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health

Fashion

Look Fit, Get Fit: The Hottest New Workout Wear

October 22, 2014
As a self-confessed workout addict, I find it that much easier to get out of bed for a morning workout if I’m going to be wearing clothes that are not only functional, but also ooze a little stylish flair. Athletic clothing is more fashionable than ever before, so it allows you to transition easily from running in the gym to running about town. Who cares if you’re in spandex; why get changed when you are already sporting clothes that are comfortable and look good?
I always stock up on Lululemon workout clothes when I’m in the States (much more affordable than in the UK) and I swear by Sweaty Betty for running gear in London. After some research (and extensive online shopping!) I’ve discovered a whole new range of ultra chic designer athletic clothing brands around the globe worth splurging on.
These brands are so fashionable that you can easily wear pieces from their collections in and out of the gym – maybe even to the office! Whether you need an extra incentive to make that early morning workout in the colder autumn mornings or if you’re already writing your Christmas wish list, here are the top designer sportswear brands:
I’ve been a fan of California’s Koral Activewear for years. Their products combine eye-catching design and colourful fabrics – just putting them on makes you feel empowered and ready to go. 
Koral Activewear is far from cheap, but their garments last ages and you will get a lot of wear out of luxury sportswear that looks this good.
Backup dancer physique sadly not included. 

Outdoor Voices is a slick collection of stylish and relaxed sporty apparel. I first stumbled upon this American brand by asking a fellow yogi in class where her cute yoga top was from.
Their clothes are lightweight and flattering; great for lower impact and toning workouts (yoga, barre bar, pilates) and for wearing around town. 
I love travelling in their loose-fitting trousers, which keep me comfy throughout long flights.
 
If you’ve tried a hot Bikram yoga class before, you know how wet, sweaty and gross your clothes can get. Daquini specialise in breathable and quick-drying fabrics designed for hot yoga workouts. Similar to Spanx, Daquini’s form-fitting capris support your physique even in the most unflattering of postures. Their stylish sports bras, tank tops, shorts and capris ensure your downward dog is always fashion forward.
Free shipping worldwide – another reason to lift that yogi leg up and jump for joy!
My dearest friend Megan first introduced me to London’s luxury sportswear brand Lucas Hugh when I was training for the London Marathon and needed an extra incentive to take the gruelling workouts to the next level. A pricey pair of their Prism Leggings did the trick.
Made famous recently by Jennifer Lawrence who wore a Lucas Hugh workout jacket in The Hunger Games, Lucas Hugh is equally high-end fashion and high-quality versatile sportswear. The New Zealand founder and designer, Anjhe Mules, has perfected eye-catching and flattering stretchable fabric that keeps you supported throughout your workout. 
I can verify that Lucas Hugh’s sealed-seam technology prevent chafing – a HUGE plus for runners and gym rats. Like most designer brands, their clothes come with a hefty price tag, but their products won’t disappoint. I’m already saving up for their latest line – listen up Santa!

Available in select London boutiques and online at Matches Fashion and Net-A-Porter
Whoever said sportswear can’t be hot didn’t know what they were talking about. Michi has to be one of the sexiest designer athletic brands on the market. If you imagine yourself on the red carpet or the runway when you’re on the treadmill then this provocative athletic brand will put some seriously sexy pep into your workout.
Made by hand in Canada, Michi cleverly combines glamorous lingerie with sophisticated designer sportswear for an edgy, seductive and polished look. You can easily wear their latest line straight from the gym directly to the hottest nightclub in town! 
yoga
Designer sportswear will cause harm to your credit card, but in my opinion, if it encourages you to fit a workout into your busy schedule, that is money well invested. Think of all the money you have saved by staying in the gym and out of your local pub. Combat the quickly approaching festive and calorific holiday season with some extra stylish workouts! 

Feature, Food

BLONDON’S Summer Superfood Salad

June 30, 2014

At the risk of sounding a bit pathetic, one of the things I miss most about America is the extensive range of salads available no matter the season! Just try comparing your average salad menu in London to say the salad selection at The Cheesecake Factory and you will see what I’m talking about. I don’t usually like to mix sweet and savoury foods, but I recently constructed a fruit filled chicken summer salad based on one of my favourite American salads, Panera’s Strawberry Poppyseed and Chicken salad. It’s healthy, easy to prepare, credit card friendly, and is an ideal lunch or dinner for those warmer summer days when you want something light yet filling. It is so refreshing and healthy, you can’t help but love it. Here are step-by-step foolproof instructions on how to create my Summer Superfood Salad:

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Prep time: 30 minutes; serves 4

Summer Superfood Salad Ingredients:

– 2 cups of cooked boneless chicken breast

– 2 cups kale

– 1 cup watercress or lettuce of choice

– ½ cup crushed almonds

– 2 cups of grapes, halves

– 1 cup fresh blueberries

– ½ cup light or regular feta cheese

– 1 ripe avocado

– a pinch of chia seeds

– a pinch of sea salt

– juice of ½ a lemon

– a pinch of chilli flakes

 

Start with watercress or lettuce and two cups of kale. I lean towards watercress as I find it’s a nice balance paired with kale for a salad base.

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Next up, add two cups of washed halved grapes. Halving the grapes with a sharp knife or kitchen scissors is probably the most time consuming step of making this salad, but halving the grapes makes the salad extra juicy and is well worth the fuss!

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Pour in two cups of halved grapes on top of the base of the salad. If you’re trying to channel your inner domestic goddess, then neatly place the grapes in a corner of the salad – this step isn’t necessary whatsoever but will add to the final effect. You’ll see for yourself soon enough!

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Then add one cup of ripe blueberries adjacent to the grapes in your salad. It’s starting to look rather colourful, isn’t it?
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Now for a dose of heart healthy and natural fat carbs, add a half cup of crushed almonds to the salad. It should be pretty easy to find crushed or chopped almonds in a supermarket, but if all else fails then whizz whole almonds in a food processor briefly or crush them with a rolling pin whilst inside a sealed bag for the ‘crushed’ almond effect.

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Add the half cup of crushed almonds to the other corner of the salad.

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Slice up half a cup of feta cheese into neat small blocks. I was trying to be extra healthy due to the fact that bikini season is on my doorstep, so I opted for light feta cheese.

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Toss the feta cheese blocks next to the crushed almonds in the salad.

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Avocados are one of my favourite fruits. They are filled with antioxidants, a variety of vitamins and are a good source of fiber. I used an avocado in this salad as a creamy and healthier alternative to dressing. Make sure the avocado is ripe otherwise it will make mushing it up much more challenging.

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Cut up the avocado into small pieces in a mixing bowl – watch your fingers as avocados can be slippery!

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Add a dash of sea salt for extra flavour…

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…followed by a pinch of chilli flakes for extra kick in your salad. As you can see, I LOVE chilli and tend to go overboard in the spice department. Add as much or as little as you wish.

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Then cut a lemon in half and squeeze the lemon juice onto the avocado and spice salad dressing mixture…

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…it should be looking like this:

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Using a small fork, stir and mush the avocado mixture as best as you can, so it almost resembles a more runny version of guacamole.

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Add this creamy mixture to the centre of your summer superfood salad, which should be channeling the colours of the rainbow by now.

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I have joined the chia seed fan club recently and can’t help but sprinkle them on vegetables, stir fries and salads as much as possible. Personally, I find chia seeds to be rather tasteless , but they give you energy, add a nice crunchy texture, and are a great source of antioxidants and omega-3.

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Sprinkle a small layer of chia seeds on top of the salad.

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Last but not least, add two cups of cooked chicken to the salad. I prefer to use a rotisserie chicken for extra flavour and to save the carcass to make home-made broth, but feel free to use your cooked chicken of choice for the salad.

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This eye-catching salad is great for sharing. If you’re having people over then I recommend placing one cup of chicken on each side of the salad, so you can let guests serve themselves to whichever parts of the salad tickles their fancy. Be warned, this dish is a crowd pleaser and will make your friends think you can cook!

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Even though this salad always looks far more fancy when you arrange it in the bowl by ingredient (as pictured), I find it tastes best when it’s all mixed up together, so I typically ruin my picture perfect salad within minutes of creation. If you’re prepping this salad for your next meal, remember that it also tastes great chilled.Whether you’re entertaining on a budget or just want a quick and tasty health-conscious dish this summer, this superfood salad is always a hit. Happy summer salad-ing!