Bowery Mural

My heart skip skips a beat

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Over the past month or so I've upped my game in terms of the fitness routine and classes I take part in on a weekly basis. I'm doing something every day of the week, and after a couple months break sporadic attendance, I finally started regular spin classes again. Well, two per week so far.

On the other days it's mostly cardio and strength and man what improvements I've seen in my strength and my body shape. My press ups are better and I can do more in a row, burpees are one of my most favourite things (I'm weird, I know!) and I can even do a plank lifting an arm up and alternate leg - I'm sure there must be a name for them - alternate planks maybe? Anyway, when I started I couldn't do half that so these improvements are great.

But here's a thing... I also go tone of those heart rate monitor thingamys. It's a strap and a little gizmo called a MyZone belt. You strap it to yourself. Exercise. Record the data. Boom. You can have challenges with friends (at the gym) and set yourself goals. Then. You discover that your heart rate is running high all of the time - queue mad panic! That's what I did. I panicked. By all calculations that I Googled, my maximum heart rate should be 183. So that's what was registered on my profile. Then I done a few classes and noticed that I was working quite hard. You have different zones and percentages, again depending on your max HR, weight etc. Anything above 70% is good when working out. As a side note, in a spin class you can see your results in real time as they relay it onto a big screen form a projector, so you know exactly hard you're working at any given time.

So, one Friday night, my first Friday night spin class in about a month, I strapped the MyZone to my body and set off on the class. Now, this class is an hour long and mostly high endurance tracks - meaning that we do long steady rides with very little rest in between. These rides can be 6-7 minutes long at a high pace with gears up high enough to give good resistance, then there's hill climbs and your maximum gears. All in all the toughest spin class I do. I could see myself in the green zone during the warm up. This is up to about 70% max HR. Then I hit yellow - phew - 70-80% max HR. And then BOOM, RED ZONE. 90-100% max HR, and that's where I stayed for most of the class. Like I said above, there's not much rest between tracks so from 6 minutes work you get about 1 minutes rest which isn't that much when you're puffing and panting away like an old workhorse. I mean I think I only reached 100% for about 20 seconds the whole class but I was going from 90-96% during the ride. I was chuffed. I always knew I worked hard in class because my train of thinking is this - what's the point if you aren't putting the effort in.

some stats

After class I was in the changing room chatting to a few others who were asking about the MyZone belt. I said I was fairly new to it but that it seemed okay. One lady piped in "I don't think yours is working properly. There's no way you could have been in the red zone for that long. It could be dangerous!". WTF! And why not exactly?

Why can't I be in the red zone for that long? My heart rate runs high when I'm exercising. I've had that checked before. According to this gizmo my resting hear rate is fairly low, around 58-60, which is proper decent. Who was this person to question my ability or effort?

That weekend I was googling heart rates, max heart rate, what happens when you're heart rate runs high during exercise etc etc... All because of that person.

On the downside I might keel over and die when I'm a little older! on the upside I could have the heart and lung capacity akin to Lance Armstrong. I am a machine! *wink*

So, for a minute there, my heart skip skipped a beat. And then I calmed down.

Side note: with a title like this post has, I wanted it to be about affairs of the heart rather than the actual workings of a heart. Oh well, next time...

Angela x

Rag and Bone Fedora

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

I do love a good hat and had been after one of these babies for a long time. Then, when I went to New York I decided to take the plunge and buy one as the exchange rate was so good. So I popped into Rag and Bone on East Houston Street and after trying several styles and various sizes I opted for the safe black version. I figured it would go with anything.

Here we have my accessory of the year. The Rag and Bone floppy brimmed fedora hat. It's the perfect hat as far as I'm concerned. Excellent quality, 100% wool. Just the right hat height. Nice leather trim, and whenever I wear it I never feel like it's going to blow off my head. I haven't been out in gale-force winds wearing it though!

I even managed to successfully get it all the way home from New York in it's bag without it being squashed and misshaped. Result! There was one scary moment on the LHR - EDI flight when a late comer to the plane almost flung their rucksack on top of it in the overhead baggage but i managed to intervene, haha.

Angela x

Keepin' It Fresh

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Since returning from New York I'd been dying to find a stockist of Fresh products here in the UK. For the time time ever I've almost finished a lip balm. That's the Fresh Sugar original lip balm. It has SPF15 and smells just like the old fashioned sweeties, Kola Kubes, which I LOVE (pre-brace!). Delicious.

Anyway, I thought my luck was out until I tweeted asking @FreshBeauty and they kindly replied with details of how I could order from the London shop and they'd deliver. So that's just what i did last week. And the little box of delights arrived within one day, all neatly wrapped with a nice hand written note from Aimee, the assistant manager, whom I'd emailed with my order. Lovely.

What I got were: the Fresh Ruby lip treatment balm and the Fresh Petal lip treatment balm (a newish shade I think) (£18 each). I also got a little Christmas set called Sugar Wishes (£23) with the original Fresh Sugar lip balm and lip scrub. Happy Christmas to me. And finally I got a bottle of Fresh lemon sugar body lotion.

The lip treatment balms are a tried and tested formula for me. Not sticky, really moisturising and they smell amazing. The petal shade is kinda my lips but better and the ruby shade is my lips but a little pinker, brighter and much better - a nice Christmas shade if you're not into lipsticks. They look really pigmented in the tube but once on the lips it's like a tint of colour that you can easily build up for more colour wash. Perfect for me really since I have a drawer full of neglected lipsticks.

I've not opened the Christmas set as my original Fresh Sugar lip balm is still going and I won't crack open a new one until that is finished. I'm looking forward to trying the lip scrub though as winter is here I know my lips will be dry and flaky real soon.

The main event though is the body lotion (£18). Now, I don't like body lotions that are too strong (Pond's cocoa butter), or that don't sink into the skin and sit on top of it making you feel a little slimy (La Roche Posey iso urea lotion) but i do like to keep moisturised (Kiehl's Creme De Corps) as my skin can look almost snake-like if I haven't used lotion for a few days. And with the Kiehl's being a little on the expensive side for a small bottle, I thought I'd try a Fresh one. I opted for the Lemon Sugar scent as I thought it must be zingy scented and, well, fresh. And that it is. It's a lighter lotion than the Kiehl's. It rubs in perfectly and leaves a scent but not an overly strong scent. Just enough after a warming shower. It's lemony, sugary and wakes you up. The consistency means it sinks into your skin like a dream and doesn't leave that slimy film at all. My legs are especially dry but on leaving work and going to the gym afterwards they still felt hydrated from the morning. Perfect.

I wish Fresh Beauty was more easily available here in the UK. When Sephora started shipping to the UK I thought my troubles had ended but Fresh is one of the brands they don't ship the UK. We need to rectify that, Sephora and Fresh Beauty, please?!

Angela x