Florence and the Machine

As my days are often dictated by the needs of my kids, running BBC, managing the rental business, planning travel and meals and FaceTime dates and everything else in between, I often find myself in a steady fog of go-go-go. I know I’m not alone here! So this weekend as my cousin Ali and I touched down in Florence I made the conscious decision to let go of all the unnecessary calendar-cramming and iPhone clutching in favor of a brief taste of la dolce vita. The art of sleeping in, taking long showers, sipping espresso and local wine, truly tasting my food, and leisurely perusing through rows and rows of street vendors, and pausing long enough to enjoy the talents of local musicians and artists replaced the art of conquering my never ending to-do list.

We stayed in the casually luxurious Hotel Gallery Art on the Ponte Vecchio, characterised by extraordinarily friendly and helpful staff who provided us an upgrade upon arrival, thoughtful restaurant recommendations and a pocket guide to the best jogging routes through Florence. This impressed me almost as much as the exterior of the building which was artfully outlined by a straight vertical stream of bicycles. Salvatore Ferragamo, owner of the Lungarno collection of hotels, must have a soft spot for the sport as the entire lobby was decorated in hip bicycle themed art. It was a welcome break from the overly fussy foyers you come to expect when traveling through the old cities of Europe.

My cousins Ali, Caitlin and I were all on the same page travel-wise. No one was interested in jam packing the itinerary; rather we took our time exploring the hidden gems of the city while still getting a broader taste of the Tuscan countryside by way of Vespa. There we rode past olive fields and opulent Italian villas, vineyards and basilicas and stopped to smell the roses (and the chianti) at hole-in-the-wall eateries that served up some of the most exquisite morsels of deliciousness one could ask for in a meal.

As we embark on our trip home I look back with a smile and ahead to our new home in Parsons Green that Brian has feverishly been unpacking and settling in during my absence. I am looking forward to getting a head start with all of you tomorrow after pressing the reset button in Florence. Now if I can get my head out of the clouds for a moment I’ll fill you in on what you can expect this week at class:

Monday: isometrics and plyometrics. Isometrics: strength training exercises involving no range of motion (think: planks and bicep curl pulses) and plyos (think high skips and leapfrog). Both will burn fat and build muscle and will leave you feeling invigorated for the rest of the day!

Tuesday: ladder workout! Make sure you have your mats and towels for this.

Wednesday: stairs and scissors. You all know the scissor kick works wonders for sculpting glutes, thighs, and abs, but there are many other Pilates-inspired variations on this simple move which will keep your body challenged and fit. Don’t miss out!

Thursday: ab rehab: a slightly less intense workout to end the week, combining fat melting cardio blitzes with core work leaving you with a sexy 6 pack. We will conclude our week with a therapeutic stretch session.

Don’t forget to send me your Fall Fitness Challenge weekly and cumulative points! Here is your healthy fall recipe. I made this dish last week and it tasted rich and filling. I was pleasantly surprised. The kids gobbled it up too which means I’ll be making it a staple.


Ciao bellas!


Hello all, I hope you all enjoyed your weekend. Some of us more than others perhaps? Ladies at Pizza Pomodoro I’m looking at you!

One of the highlights of this weekend was dinner at Peruvian restaurant Coya by Hyde Park Corner with Brian’s Hong Kong colleagues and one of my old Yahoo friends who is here in London on a brief work assignment. We feasted on small plates and seasonal cocktails in a hipper than usual ambience for this old mum. Today we got out for a quick jog in the morning followed by an intense packing session at home (we’re moving next weekend!). Everything we placed in a box was promptly removed by Micky. He seems to be partial to small, sharp, and/or poisonous objects. Good times. I look forward to hearing about what you all were up to! Ainsley how was the move? Julie how are you feeling? Are you mentally preparing for the Red Sox to smoke the Cardinals in the World Series? 😉 I look forward to hearing what the rest of you were up to in class tomorrow! Here’s what to expect:

Monday: Simon Says! Does anyone remember this game from growing up? Simon says you will be getting a very good workout tomorrow so don’t miss out.

Tuesday: HIIT! High Intensity Interval Training is on the lips of every celebrity trainer here and abroad. Come find out why this workout is a favorite both of beginners and of seasoned athletes. We will be intermittently escalating the intensity on all exercises, and follow with brief periods of rest to rev our metabolism, burn fat, and feel 1,000 times better than you did when you dragged your lifeless body out of bed that morning.

Wednesday: who was sore from last week’s stair workout? We will be experimenting with new exercises to complement our stair routine this week. Get involved.

Thursday: Yoga and cardio has been a hit! I’m really glad you are enjoying it. We will freshen up the routine with new calming poses to keep our energy levels high and get the endorphins flowing.

Congratulations to Katy Davis, winner of last week’s Fall Fitness Challenge! Don’t forget to check here for a list of ways to earn points:keepcalmandcarrylollipops.wordpress.com. You are all doing so well and I hope you are enjoying the group recipes and workouts. Don’t forget to email me your weekly and cumulative points as there is a pretty great prize for the winner: 10 free classes and 5 for a new friend to try it out with you!

Here is your weekly recipe:

Baked Chipotle Sweet Potato and Zucchini Fritters

1/4 cup “Pure” butter (sunflower seed butter)

1 large egg (or flax egg)

2 tsp chipotle seasoning

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

2 tbsp alond or oat flour

3 cups coarsely grated sweet potato

2 cups coarsely grated zucchini (Bonus: you get a bicep workout from all the grating!)


combine sweet potato, zucchini, chipotle seasoning and salt with a couple tablespoons of the flour, melted “butter”, and a beaten egg/ flax egg. Form the patties (it will feel like soggy globs of vegetables, forge on).

Bake the fritters at 200C for about 10 minutes. Lower the temp to 190C for another 15 minutes, then carefully flip patties over and bake until sufficiently browned (about 10-15 more minutes). Tastes delish with Franks Red Hot Sauce or spicy honey mustard!




Buggy Bootcamp Week Ahead

Hello all!

I hope you all managed to stay dry on this less-than-stellar day! Last night we enjoyed an EXCELLENT meal at Osteria Basilica in Notting Hill. All you foodies out there will want to add this gem to your dining bucket list in the near future. And when you do, add 2 to your reservation as Brian and I will want to join you. The food was so fresh and the service was excellent. Today we were planning on meeting a photographer in the park to get a Christmas card photo but ended up postponing it. Instead we bussed it out to a soft play centre to kill some time indoors. What do you all do with your children on days like today? Do tell. I could really use some new ideas.

Speaking of rain, a lot of you have been asking: how will we know if our workout is still on during a rain shower? Answer: your workout will very rarely be canceled. We do after all, live in London and therefore we should all have proper rain covers and rain gear for ourselves in case of rain. If it is canceled, I will email you all as soon as possible and will also post it on Facebook.com/buggybootcamphydepark. However, if it is lightly drizzling, we will meet at our usual spot by the Serpentine Kitchen and then head over to the nearby covered gazebo. This week’s forecast is looking a bit damp so I do have a call in to Whole Foods to use their room indoors. If it is available and we need it, I will email you all ASAP. On a side note, if anyone knows of an indoor space (church, leisure center, store, etc.) that is centrally located and may be open to letting us run our classes through the winter, please let me know.

I won’t bore you with my favorite rainy day joke.

On second thought yes I will.

Why does Snoop Dogg carry an umbrella?
“Fo drizzle!”

Here is what we have on the agenda for the next few days:

Minute Monday: You can do anything for a minute. Tomorrow’s class will be a perfect mix of cardio and strength training, alternating small and large muscle movements for an all-over burn.

Tummy Tuesday: I know, I know… You all want your pre-pregnancy abs back! Let’s combine focused core work with fat-burning cardio to make it happen.

Wednesday: Stairs! You know you love them. A little. Not that much. Ok, not at all. But hey, they are pretty effective in getting you fit fast. So plan on being there!

Thursday: Pilates and light cardio. We have some brand new stretches and poses specially designed for new mums so let’s finish the week strong.

Congratulations to Julie Furtwengler, who tallied up the most points last week on the Fall Fitness Challenge! Who will be this week’s winner? Please continue to keep track of your points and email me when you have a chance. I am so, so excited and inspired by all of you who are participating, and hope you are finding that the little changes are making a big difference.

Cecelia, Micky and Finn on the top of Primrose Hill




Hello Sunshine!

Happy perfect fall day everyone! Congratulations to Molly Rosedale on finishing the half marathon in 1:59! You couldn’t ask for a better day to get out and pound the pavement. Did anyone else run? Extra points to you Molly on the Fall Fitness Challenge and also to Julia Griffith-Jones who was spotted running past 4 sloth-like Hollands on Saturday morning on Kings Road. How did everyone else do? Don’t forget to tally up and email me your points for the week. 1 week down, 9 to go. Let’s start off strong and keep each other motivated through to the end!

This week we will be switching up our routines and keeping things fresh. Here is what’s ahead:

Monday: we haven’t done a circuit training workout in a while… Let’s give it a go tomorrow morning!

Tuesday: tone and tighten! We will be using our bands in new ways to carve out more defined arms, abs, and legs. Get ready to sweat 😉

Wednesday: Tabata workout on the stairs! 20 seconds high intensity followed by 10 seconds rest. Bring a friend for moral support!

Thursday: Three Set Thursday! Plenty of light cardio and fun strength training drills to end the week.

Last spring Brian and I took the kids on a nearly PERFECT family vacation to the Algarve coast in Portugal. We stayed at the Sheraton Pine Cliffs and enjoyed a week of swimming at the pool, sunbathing on the private beach, tennis, golf, spa, and delicious meals. The accommodations were so comfortable, staff was incredibly friendly, the weather was gorgeous, and the flight was too easy (only 2 hours from London to Faro). Our entire trip was arranged by a company called Tots Too, who specialize in family holidays. If anyone is planning a holiday with the little ones I can’t recommend this company enough! My contact Mark Sumpter arranged everything from babysitting to the Kids Club to dinner reservations to car seats on the transfers to our groceries waiting for us the fridge when we arrived. When we returned home I reached out to him to let him know just how positive our experience was. From there we have developed a partnership and Mark has given me an exclusive offer to extend to all Buggy Bootcamp members! Here are the deets:

Mark Sumpter
If you do email him make sure you congratulate him (his wife is expecting and will be joining Buggy Bootcamp this spring!)

The trip is based on stays in 2 and 3 bedroom Pine Cliffs Residence Suites:
Stays between 1st May and 31st October 2014
Bookings made by 31 December 2013
20% Discount on Accommodation Rates
Free Upgrade from Self Catering to Half Board*
Offer for a maximum of 2 Adults + 2 Children (0-12 years old).
All extra guests sharing the same Suite have to be booked on the same board basis and are charged.
The above offer excludes the following dates of travel : 23rd May- 2nd June and 18th July 31st August 2014

All this plus an extra £30 just for BBC-ers to use toward a meal, babysitting, spa, etc., so make sure you mention it in your correspondence!

If you are doing your Fall Fitness Challenge, make sure to tally up all your points and email me. Hold yourself accountable and encourage others too. We are all going to be feeling and looking like the best version of ourselves by Christmas! If you need to re-visit the point structure just scroll down for last week’s blog post.

Here is a delicious recipe to keep up your clean eating regime through the next few weeks:

Baked Sweet Potatoes with Sundried tomatoes and Olives
(The combination of sweet and salty is too good to be true!)

2 medium sweet potatoes
2 oz. black olives, pitted and chopped
1 oz packed sundried tomatoes thinly chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp fresh oregano
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 200C
Pierce each potato with a fork
Bake about 45-60 minutes, let cool
Mix together remaining ingredients in small bowl
Slice baked sweet potatoes lengthwise down the center, top with mixture and serve piping hot