However, Indulging doesn’t have to be all about food. The Lido in Clifton is a spa that allows for a full day of guilt-free relaxation. Tuck into a warming meal in their restaurant afterwards before braving the real world again.

Bristol, although not as fast paced or forward-thinking as London, is known for being a ‘green’ city, and is excellent when it comes to walking everywhere. In my third year in Bristol, I’ve already found several new places where I now love to eat and drink, that I hadn’t discovered before. Every time you’re here there’s somewhere new to visit, and an even more beautiful area of the surrounding countryside to explore.

I hope you find this really useful, whether you’re already a student in Bristol, a visiting Londoner or just fancy checking out what Bristol has to offer (clue: a lot!).

Written by the gorgeous Flora:

@food_fitness_flora

foodfitnessflora.wordpress.com

November 10, 2016

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