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ZeroFat iR1 launch: burn it off on a bike!

Last week, I was one of the first people in the country to try a brand new piece of exercise equipment called the ZeroFat iR1. I came away really impressed and excited to share my experience with you all, so here goes!

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What is ZeroFat iR1?

It looks like an exercise bike from Star Trek – a seriously impressive piece of kit! The reclining bike itself is surrounded by infrared light lamps, which slide back and forth to allow you entry. Once inside, you settle down on the reclined seat, and allow the infrared light to shine on you as you peddle for your session!

What are the benefits of ZeroFat iR1, and how does it work?

Using the infrared light therapy, the machine can reportedly promote skin health, leading to anti-aging results, boosting collagen and reducing fine lines and cellulite. Obviously, as this is also a low-impact cardio machine, you’re going to lose weight at the same time -provided, of course, you eat at a caloric deficit as well as exercise (remember – you can’t outrun your fork!). Mind you, the claim is that the bike can increase your calorie burn by 44%, and a 45-minute session can burn 800 calories, which would put pretty much anyone at a decent deficit for the day! It also has a low-frequency magnetic therapy seat unit which can help reduce swelling and improve circulation. While you pedal, you can watch TV or browse the internet with the integrated touch-screen Android tablet, which is situated in front of your head.

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What is the ZeroFat iR1 like to use?

First of all, I have to say again, the appearance of the bike is hugely impressive, and very futuristic. The unit with the lights attached moves backwards so you can hop in and recline on the seat, raising your legs slightly to reach the pedals. The unit will then slide back over your head, until the Android tablet and controls are just over your face. You end up being slightly enclosed by the machine, which might make some people feel claustrophobic, but I didn’t have an issue with it at all. Once you’re seated, you can adjust the seat and the pedals until everything feels comfortable (and protip, if you adjust the seat portion to 99%, you can engage your abs as well to give an added boost to your workout!). I’ve never used a reclining exercise bike before, but it was much more relaxing than my usual upright bike – and with the bonus of helping your posture too. Often I’ll find myself hunched over the bike with a rounded back, which isn’t really great – but with the reclining seat, you don’t have to worry about all of that.

The heatlamps can be turned up or down depending on your level of comfort, but I decided to have them up as high as possible for the purposes of the review. I usually don’t enjoy sunbathing or hot weather, and I’ve never sat under a heat lamp, but I found the infrared light therapy very pleasant. The heat added to the intensity of the workout, and by the end, I was sweating all over. As far as perceived effort goes, it’s a great ego-boost, and my skin really did feel glowing when it was over.


Thanks to the touch screen tablet, which came pre-loaded with YouTube, the session flew by, and at the end, even though I’d put in my normal amount of effort and burned over 700 calories (according to the machine’s readout, anyway), I didn’t feel overly taxed or sore.

My personal experience of using the ZeroFat iR1

I obviously cannot vouch for any of the health and wellness claims made by ZeroFat, because measuring caloric output is a lot more complicated than watching a number on your exercise machine go up. All I can tell you is my own, honest opinion of my experience.

I really, really enjoyed using the machine, and I definitely felt exhilarated once I’d finished – a combination of natural endorphins released during exercise, and the effects of the infrared light (which can not only boost mood, but also increase your metabolism!). What I can tell you as well is that on Friday I recorded a calorie intake of nearly 1500, which is a lot more than I usually eat (and was probably a conservative estimate, as I had beef bibimbap for lunch and a teriyaki salmon bento box for dinner). The following day I recorded a weight loss of 0.8lb, which is pretty incredible. I can’t claim it was all down to the ZeroFat iR1, but as some anecdotal evidence, I think it’s pretty nifty!

I also have to quickly mention DOMS – delayed onset muscle soreness. I’ve been struggling with it pretty much daily since I started working out, with aching legs, arms, and even bum causing me a fair amount of discomfort. It’s a sad side effect of starting a new exercise regime, but at least it shows that it’s working! I honestly didn’t pay much attention to the ZeroFat iR1’s magnetic therapy seat at first, but as if by magic, all my soreness and achy muscles have gone away since I used it!

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Would I use the ZeroFat iR1 again?

In a heartbeat. I love using the exercise bike anyway, as it’s a low-impact form of cardio that burns calories efficiently while you read, watch TV, or do whatever. But the ZeroFat iR1’s reclining seat was even more relaxing than a normal bike, and I was really impressed by how effective the magnetic therapy seat was. Also, the infrared light therapy really did boost my mood and make my workout feel more effective. I haven’t used the bike enough to be able to stand by any of the long term benefits that the bike is claimed to promote, but the one session I had made me want to get right back in the saddle again!

ZeroFat is new to the UK market and will be available nationwide. Check out the website www.zerofat.co.uk for more information.


Promotional images via www.zerofat.co.uk. My session on the machine was complimentary for the purposes of review, and my opinions and text are my own.

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Rosé up this Valentine’s Day!

What better way to start Valentine’s Day than with some post from Provence Wines, containing this little beauty?! The Chateau La Gordonne Rose Verite du Terroir Cotes de Provence is available now from Ocado for £14.99.


I’ve written before about how versatile rosé is, but when it comes to Valentine’s Day, you can’t really pick a more romantic wine (unless we’re going full-on champagne!). The delicate pink colour of this pale rosé makes it look just the ticket for a meal in, or pre-dinner drinks before you pop out to a restaurant with your beloved. With a bouquet of heady, ripe red fruits, and a balanced citrus aroma, this is the perfect wine to take you from Valentine’s Day, all the way through into summer. Can’t you imagine sipping this in the garden with the sun shining on your face?!


(Thanks to Provence Wines for sending me a bottle for Valentine’s Day! My review and photos are my own.)

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Replikates for Gerard Darel Joesphine Shirt

Kate Style: Dress Like The Duchess of Cambridge for Less

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Last month, Kate wore this pretty little ruffled collar shirt from Gerard Darel under a green Hobbs jacket at an EACH engagement. Priced at £105 (already reduced from £175), this top was pricey, but sold out almost right away. A stock refresh recently sold out too, apart from one lone item in size 44, which you can purchase here.

I love this clean, preppy look (and I actually prefer it without the jacket!), so I went hunting for some replikates!

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By far the best one I’ve found is this one from La Redoute – it has the same black border around the collar, as well as that cute black bow. Plus, it’s only £39!

Or, also from La Redoute, this cute ruffled front version, now on sale for £20!

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This one has sharp edges on the collar, and no black piping, but it does have that lovely bow at the front – and doesn’t it look pretty with that black skirt?!

Another low-cost option is from Mango, for $39.99 – a great, simple shirt with a peter pan collar and bow.

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Have you found a great replikate for this item yet? And how are you styling yours? I think black jeans or a black skirt, along with some brightly coloured accessories, would look fab!

 

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Calorie restriction: keeping those hunger pangs at bay

When I’m dieting, I try to stick to 1200 calories a day. I’ll confess, I sometimes go lower. The Fast Diet is a pretty well-respected method for dieting that sees subjects take two 500 calorie days a week, and eat what they like the rest of the time. In a more hardcore version of this, dieters can restrict themselves to 1200 calories on the non-fasting days. This was my inspiration for my calorie counting in the first few weeks of the diet. Hard, yes. Dangerous? I don’t think so. Unprecedented? Not at all! In fact, calorie restriction may actually lead to not just weight loss, but better health all around. (As I keep saying, everyone is different, and none of this information is being presented to you as my weight loss guide for general consumption.)

So, what works best for me? First of all, skipping breakfast. Breakfast is the Holy Grail of dieting. The advice used to be that you should never, ever skip breakfast. Eating first thing was supposed to kickstart your metabolism, and besides, isn’t there that saying, “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and supper like a pauper”?

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Actually, this is one of the reasons I keep researching, keep listening to the latest advice, and constantly re-evaluate my approach. What’s accepted wisdom now might not be in five years’ time. Even with the exercise DVDs I do, I can tell how much the science of physical exercise has moved on from each era I workout in. The effectiveness of various forms of nutrition and exercise is a notoriously hard field to research, because human trials are difficult and expensive, and thanks to ethics, sometimes completely impossible to do properly.

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So, if you’re like me, and aren’t bothered about eating first thing, then take heart – it’s perfectly okay to delay your meal until you’re ready!

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The second thing I’ll do is eat a very light lunch. Fruit and yogurt, or a smoothie, or soup, or a sandwich, or even a low calorie omelette – enough to keep me going through the day. Avoiding hunger pangs is my aim here, and for that I really like taking psyllium husks. Sounds scary and weird, but actually it’s just a capsule full of indigestible fibre, which you take with water around 30-60 minutes before a meal. The water mixes with the fibre and creates a gel in your stomach which gives a feeling of fullness, helping you to stave off hunger while you adjust to smaller portion sizes. When I first heard about psyllium husks I thought they were too good to be true, so I did a lot of research to find out what the catch is. Well, there isn’t one – as long as you use them according to the directions, and have a normal digestive system (i.e. you’re not suffering from a condition or disease that presents itself in your digestive system), there’s no sinister drawbacks or horrible surprises waiting. In fact, these are very much like the zero noodles that were a huge craze a while back – the same principle of indigestible fibre helping you to feel full. Here’s a link to purchase some if you’re interested!

Onto dinner. My magic hack for low calorie consumption is simple. When every calorie counts and I’m dieting for fast results, I avoid over-complicating things, and I also avoid temptation. So, I pretty much avoid cooking as much as I can. I love cooking, but it’s a sure fire way for me to start wasting food (by throwing out ingredients which I’m not going to be able to eat the full package of) and complicating my day. There’s also always the issue of temptation… Should I just finish off this bag of potatoes for an extra 100 calories? This doesn’t look like enough rice, should I pop in 25g more? This would taste better if I added x, y, z… Instead of doing all that, I’ll grab either a ready meal, or a box recipe delivery like Hello Fresh or Gousto. Both of these companies have low-calorie options which taste great, and reduce waste and temptation. And ready meals get a bad rep, but they are delicious and calorie controlled – most of them keep fresh for days, and depending on where you buy them, you can get some truly delicious and super healthy options! When selecting a ready meal, I never buy any that go over 600 calories. If you’re doing something like the 5:2 diet (five days of normal consumption, two days of less than 500 calories) then ready meals can take the pressure off, as there are loads of options and some even hover around 300 calories, giving you a chance for a low-calorie soup or cereal bar for lunch or breakfast.

With these hacks to make dieting easier for myself, sticking to a diet when eating at home isn’t really that difficult at all! Every person is different, though, so if you have any tips of your own, please share them with me below!

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Valentine’s Day Sharing Menu at Island Grill, Lancaster London

Island Grill The Lancaster Valentine's Day bar

Last month I was invited to sample the Island Grill’s Valentine’s Day menu at the Lancaster London. As my husband was working, I took along my best friend Rachel. Since trying the nine dish extravaganza, we’ve fallen in love and have both run off together. That’s how good it was.

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Variety is the spice of life: getting my groove back

I’m not the kind of person who does very well with the same thing, over and over. I like routine, but I hate monotony. I love playing computer games, but if I have to do the same level more than three times, it’s literally game over.

Exercise can often be a dull task, let’s face it. I’ve tried plenty of things in the past, but it’s never stuck. Judo, kickboxing, running, yoga, belly-dancing, going to the gym… I love all of these things and I’d do them again tomorrow, but not every day, every week, for years and years and years.

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My weight-loss history: a concrete goal is the key

Right, I promised I’d tell you what I’ve been up to this past week and a half, weight-loss wise, but actually, I think the best way to start this ongoing journey is to give a bit of context. The last time I embarked on a successful weight loss project, I was losing weight for my wedding. I ended up going from around 10-11 stone to just over 8 (around 160lbs to 118lbs). The secret of my success really boiled down to one thing – an immovable, unyielding deadline. I hated the way I looked and I wanted to look as good as I could on my wedding day – for me, that meant losing weight (and learning how to use make-up properly!).

The last time I embarked on a successful weight loss project, I was losing weight for my wedding. I ended up going from around 10-11 stone to just over 8 (around 140-150lbs to 118lbs). The secret of my success really boiled down to one thing – an immovable, unyielding deadline. I hated the way I looked and I wanted to look as good as I could on my wedding day – for me, that meant losing weight (and learning how to use make-up properly!).

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Fitness is a form of self-love: a confession 

Guys, this has been a really hard blog post to write, so please be gentle with me…

Last summer, I told you I was taking a long hard look at myself following a fairly bleak period in my life. Depression, self-destruction and self-neglect were unfortunate side effects of a death in the family – which had already been preceded by two more over the space of a few years, all just before or just after Christmas. I don’t often get too personal on my blog, but it’s really confession time here: I’ve let myself go.

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The White Star Tavern: Modern British Cuisine In Southampton 

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Since 2002, The White Star Tavern has been nestled in Southampton’s Oxford Street – a mecca for foodies and home to some of the best restaurants in the city. The White Star Tavern is the jewel in the crown – a gorgeous gastro pub (the first in the city!) complete with dining room, serving fantastic, modern British cuisine. In fact, it was awarded a 2 star rosette by the AA in 2010 (and is the only venue in Southampton to hold this honour). I love the fact that TWST partners with Hampshire Fare to source ingredients from the local area whenever possible. This creates a showcase for some fantastic produce, and means that menu changes with the season, too. Continue reading

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Snack Attack! Eat Beautifully with Itsu!

Bonus: why you need iodine, and what the heck is sirtfood?

I’m a Japanese food fan, and a snack queen, so when Itsu asked me if I wanted to try their range, I jumped at the chance. (It felt like I’d only just left Tokyo before I wanted to go back again!)

Istu crispy seaweed thins and miso soups

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