Wellbeing holidays are wonderful, but rare. Stay healthy in between the wellness breaks with a day dedicated to a cleaner, leaner, healthier lifestyle in central London. The Resident spent a day breakfasting, yoga-ing and scoping out the latest buys in St Martin’s Courtyard and Seven Dials…
9.30am Breakfast at Dishoom
Breakfast at Dishoom is a surefire way to ensure your day gets off to a good start. While The Big Bombay is hard to resist – laden with Akuri, char-striped smoked streaky bacon from The Ginger Pig, peppery Shropshire pork sausages, masala baked beans, grilled mushroom and buttered pau buns – I figured I’d never manage my lunchtime yoga class with that bell full. So I scaled it back a little to a bacon and egg naan roll. Never had a naan roll before? You haven’t lived. Each naan is freshly baked in the tandoor, then spread with a little cream cheese, chilli tomato jam and fresh herbs. Dishoom’s mission is to recapture the essence of the old Irani cafes of Bombay, and while we’ve never had the pleasure of visiting one, it’s certainly doing a great job of adding a little spice to a dreary morning in London.
12 Upper St Martin’s Lane WC2H 9FB; dishoom.com
10.45am Shop activewear by Lorna Jane
It’s hard to hear the word ‘activewear’ now without picturing that satirical YouTube video where ladies are anything but active in their activewear, but the fact is that we are busier than ever, so it is important that we can look and feel good in clothing that allows us to move. Run up the stairs at the office, pop to a yoga class in the spur of the moment, run those errands on the way to or from the gym without feeling self conscious. Aussie yogi Lorna Jane was one of the first to pick up on this, and has been designing flexible, intelligent activewear for 25 years. Her sports bras are famous – cute, effective and available in all sorts of shapes and sizes. There are slogan-tees and jumpers and jackets you can chuck on over your kit and waltz off to the latest Shoreditch opening in. And there are leggings like you’ve never seen before, with hidden control panels to hold you tummy in, sassy sheer panels and – most importantly – thick, infallible fabrics that don’t reveal your knickers to the world when you squat!
6 Slingsby Place, St Martin’s Courtyard WC2E 9AB; lornajane.co.uk
12noon Hot yoga at Yotopia
Your first hot yoga class is an experience you’ll never forget. Personally, I’ve never fancied it. I don’t handle the heat particularly well, but Mercedes Schindler’s Hot Body Sculpt class was a revelation. Mercedes, a ballet dancer, founded BalletSculpt and is probably responsible for the explosion in barre classes around London. So while this class is more based in ballet, the poses and jargon are very reminiscent of yoga and Pilates. The challenging combination of cardio-enhanced, dance-inspired hot training, barre exercises, floor barre, core and leg strengthening – all undertaken in a state-of-the-art Yotopia hot studio – is amazing. Difficult, super sweaty and brilliant. Mercedes’ poise, elegance and strength is a powerful motivational tool, because you’ll want to be just like her. The heat is very soothing (my creaky old knees ceased to ache for the first time in ages), and can help to improve strength and flexibility, reduce risk of injury, stress and tension and enhance energy. The post sweat-fest glow is fabulous, and it’s a wonderful way to escape the cold, but do make sure your mascara is waterproof!
13 Mercer Street WC2H 9QJ; 0333 405 8888; yotopia.co.uk
1.30pm Lunch at Native
You haven’t lived till you’ve lunched at Native. The menu is split into ‘snax’, ‘to start’, ‘to follow’ and ‘side dishes’, but you’d be well advised to mix it up, order a few and share. Dishes will come as they’re ready so relax and forget any sense of formality. I’ve always maintained that sprouts are the only vegetable I won’t touch, but the Purple Flowering Sprout Hearts are divine. Go for a game dish if it’s in season – the wild mallard with pickled kohlrabi was a riot of flavour, and none of us could get enough of the celeriac with pickled apple and brown butter emulsion. The menu here is seasonal and changes regularly to showcase the best of the UK’s native foraged foods and game – whatever the suppliers have in that’s fresh and fantastic will make its way onto the menu that day. Oh and the Caramelised Honey Truffles with Alexander Marshmallow Fluff are to die for!
3 Neal’s Yard, Seven Dials, Covent Garden WC2H 9DP; eatnative.co.uk
3pm Skincare at Fresh
From native foods to natural beauty, scoot across the gorgeous little courtyard that is Neal’s Yard to Fresh for some skin solace. As I cautiously approach that mid-30s milestone, my skin has become much more needy, and buying whatever moisturiser is on offer at the supermarket is no longer working for me. But this place is a treasure trove of sumptuous, healing products that combine effective natural ingredients and modern science. The Black Tea Firming Corset Cream is a wonderful product – rich with a delicate scent, it leaves my skin feeling immediately plumper and glowing. It’s also been scientifically proven to provide a corset-like lifting effect and improve skin’s firmness and elasticity after four weeks of use, and since an Uber driver told me I looked about 23 the other day (bless him), i’m inclined to say it’s working! Use together with the Soy Face Cleansing Milk for squeaky-clean revitalised skin.
17 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials WC2H 9DD; fresh.com/UK
4pm Tea time at East India Tea Company
In a mad-dashing-deadline-hitting-espresso-gulping world, make time for tea. I’m a black tea drinker, and a standard English breakfast tea doesn’t work so well without the white stuff. And while I love a Lady Grey, there are white teas and herbal teas out there that taste better and work harder for you. No idea where to begin? Head for the East India Tea Company, which stocks over 140 fine loose leaf teas – black, white, green, herbal, flowering, oolong, with professional guidance on hand. Their new Chakra tea collection is impressive – whole herbs, spices and flowers blended to restore harmony to mind, body and soul, from the Life Force Infusion that represents the most energetic Chakra – the Sacral Chakra – for a morning pick-me-up, to the Bliss Infusion, inspired by the spiritual Crown Chakra, to bring calm at the end of the day. But empires weren’t built on tea alone – look out for their tea-infused chocolate bars, ice-creams and delicious biscuit collections too.
140-142 Long Acre, Covent Garden WC2E 9AA; theeastindiacompany.com
5pm Get a blow dry at Blow
A woman’s hair is her glory. But after a day pampering body and soul – especially after that hot yoga class – my hair had given up. But all is not lost, pop into Blow, back near where it all started this morning in St Martin’s Courtyard, and let a professional tease your tresses into something magnificent. I’ve never visited a blow-dry bar before, so I wanted to go all out with the Luxe Blow, but since I wasn’t headed anywhere particularly glam that evening, a more relaxed Beach Blow seemed more appropriate. After a little dithering, my blow-dry expert asked if perhaps I’d like to go for something in between the two. Yes please! What genius! These guys even take the decision making on for you, which, after a wonderfully relaxing day, was just what I needed. Refreshed, revitalised and ready for the night shift!
8 Slingsby Place, St Martin’s Courtyard WC2E 9AB; blowltd.com