SoulCycle, The American Cult Spinning Phenomenon Has Come to London

I have been spinning for roughly two decades. It has been my stress buster, the releasor of endorphins and often the cause of legs that feel like jello and long hot epson salt baths I literally have to physically struggle getting out of. I have a true love:hate relationship with spinning which I affectionally have nicknamed the Wheel of Pain.

So when I heard that the spinning cult phenomenon Soulcycle was coming to Soho in London I had to find out for myself what the hype was all about and just how different a spin class can be. Let me tell you…it was quite the ride.

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Royal Albert Hall. Inside The World's Most Beautiful & Infamous Concert Hall

The Beatles sang about it, Queen Victoria commissioned it and now after almost 150 years Royal Albert Hall is still one of the most spectacular, prestigious concert halls in the world having hosted over 30,000 events from 1871 to …well last night. Originally it was suppose to be called the Centre Hall of Arts and Science but it was changed to Royal Albert Hall by Queen Victoria honouring her late husband who died only six years earlier.

Its past (and present) has hosted a myriad of performers and legends to take its famous stage. From symphonies, rock concerts, opera, boxing, ballet, tennis, political events, award shows, charity events, circuses, film premieres (check out me and my guy Colin Firth at the Mary Poppins Returns Premiere), Albert Einstein and they even had the first ever Sumo Wrestling event outside of Japan, EVER!

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LONDON'S MOST LAVISH & OUTRAGEOUS LOOS ~ THE MOST INSTAGRAMMED BATHROOMS IN LONDON

If you are out in some of London’s hippest restaurants, trendiest hotels or funky bars you might have noticed a trend that has exploded…not quite like a weekend in Mexico explosion but rather the incredible detailed lavish bathrooms that in of themselves have been attracting major attention. The bathrooms have become more than a quick essential place to do one’s business they have become an Instagram hotspot, as people have posted millions of photos of London’s fabulous loos. The intense competition for the most incredible place to relieve yourself has even given way to Britain’s Loo Of The Year Award, honest it’s a thing. So you could be actually “Number One” in the number two business… so to speak.. A really good restaurant cannot sit back just on their food reputation anymore. Nope. Every bit important now in the world of social media is buzzy interiors and that must include a fabulous trip to the loo.

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Harrods. The Little Known Secrets Inside The World's Most Famous Department Store

…..Aaaah Harrods

I call it the Mother Ship, Mecca, the indisputable centre of the glam retail universe. Harrods is London's most iconic and beautiful department store and one of the top tourist attractions in the U.K. estimating 15 million visitors annually. It is the 7th most Instagrammed place in London where at any given time you will see tourists taking selfies outside its majestic exterior or inside the world famous Food Hall. This beautiful Grand Dame of London occupies over a million square feet in prestigious Knightsbridge. That is over 5 acres of shoes, electronics, toys, make-up, jewellery, books, furniture… and of course fabulous, fabulous clothes making it the largest department store in Europe. 

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Tiny Moments Of Delight ~ It's The Little Things That Spark Joy

My Oprah A-Ha Moment

A short time ago, after a punishing morning workout on the Wheel Of Pain (spin) as part of my personal reward program I wandered into my local neighbourhood bakery (guilt free-ish) to get myself my usual… a café latte and a fresh baked blueberry muffin. I had earned it. That particular morning something unexpected happened. As I let the sweet warm scent of baking bread, rising yeast, cinnamon, vanilla and sugar enveloped me I instantly was transported into a joyous moment of pure, unquestionable happiness. I inhaled deeply as if to hold in the delicious moment of total bliss for as long as I could. Bakery air I thought. Something as simple as bakery air made me happy. I had been in that bakery before, in fact many times but I had not really paid attention, I’d just grabbed my muffin or warm baguette and leave. But that day for some reason…I was aware…I paid attention and was present…and it in the words of Marie Kondo (look her up)….it sparked joy.

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London’s 8 Weird & Wonderful Urban Legends ~ True…Or A Fantastic Tale?

Don’t you love a good mystery? London is literally overflowing with them. Filled with outrageous tales of venomous vampires, Coco Chanel’s personalized lampposts, rampant rodents and 60,000 parakeets that supposedly belong to legendary rocker Jimi Hendrix. So what is true and what is nothing more than weird and wonderful London folklore? I just had to go digging into London’s most infamous secrets, tales and myths.and find out for myself.

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Top 10 List Of The Most Sung About Places In The World

Going back to the time of The Late Show with David Letterman I had become obsessed about two things, Stupid Pet Tricks and Top Ten Lists. Although it might be more visually entertaining showing you a Rottweiler fit five tennis balls into its toothy mouth I have decided to focus this week’s blog on a Top Ten List I found, one that includes two things I love, London and music.

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Love It Or Hate It, It's Valentine's Day. I Hate it. So Why Am I Writing About it?

This time of year can be brutal. In fact my friend Marco accurately dubbed the time from Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day as “The Mean Season”. A time when being single is never more obvious or inconvenient to all around you. And the horrific climax of the mean season should be no surprise… Valentine’s Day. I have never liked Valentine’s Day. I think for me it falls into the category of being told what to do…and when to do it. Also, if you are only reminding the people you love how you feel 1 day of 365 due to the social pressure of a greeting card company than I think you need to re-examine your relationships. In fact, I think I will start a petition to replace Valentine’s Day with a second Halloween, which I personally think is a genius idea.

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Celebrities & Their London Houses

Brits tend to be far more discrete when it comes to their celebrity worshipping, that is say compared to our Americans friends where there are people literally sitting in folded lawn-chairs outside the stars homes selling maps to their homes. There was no obvious map to the stars in London, and as I am not a tween interested in following some snapchat story about where the latest boyband de-jour might be hanging out I decided to create my own little self guided tour of London celebs and see if I could find the homes of some of London’s elite and infamous. Here is who I found.

Celebrities & Their London Houses

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The English Country Life~ My First Traditional Pheasant Shoot

Since Downtown Abbey I have become obsessed with British period dramas, a genre I am now addicted to mostly thanks to Mathew Crawley (sigh) and Colin Firth (double sigh) as Mr Darcy. So in my binge watching I discovered you would be hard pressed to find in any aristocratic storyline some outing that didn’t have at least one scene around a shoot or hunt. The British elite, royalty, or even peasants (not pheasants) like myself dress in their scratchy wooly tweed and their rubber wellies as they step out on the English countryside, guns and dogs by their side as they prepare for one of England’s longest standing traditions, the shoot.

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A-BROAD IN LONDON’S 5 FAVOURITE THINGS OF 2018

I hope and trust 2019 is off to a great start. I was planning on doing Dry January, you know give my liver and some other internal organs a well deserved break…but my only New Year’s Resolution was don’t make any promises you cannot keep. So sorry Ban-uary, I am coming to you with a glass of Chardonnay by my side, 4:45 BST.

As I was recapping 2018 it was a big year of change for me.  I have moved house, I lost 20 pounds (although gain five back over the holidays) and I have officially changed my Facebook status to single by dropping another 170 pounds. I have a shiny new outlook on my life and I know this time is my time..and that makes me feel happy and empowered like the skinny legend I have become. 

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The Modern Women's Guide For How To Get Over A Break-Up FAST!

Like Neil Sedaka sang, breaking up is hard to do. Now I know that not all breakups are created equal. There is the amicable “it’s not you it’s me” to the “I curse you and your entire bloodline” but the principles are the same to getting past it and moving on. But even if you knew your conscience uncoupling was inventible, a ticking time bomb it can still hurt like a son of a bitch. It can cause the strongest of us to lose ourselves in a vat of Ben & Jerry’s with vodka chasers all the whilst singing All By Myself into a brush handle. Now in my humble opinion that’s a totally acceptable solution for the short term but trust me sooner than later you will actually need to wash your hair, leave your flat, and get your ass into the land of the living. So what is the fastest way to do that?

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The World’s 50 Best Bars...AND 3 of the top 5 are in London....as if You Need Another Reason to go for a drink

London is known for its drinking culture. Raising a pint or two with your mates as you unwind from your day, a shaken not stirred martini or just cuz it’s Tuesday. Nothing in my opinion is more British than a friendly “tying one on”. So it is not surprising that London took 3 of the top 5 spots at The World’s 50 Best Bars competition this year. The judges comprised of more than 500 drink experts around the world. I convinced a girlfriend (I think all I had to say was “cocktail”) and we were off to explore this list and see for ourselves what makes them the World’s Best Bars.

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Cinque Terre, Italy ~ A Perfect Trip For The Senses & The Solo Traveller

Ever since I read Eat, Pray, Love (confession, I never got passed the “Eat” part) I was obsessed with Italy and the idea of exploring that incredible country. The food, the wine and the glourious picturesque landscape. As I was needing to make a hasty retreat out of London (a blog for another time) and looking for a journey that was not only great for the soul but a treat for the rest of my senses I decided to do a three day solo trip to Cinque Terre, my own mini version of Eat Pray Love. I am calling it “Eat, Drink, Repeat and I think I decided I want Chelsea Handler to play me in my movie adaption unless of course if Charlize Theron is dying to play me.

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A Beginner's Guide To London's Social Season or How To Survive Royal Ascot

London is a ever fascinating town. There is always something to see or something going on. No time is this more true than in the spring. They  refer to May and June as "the season". Royal events, galas, Royal Ascot, Henley, Wimbledon and regal garden parties. Of course the dress, protocol and the invites to attend are strict and are hard to come by. But I am going to let you in on how this Canadian girl came to London and got invited to these royal events... became the Queen's biggest stalker ...AND more importantly how you can too. 

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A-BROAD ONBOARD THE ORIENT EXPRESS

When you talk about a bucket list adventure for me riding the Orient Express was right on top of that list.  I mean what other trip has been at the centre of a murder mystery best selling novel and several movies. The Orient Express is everything that you would think it would be. Glamorous, romantic and a very special adventure. Come onboard as I take you inside the world's most famous luxury train ride, The Orient Express. I even found a mysterious man with a moustache to rival Poirot.

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Advice To My 20 Year Old Self or Stuff I Wish I Had Known Sooner

Set aside the coffee, this is a job for alcohol. What happened to me??

I mean my dad did warn me, one day you are going to go to bed and when you wake you'll be 50. Maybe I am freaking out as I have a birthday looming. I’m in my 50’s... but I still feel like I’m in my 20’s…until I hang out with 20 years olds…then it is like nope…I am in my 50’s. I mean who the hell is this person staring me down in the mirror…wait is that a chin hair? Shit really???

 I can try and see that silver lining and feel grateful that wrinkles don’t hurt (physically) but in the end I am not 20 anymore and not all of that is bad. Just recently I was having that conversation with a friend…the one that asks,

"If you could go back in time what advice would you give your 20 year old self? 

The list was interesting. Aside from invest in Apple and buy real estate the conversation was a cathartic one ripe with the wisdom that can only come from a having some mud on the tires. It has been said, life’s tragedy is we get old too soon and wise too late. How very true.

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20 Royal Rules Meghan Must Obey Before She Marries Her Prince

Like most little girls I had a very strong imagination growing up. I played with dolls, I dressed up like a princess and I imagined (pretty much solely thanks to Disney) that someday my prince would come, riding his white horse and whisk me away from my little split-level bungalow in North Toronto to his fabulous castle with a Michelin Star chef and a full time masseuse... and of course live happily ever after. But what every Disney Princess did not know was that behind the castle gates, after that sun had set there lurked the in-laws...ohhhh the Royal in-laws. With their pending pre-nup, royal wedding planner and most importantly the countless rules and regal protocol for marrying into their family. 

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ICONIC ALBUM COVERS SHOT IN LONDON. WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE TODAY???

LONDON'S MOST FAMOUS ALBUM COVER LOCATIONS ~ RE-VISITED

It was Mick Jagger who said anything worth doing is worth over-doing. I would like to add that it is also worth redoing and revisiting. So with my strong love of music and exploring London I went out to re-visit the locations of some of the most famous album covers in music history and see just how they look today. Some were not that easy to find... but others you could not miss. 

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TO MARKET TO MARKET ~ My 5 Favourite Markets in London...And Why I Love Them

 I have enough clothes and shoes...said no woman EVER!

They call it "retail therapy" for a reason and that's because shopping releases endorphins, reduces stress and is cheaper than a psychiatrist. Shopping may even help you live longer (like you need another reason). So in the name public health I have incorporated shopping into my daily healthy lifestyle and started exploring London's markets.

I love the feel of the markets, they have textures, grit, smells, and personalities that you are not going to find strolling down Oxford or Regents Street. Don’t get me wrong, I love that shopping experience too but it you really want to get to know London you cannot do that without experiencing her fabulous markets. You noticed I referred to London in the feminine…that’s because anyone who has so many shoes has to be a girl. 

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