Monique is a trainee nutritionist (and lawyer by day) who is currently completing a degree in Health Science (Nutritional Medicine). Originally from Sydney and currently based in London, Monique is passionate about encouraging everyone to eat and enjoy simple, natural whole foods which leave you feeling energised and nourished. She publishes healthy recipes and blogs nutrition tips on her website nourisheveryday.com
THE BEST WAY TO SPEND 24 HOURS IN LONDON FOR THE WELLNESS MINDED TRAVELLER…
My favourite brekky spot in London, hands down, is Granger & Co. (is that cheating if Bill Granger has Aussie heritage?! We do it best guys.) Have a classic like rye topped with avocado + fresh lime or Bill’s ricotta hotcakes, or sample a unique healthy plate of courgette fritters with tahini yoghurt and a cold-pressed juice. There is a branch just next to King’s Cross Station (or you can also dine in Clerkenwell or Notting Hill) that is very central as it connects you to a heap of the tube lines for getting around London. Another gorgeous and delicious centrally located option is a beautiful cafe called The Modern Pantry; if it’s sunny when you’re visiting then definitely stop in at the original Clerkenwell branch and get an outdoor courtyard table.
Chances are you are going to spend some time shopping around Oxford Street in central London during your visit. If you want something fresh, quick and healthy then The Detox Kitchen or Ethos Foods have got you sorted. Both places are veggie heavy with an amazing array of different house salads prepared daily; you can pick what exactly which ones you’d like (which I always love!). Ethos is meat-free. Also, if you want something fast and economical don’t be afraid to pop into one of the chain stores like Pret A Manger, Pod, Leon or Itsu. A lot of these places have relatively healthy options like boiled egg and spinach pots, shredded kale salads or sashimi boxes and they have branches absolutely everywhere! Convenience rules in London, and not all of the options are bad. I also really love the hummus bowls at Hummus Bros (you get to top them with delish things like smoky aubergine, guacamole and spiced chicken), a small chain located around central London. They also have gluten free sweet potato falafels!
AFTERNOON TEA AND SWEET TREATS:
Before you depart the city centre, pop in to Wild Food Cafe in Covent Garden and sample a slice of raw cake and a pot of tea. These sweets really are beautiful, artistic and delicious slices of indulgence. For something more portable, pop in to Retreat Cafe or Roots & Bulbs for a raw brownie or bliss ball with a juice or smoothie to go. If you want something a little more naughty (and the weather permits) indulge in a scoop or two of the gelato or sorbet from Gelupo. They have insanely great flavours like ricotta stracciatella, blood orange, and amaretti and apricot. (At the time of writing I was also reliably informed that Gelupo offer massive gelato discounts when it’s raining, which if you know London...can happen anytime!)
Yottam Ottolenghi’s restaurants - both his namesake Ottolenghi and the upmarket NOPI - are truly excellent. It’s nourishing, vegetable-rich fare (plus amazing desserts) that’s also totally mainstream trendy; everyone wants go here so make sure you book ahead! I love being able to scope out the gorgeous salad platters as you walk in so you know exactly what you’re getting. Book a table at the Spitalfields branch of Ottolenghi and hang out with the healthy hipsters in East London for the evening. If you’re out in West London, raw food restaurant Nama Foods in Notting Hill is also a lovely spot for a super healthy evening meal (try the Thai Coconut Curry served on kohlrabi rice).
SHOPPING (FARMERS MARKETS/HEALTH FOOD STORES):
If you’re a bit of a foodie (healthy or otherwise!) a trip to London wouldn’t be complete without a wander through Borough Market; it’s crazily packed on weekends but is always fun. Grab a coffee from Monmouth just on the edge of the market to fuel you through. A smaller but lively market to check out is Broadway Market in east London. If you need to pick up your usual healthy supplies, Planet Organic and Wholefoods branches are scattered through London. They also have cafes built in to them where you can pick up mixed salads, smoothies and hot drinks, which is handy. I also love As Nature Intended, a smaller chain of health food stores with lots of yummy on-the-go snack food plus larger grocery items and cosmetics.
ACTIVITIES (YOGA STUDIOS, EXERCISE CLASSES, HIKING, WALKING, WORKSHOPS ETC):
London is such a flat, walkable city; I think that the best form of holiday exercise is just strolling everywhere. You can also the use Santander Cycles bikes all throughout the city and bike your way around (they’re really cheap to rent and easy to ride!). However, if you really crave organised exercise, you can try…
- barre is really taking off in London; I love going to Xtend Barre in the city but there are also different barre options, mainly in West London;
- Move Your Frame, with branches in Shoreditch, Queen’s Park and Kings Cross, offers a range of upbeat classes from 80’s aerobics to pilates to kettlebells;
- Psycle is where it’s at if you wanna get spinning;
- if you’d rather stretch it out then…get bendy at Indaba Yoga which often hosts really great weekend workshops, if you can time your visit to coincide with one (I did a workshop with BeachYogaGirl and loved it!); or
- if you can handle the early start try Sky High Yoga, a vinyasa style class that takes place in a beautiful glass atrium at the top of the Sky Garden building in the city. Discount for the adjoining brasserie for a post-yoga brekky included!
BEAUTY (ORGANIC SPAS, MASSAGE, FACIALS, NAIL/HAIR SALONS):
Content Beauty in Marylebone is a leader in the organic beauty stakes in London. They offer a range of facials and other beauty treatments using natural beauty products free of nasties. They are also a store where you can pick up some chemical-free skincare to replenish yourself after your plane flight! I’ve also been to my local Angelica Retreat up in Islington for a few beauty treatments using local natural beauty brand REN Skincare and have been really pleased with the service there, too.