17 January 2016

Vitality Brunch Pop Up

Yesterday I attended the first ever Vitality Brunch pop up event hosted by Primrose’s Kitchen and Alice Cowen from Fitness DNA at the beautiful Came House just outside Dorchester courtesy of Rags MacGregor.

A frosty tranquil start for a morning of empowering a new consciousness

I’d seen the event pop up on my Facebook newsfeed from Fitness DNA’s page, as soon as I read the activities for the morning, I knew I had to sign up.
  • Meditation and Sat Kriya 
  • DNA Circuit Training and Stretch
  • Thermomix demo 
  • Brunch 
  • Primrose's kitchen recipe secrets 

The last time I’d driven down to Came was for the annual Dorchester Show as a teenager jumping my unpredictable Warmblood called Wizard in the BSJA classes, so it was lovely to be back in familiar surroundings pushing myself into the unknown.

Parked down at the stables I walked up the frosty path and met Alice from Thermomix and her friend who’d come down from London the night before. We were greeted by Primrose and Alice who were putting the final touches to the rooms which gave us a chance to warm up by the open fire in the gorgeous sitting room.

Once all of the nearly 20 guests arrived we moved into the most beautiful chandelier lit room overlooking the Came Estate. Views like these make you feel so grateful for living in Dorset. 

Sitting cross legged in a circle Primrose explained what was coming up, and gave an overview of meditation. We started with a short mediation closing our eyes and focussing on the now letting thoughts flow in and out. Which is pretty difficult to switch off to start with and then lots of thoughts pop in. I think most of mine involved thinking about my holiday in Fuerteventura in two weeks’ time! We then had to introduce ourselves and share our intentions for the year whether it was to be fitter and healthier or for myself focussing on me and worrying less about pleasing others - letting the real me come out.

Primrose explained about a powerful yoga pose called Sat Kriya which we could practice daily for 3 minutes a day to help de-stress and focus on the now. It’s a pose which done regularly helps to heal, regenerate the body and give you energy. As an amateur yogi it’s a bit tricky to explain so here’s a fab link online I found. After a minute of the ‘sat’ ‘nam’ chant there were lots of giggles, I’m sure with practice it’s easy to build up to the 3 minutes.

Sat Kriya Pose

We then had a quick break before starting our circuits with Alice from Fitness DNA. I’ve had the pleasure in knowing Alice since I was very little going to school together at both Sunninghill and Leweston, riding/competing horses together and sharing lifts at the weekend back to University in Bristol. So, for me it was great to see Alice who totally rocked the class, empowering everyone and giving words of encouragement to those who might not find exercise so easy or like me needed a kick up the bum to work a bit harder!

We paired up with someone of similar fitness levels and my partner in crime was the lovely Pippa from In the Bag PR. We had to work our way round about 10-12 stations spending 30 seconds concentrating on that particular exercise. And then once we completed one circuit go round again and move onto a different exercise. In total we completed about 24 different exercises working the whole body from squats, planks, lunges, weight lifts, press ups and not a burpee in sight! I think Pippa and I spent the whole session giggling, catching up and swearing through some of the routines but we both bossed it!! After some mat work concentrating on the abs and a good stretch it was time to move onto the foodie bit.

Action shot of The Bridge - by the looks of my face, I'm in pain - so it must be working!
Mid circuits
Enjoying a good stretch
Alice (centre) demonstrating the importance of a good stretch

We were given a shot of lemon and ginger to drink for boosting the immune system and increase metabolism. It was very sharp and best downed rather than sipped, but you felt that it was definitely doing some good to the body.

Moving into the dining hall, Alice from Thermomix gave a demo on how you can use this amazing kitchen appliance which is 12 different appliances in 1. It made my NutriBullet seem like a mere child compared to this techy gadget. Alice showed us how you could make butternut squash and turmeric soup as well as almond milk from fresh. We then got to taste everything. The soup was delicious, I’d never thought about adding turmeric before. The almond milk was okay, I must admit if I have almond milk at home I wouldn’t drink it on its own as I’m not the biggest fan of almond’s..

Alice demonstrating Thermomix

Brunch…. was amazing all using Primrose’s recipes

Vitality Brunch
Blueberry & banana chia pudding
Smashed avocado with chilli & lime on paleo bread
Raw vegetable, pickled ginger & quinoa sushi
Butternut Squash and Tumeric Soup
Almond milk

Primrose ran another segment after brunch telling us about the power of fermentation through sauerkraut - German for sour vegetable. Which until that morning I’d never heard of. We were given a bowl with finely cut red and white cabbage and carrots (there was also a bean sprout – I think!). We had to massage the ingredients with our hands helping to drain out the fluid before putting them into a glass jar to take home with us. The jar can sit in the kitchen for 5 days and then eat on toast, with a salad or on its own. There are endless health benefits of sauerkraut you just have to look at google - including increasing digestive health, boosting circulation, stimulating your immune system, giving you energy and protecting against cancer.
My little pot of sauerkraut fermenting away

The Vitality Brunch was an excellent way to escape the norm of day to day life, think about you, what you eat, the processes you use and exercising or ‘empower a new consciousness’.

Lots of great tips and hints I’ll take away from the day. It was jam packed and great value for money at £49. I look forward to another collaboration soon between Primrose’s Kitchen and Fitness DNA. To make sure you don't miss out here are some handy links:

Primrose’s Kitchen:
Facebook - PrimrosesKitchen 
Instagram @PrimrosesKitchen 
Twitter @PrimrosesKit 
Fitness DNA
Facebook - Fitness DNA 
Instagram @DanaandAliceFitness 
Twitter @DNAFitness2
Lara Jane Thorpe – Lara took some fab foodie pictures & posted them on Instagram @LaraJaneThorpe

11 January 2016


This weekend all it seemed to do in a not so sunny Dorset was rain, rain, and oh rain a little bit more. It’s on these cold, wet and miserable days that I flick through old holiday photos from sunnier climates and let my mind wonder to happier times.

So, when I saw the Olympic Holidays competition to ‘SnapASunset’, I knew just the sunset to submit.

Last June my folks and I were thoroughly spoilt at the beautiful Halkidiki, Greece. We were lucky enough to have a sea view room where you could sit on the balcony, Cava in hand and watch the beautiful sun set. 

The night I snapped my sunset was when the hotel arranged a sunset cruise. Guests would take the short trip out to sea, enjoy a glass of bubbly and watch the sun disappear into the Mediterranean Sea. I managed to snap the boat cruising into the sunset which gave my shot a perfect subject resulting creating a serene and peaceful shot. It’s true when they say a picture paints a thousand words. And my time in Halkidiki was magical. I look forward to returning to Greece at some point in the future and watch the gorgeous sunsets with a glass of bubbly in hand!

Want to enter the SnapASunset competition for yourself?  Click here for the details.

10 January 2016

Windy West Bay

Today we went for a mooch around West Bay. I decided to pop my Canon EOS 1200D DSLR in my bag & just suck it up & use it where ever possible.

So, here are the results. Dan helped take the ones with me in them - obviously & the digger ones. I then had a play with the creative filters on the camera which are pretty cool. I like the toy effect which gives that blurred look around the edge.

Toy effect creative filter
Toy effect creative filter
Edited on Be Funky

They're by no means perfect, but I feel pretty chuffed that I actually stopped procrastinating & took some dam photos! As you can imagine West Bay is full of Broadchurch fans, so I felt at home with the other amateur photographers.

What do people use for editing these days? I found Be Funky which seems pretty adequate for messing around with some images until I need something a bit more professional.

I'm also going to sign up for a free 14 day trial with Skill Share who have loads of photography, blogging & writing tutorials. Anyone else signed up & have any tutorial recommendations?

Ooh and for those who follow me on Twitter, I've finally decided to buy the Olympus PEN E-PL7 in White when it's back in stock at the end of Feb. If looks a-mazing & I can't wait to get my mitts on it. 

NutriBullet Blasts

For anyone who’s read my ‘I’m a January Cliché’ post or follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook I’ve been NutriBulleting the hell out of January! Yep, I’m determined to detox, and feel fit and refreshed for my holiday at the end of this month.

I thought I’d share a few of my blasts with you all. It really has surprised me how easy it is to use the NutriBullet. Definitely one of my best Christmas presents – ever!

With the NutriBullet all blasts / recipes should include approximately 50% leafy greens e.g. spinach or kale, 50% fruit, some nuts or super boosts and enough water to cover the ingredients.

A proper green smoothie!

* 1 apple
* Chunk of cucumber
* 1 celery
* Handful of spinach
* 1/2 an avocado
*Topped up with water

It has the thickness of a smoothie. A pint glass was pretty challenging to drink, since then I now half my smoothie or juices for one in the morning & one in the evening.

Spice up your morning. 

*1 apple
* 1 carrot
*1 celery
*1/4 cucumber
*Small piece of ginger
*Topped up with water

This is a real energy boost. The ginger is a bit tangy, but palatable.

Berry Delight!

*Handful of spinach
*1 banana
*Small cup of mixed fruits from Tesco: blackberries, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants & redcurrants
*1/2 a lemon
*Topped up with water

This one is tasted delish. The lemon is very refreshing.

Energy Boost

*1 banana
*Cup of mixed berries
*2 teaspoons of Bioglan energy boost (baobab, lucuma, hemp & cacao)
*Top up with almond milk

This was a nice & simple smoothie, a welcome after a day commuting to London.


*1 banana
*1 mango
*1/2 a lemon
*Handful of mixed berries
*Handful of spinach
*Teaspoon of Tumeric
Topped up with water

This was messy to make, but yummy!

Bleary eyed Saturday smoothie!

*1 pear
*Handful of spinach
*Handful of frozen berries
*1 teaspoon of Bioglan energy boost
*Topped up with water

This wasn't my fave, not sure if it was the pear or the energy boost.

Sunday Revive!

*1 grapefruit
*1/2 an orange
*3 strawberries
*5 cashew nuts
*Handful of spinach
*Top up with water

A zingy little juice!

I've also been experimenting with the NutriBullet and found out:
  • It crushes ice - perfect for a G&T
  • It makes a mean Berry Daiquiri. Add berries, a shot of Bacardi, a few cubes of ice & voila!
  • There is an art to making cauli rice & I need to perfect this. Once I've conquered that one - I'll be sure to share it. Put it this way I hand a mild panic that I'd broken the Bullet!!

Those are just a few of my recipes so far from the last week. 

What recipes have you been trying out? Would love to hear and swap some good blasts.

06 January 2016

So, what on earth is Piloxing?

Yes, that’s exactly what I thought when I first saw it on the Dorchester 1610 activity planner. At a good guess you'd think it was a mix of Pilates and boxing and you know what, you’re pretty much there. 

According to the 1610 website: Piloxing is a fusion of dance, Pilates and boxercise to high energy music designed to give you a fun and testing workout. And could look something like this...fierce!

Image courtesy of www.piloxing.com

As I’m currently going through my New Year fad stage, this sounded right up my street. A new class for the New Year, what better way to start then on a Monday night. Oh, and I get to wear one of my new sporty tops from New Look. Bonus!

Here’s a cheeky selfie snap of the New Look sports top called Elle. Hmm.. I wonder who inspired the buyer for that one. It’s only £7.99 and comes in a lovely purple berry colour, with a flattering racer back and aertex strip. I must admit I’m pretty impressed with this wave of New Look sports range and the collaboration they’ve had with fitness gurus / bloggers. Check out their latest video below, there's even some yoga tips too.

So, off I went to the bright lights of 1610.

Yes, they really are bright. Like a beacon guiding all the unfit folk after Christmas to the gym.

On arrival at The Studio I was greeted by Anna the instructor for the session, who was uber keen and smiley with her cliché Jane Fonda style headband. I must admit at the beginning I was thinking this could go either way. I’m either going to hate this and wish I’d spent the evening slobbed out on the sofa watching Hollyoaks or I’ll sign up for another session.

We were given the option to take the session barefoot or keep our trainers on. Bizarre I thought, but went with the barefoot option. Although next time I’m keeping my trainers on as my feet ached as they’re just not used to going naked on a hard surface, and then I was paranoid about catching a verruca. However, after a quick google, going barefoot can burn more calories – who knew?!

Anna got the session going with some upbeat dance music. I was transformed back to my clubbing days in Dorch… which is a while ago now, as there has been no club in Dorchester for the last 5 or so years.

The class is made up of a mix of boxing style moves – jabs, punches, hooks which all ramps up your metabolism, whilst moving your feet at the same time. Two of the key moves are ‘serve the platter’ and ‘jab cross shuffle’. Great for coordination and bingo wings!! Throughout the session we had to make sure we kept our core tight and think about keeping our posture long/tall as if being pulled up by a piece of string from the top of your head – which is the Pilates element. Along with a number of balancing sections which helps sculpt and tone the body. It wasn’t long before I felt out of breath from the interval style training and was relieved for the dance sections between moves to catch my breath and let the burn in my legs ease.

At times I felt like I could quite easily be an extra in Fame, especially with Anna getting us to give a few whoop whoops – cue trance dance music. Close eyes, open eyes – yep I’m not in the Firestation or Ibiza. Dam! The last 5-10 minutes were made up of mat work and your typical plank, but then with the added difficulty element of added kicks and leg raises. And yes my thighs and glutes were burning. I’d forgotten how that felt. Painful!

The verdict. As I said at the beginning it could go either way, so I’ve signed up for next Monday’s session, which is a good sign. It was definitely a real feel good class and with Anna’s energy, cheerleading and continuous smiling carried us all through. Plus, I didn’t ache too badly afterwards. I can even see some tone definition in my abs – which is a huge bonus especially as I’m now nearly 3 weeks away to a beach holiday. Or that might be due to the effects of the Bootea and NutriBullet smoothies!

I didn’t take any photos from the class as that would just be weird, but I’ve found a great video online from the official Piloxing folk below.

I think if I'd watched the video before my class I might not have attended as it's pretty intense and a bit crazy. But all the cool kids are doing it these days including Hilary Duff, Kirsten Dunst and Vanessa Hudgens, so it must be good?!

Bit more about Piloxing….

Piloxing is the brainchild of Swedish dancer and celebrity trainer Viveca Jensen and she’s on a mission to physically and mentally empower individuals through fitness. At the core of the Piloxing fitness programs is that every individual is powerful and can attain the self image they want by taking charge of their health. Apparently you can burn up to 900 calories a session through the all over muscle workout.

To find out more about Piloxing visit: www.piloxing.com

To sign up to the Piloxing class at Dorchester 1610 click here.