HAKKASAN MAYFAIR, LONDON

We celebrated Shelley’s birthday in style at London’s Hakkasan restaurant in Mayfair. We were seated in a dimly lit room, with a soft glow coming from a candle situated on the table.

We have been fans of this restaurant since we first visited Hakkasan in Las Vegas (review coming soon!) so we couldn’t turn down going in our hometown of London.

If you’re a fan of fine dining and have an appetite for Dim Sum then look no further.

So we began our dining experience with a Dim Sum dish, creating a banquet of different tastes and flavours in our mouth. We devoured a classic steamed dumpling variety which consisted of swordfish, king crab and caviar. This was accompanied by soy sauce, chilli sauce and rice vinegar. Of course, our meal wouldn’t be complete without a cocktail or three. We couldn’t get enough of The Hakka!

For our second course, we enjoyed two meat dishes that certainly had our taste buds wanting more. Firstly, was prawns dipped in nut sauce with jasmine rice and aubergines. Second, was the mouth tingling stir-fry black pepper rib-eye with Merlot. Delicious!

We are such fans of Dim Sum that we couldn’t resist another round of the exquisite delicacy. It’s just so good!

They brought us Hakkasan’s signature desert for our final dish which blew our minds literally…

A rice crispy ice cream ball with warm chocolate sauce slathered all over. A deliciously gooey treat that makes you crave for more.

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Shelley & Michelle xx

STAYING FIT AND HEALTHY WHILE SELF-ISOLATING

It’s quite challenging having the mindset to stay fit and healthy during these uncertain times. The gyms are closed and like many we have found other ways to stay fit and healthy. Take a look at a few exercises we have put together for you all to enjoy.

Park Run

Walking or running outdoors is a great way to keep fit and clear the mind. Always remember that when running in an open space keep more than two metres away from other people and cut down your run or walk to once a day. Brisk walking, running or jogging releases feel-good endorphins that can reduce depression and anxiety. Outdoor running strengthens muscles, increases leg strength and ankle flexibility. If you need a little push or want to monitor your progress, why not download fitness and running apps.

Online Yoga and fitness classes

There are so many fitness classes online that can keep you occupied during the lockdown. You are spoilt for choice as there is something for everyone to enjoy! Classes range from yoga, full body cardio, abs toning, pilates and dance workouts, if you prefer something more fun you can take part in short ten minute classes to thirty minutes and even hour long sessions depending on what you’re willing to endure that day. Always remember you can improvise for e.g. if you don’t have dumbbells, use two tins of beans or soups.

Skipping Rope

We have mentioned skipping in a previous post because we love it so much! Not only does skipping make you feel like a child again it’s a great way to improve your fitness and you can literally skip anywhere! Your home, the garden or the park. You can burn from 200 to 300 calories skipping rope for up to fifteen minutes. We see why boxers skip so much! Another skipping benefit is that it improves your posture, when skipping rope you generally pull your shoulders back with your back upright. Good posture improves digestion and blood flow to the brain.

Using your body

Find space in your home or garden and do simple exercise routines such as squats and lunges. To make sure you are working both sides of the body for the same amount of time, give each set a time limit. For e.g. thirty seconds of sit ups, rest for fifteen seconds then go straight into burpees for thirty seconds, then of course don’t forget your fifteen second rest. Exercises such as Sit ups are an effective way to target your abdominal muscles by strengthening, tightening and toning your core. A burpees exercise is a total body workout which works your arms, back, chest, core, glutes and legs.

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Shelley & Michelle xx

AFTERNOON TEA AT THE MELODY RESTAURANT

What better way to spend a cold winter’s day than a cosy afternoon tea. We did just that at The Melody Restaurant in London’s Hammersmith. The historic venue takes its name from the 1971 comedy, romance film ‘Melody’ which is where the movie was filmed.

The Melody is a cute boutique restaurant, we really enjoyed the afternoon tea experience spent in their exquisite dining room, which had soft music playing. The chandeliers were dimly lit making a calm atmosphere.

To kick start our afternoon we were presented with a glass of champagne that was freely flowing throughout our dining experience. Then for the tea! Shelley chose the Jasmine Blossom tea and Michelle had the English Breakfast tea.

The staff were so friendly and accommodating. We were presented with an array of Melody’s finest sandwiches, homemade scones & pastries, clotted cream and preserves that tasted rich and delicious. We were absolutely stuffed! Lol. The food was so filling, which is always a good thing.

Like ourselves, if you enjoy an Afternoon Tea experience we recommend The Melody Restaurant. Kensington Palace is just a short walk away from the location and it’s only a ten minute walk from Barons Court and West Kensington tube stations.

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Shelley & Michelle xx

NEW YORK CITY

New York is a city you have to visit at least once in your lifetime. We decided to spend a long weekend in style and thought what better way to do so than in the city that never sleeps!

NYC has one of the highest rates of any tourist attraction in the world, with around 60 million people visiting each year. There are around 800 different languages spoken in New York making it the most diverse city in the world.

We had the best time and have made so many memories, there was only one issue though and that was the weather. It was absolutely freezing! The coldest we’ve ever felt in our lives. We highly recommend layering up if travelling during the winter months, we’re talking thermals lol! 

We decided to spend a long weekend in NYC but we will definitely stay longer next time. There was so much to do and see with such little time, so if you’re travelling to New York for the first time we suggest writing up an itinerary before you travel with the places you want to see and eat. It really does help organize your day ahead.

This is the second trip we arranged through Travel Counsellors (here) who specialise in luxury travel and really look after you, making sure you have a trip to remember. We stayed at the Roosevelt Hotel (here) situated in the best part of town! The hotel is located at Madison Avenue in the centre of Midtown Manhattan which is great as it is a short walk from Times Square and very close to Grand Central station. We were taken aback by the decor of the hotel which is very grand and looks more old school glamour which is so nice to see as hotels are a lot more modern nowadays. We fell in love with the chandeliers but The Roosevelt’s is on another level.

Times Square

It is actually a crime to visit New York and not see Times Square (just joking). During Times Square’s busiest time around 460,000 people walk through the iconic streets. Known for the massive billboards, sparkly advertisements and not forgetting the yellow taxis which constantly drive through the busy New York traffic. The home to many great Broadway shows Times Square has so much to offer. From loads of clothes shops, the M&M store, Mac make up, sweets and milkshake shops, Disney stores and loads of bars and restaurants, there is definitely something for everyone. 

Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station is the most beautiful and picturesque stations we have ever visited. Located at Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, Grand Central opened in 1913 and is one of the busiest stations in the world. We loved the turquoise decor to the ceiling.  

It was great to experience travelling on the subway as we’ve seen the Subway featured in so many films and music videos. Shout out to Jlo ‘On The 6’ album lol.

Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is the 28th tallest building in the world, standing at 1,454 metres tall.

We took a lift to the top of the building and as it was so cold, being on top of a tall building…the wind was ridiculous! It was a struggle trying to take pictures battling the wind and cold, but being up there made up for it. The views are just breathtaking, we could see the whole of NYC!

NYC Sightseeing Cruise

A fantastic way to explore New York is by taking a boat trip. We took a ferry cruise from Midtown Manhattan on the Hudson River and it travels to the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge. We were lucky that it was a very sunny day, so although we had to brave the cold it was a really lovely way to see New York on water.

TAO

If you fancy a spot of fine dining, we highly recommend TAO restaurant. The Pan-Asian dim lit restaurant was full of the most delicious food and cocktails. We dined at the TAO Uptown which has a ‘Sex and the City’ vibe to it. It is known not only for its amazing food and cocktails but the giant Buddha centerpiece in the middle of the restaurant. Once you have finished your meal, why not head downstairs to the main bar area, for some more cocktails and good music that has a club like ambiance.

Ellen’s Stardust Diner

If you want to experience a unique dining experience, you have to visit Ellen’s Stardust Diner. You can enjoy your food with singing waiters/waitresses. It is not that cheesy stuff either, the staff are true performers that will blow you away. It is a family friendly restaurant and is worth a visit if you are ever in NYC. Also, the cocktails are so good!

Sylvia’s

We could not go to to New York and not visit the ‘Queen of Soul Food’ Sylvia’s restaurant in Harlem. It is truly Southern home made comfort food and is a place you have to experience. The restaurant has a home like feel and the walls are filled with the likes of Barack Obama, Whoopi Goldberg and Nelson Mandela who are few of the famous faces who have eaten at this famous restaurant. From warm biscuit, chicken wings, ribs, macaroni and cheese to peach cobbler, there is something to suit your taste buds. Sylvia’s is a place not to miss!

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Shelley & Michelle xx

EIGHT REASONS TO STRETCH BEFORE AND AFTER EXERCISE

Whilst working out over the years we’ve noticed there are people that don’t stretch before or after working out. This is one of the worst things you can do when exercising as it can result in muscle tear and injury.

Stretching should be an essential part of your every day workout. Below we have listed reasons why you should always take the time to stretch.

1. Stretching before exercise allows your muscles to loosen and prepares your body to take on the impact of exercise you have chosen to do.

2. Your muscles are less likely to become injured by sudden movement when undergoing an activity. Whilst stretching you reduce the risk of injury.

3. After working out, stretching your muscles helps loosen the tightness effect that can lead to post-workout aches and pains.

4. Stretching actually improves your posture. When you stretch the shoulders, lower back and chest it helps keep your back in alignment which will improve your posture.

5. Tense muscles can cut off circulation which can result in a lack of oxygen and essential nutrients. Stretching allows your muscles to relax and increases blood supply to your muscles and joints.

6. Stretching reduces and manages stress. Well-stretched muscles hold less tension and can help you feel less stressed.

7. Regular stretching routines can help prevent future back pain by strengthening your back muscles and reducing the risk of muscle strain.

8. Stretching not only increases flexibility, but can also calm the mind. When stretching focus on mindfulness and meditation exercises which is done during yoga and pilates.

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Shelley & Michelle xx

OUR GO TO GYM WORKOUTS

Exercise is great for your health and fitness and is also a good way to clear the mind. If you make new year resolutions and one goal of yours is to keep fit and healthy, then to stick to it is to not be in the gym from January 1st and give up by March. The best thing is to wean yourself into working out slowly and mix up your workouts so you don’t get bored. It’s always great to push yourself. So if you start by going to the gym once a week, the next week try twice a week, then three times a week and see how you get on.

Below are a few of our favourite gym workouts. We hope you enjoy and Happy New Year!

Boxing

If you want to have fun whilst working out and change up your routine then boxing is the one for you. Boxing requires strength, endurance and power. Boxing isn’t just for the hard-core athletes, it’s a great way to strengthen and tone the entire body.

Running Machine

Running outside or on a running machine is a good way to strengthen and tone your legs and glutes. If running is too much for you then begin walking, jogging and gradually start to run.

Seated Cable Row Machine

The Seated Cable Row develops the muscles of the back and the forearms. It is an excellent all-around exercise for developing mainly the middle back while offering useful arm work as well.

Air Walker Machine

The Air Walker Machine provides a total body, calorie-burning workout that is low-impact and is a great aerobic exercise. The machine is an alternative to walking or jogging. This form of low-impact aerobic exercise can burn a surprising amount of calories.

Skipping

Who would have thought that a skipping rope had so much benefits. Skipping is simple, easy and a whole lot of fun, plus you get to burn a lot of calories while doing so. It’s one of the best ways to shed fat as well as improving your heart rate and building stamina.

Exercise Ball

There’s nothing quite like stretching your spine on an exercise ball after a strenuous work out. The benefits of using an exercise ball is to improve back and spine health, core stability, posture and muscle balance. Training with an exercise ball, whether during Pilates, yoga or simple stretching is an excellent way to work your abdominal, back and lower-back muscles.

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Shelley & Michelle xx

WINTER WARDROBE ESSENTIALS: JUMPER DRESSES

Hi everyone!

We hope you all had a lovely Christmas filled with peace and joy.

As the weather’s pretty chilly outside It’s a time where you can experiment with different outfits and darker colours. From over the knee boots to ankle boots, from leather aviator jackets to long coats. You can be cosy yet stylish in your winter warmers. That is why this season, jumper dresses are a must. Simple and easy to wear, jumper dresses are the perfect staple for your winter wardrobe. They come in various styles, from short, to midi, to long, to over sized or fitted, long sleeved, short sleeved or off the shoulder, the list is endless. We are fans of a short jumper dress with long sleeves but this winter we have fallen in love with the longer jumper dress.

Michelle’s wearing:

 Zara jumper dress (here) – Zara coat – Zara ankle boots

Shelley’s wearing: 

Zara jumper dress (here) – ASOS Coat  – Vintage boots

We hope you enjoyed one of our favourite winter wardrobe essentials.. the jumper dress, which is a winter must have. As always feel free to share your best winter wardrobe essentials.

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Shelley & Michelle xx