Balance Festival – A Super Healthy Weekend in London

Our healthy weekend in London

A couple of weeks ago, my friend and I went away for a super healthy weekend in London. We got all dressed-up in our beloved activewear and took the 7:30am fight from Newquay to the big smoke.

The idea of a healthy weekend in London was definitely a first for me. Normally when visiting the capital, my stomach rules and I get sucked into all the various yummy food establishments and cocktail bars that you don’t see in Cornwall… And this was still true of this trip, the next meal and drink was still the hot topic. However this was even more exciting, because this time we wanted to check out some of the best healthy food joints…the ones that make your husband or BF shudder because of the lack of burgers or fry-ups on the menus.

Alongside the food, one of our main reasons for planning a healthy weekend in London was the balance festival. Held at the Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch, the Balance Festival claims to be one of the UK’s largest festivals dedicated to wellness. It’s one of those I have seen popping up on my Instagram for a while, and it looked worth checking out.

 

Flight from Newquay to London

 

First things first…brunch

Once we had touch ground and negotiated busy Gatwick on a Saturday morning, we headed straight into Central London for brunch. Deliciously Ella’s Deli is a big hit for both my friend and I, therefore we decided that our first pit stop would be her cafe on Weighhouse Street in Mayfair. We love the simplicity of the delicious, healthy and natural dishes you can choose from.

I have tried out the oats in the past, therefore it was pretty unsurprising that this time I chose the acai bowl…with this being my favourite all time breakfast. I was so pleased with my choice, especially as the almond butter on top was so tasty. However, I did get massive food envy after tasting Kim’s beans and sweetcorn fritters…they were totally delish!

 

Deliciously Ella's Deli

Acai Bowl, deliciously Ella

Healthy Beans on Toast

 

Balance Festival

After brunch we stomped over to Shoreditch to join other fitness lovers at the festival. Once we had checked in, we had about an hour spare before the fitness classes we had booked on started.

The Festival was spread out over three floors at the Old Truman Brewery. This is how I would best describe the layout in a nutshell:

  • The Ground level is dedicated to yoga and mindfulness, including space for yoga, a meditation tent as well as stores selling yoga apparel. On this level there is also a stage called The Lab, that held really interesting talks on careers in wellness, plant based diets and body consciousness etc. Sadly we did’t get to see any of the talks we wanted to due to a clash with the fitness classes we had booked on.
  • Level 1 is a mixture of spaces for fitness classes, places to eat, the live cooking theatre, as well as a marketing hall full of exhibitors promoting the latest healthy fitness snacks, protein powders and dairy free milks etc.
  • Level 2 held the main stage where fitness experts came together to create workouts exclusive to balance festival. There was also more class space as well as the village selling more fitness gear.

On arrival our inner child got so excited in the market hall, we stuffed our faces with the nicest of healthy drinks and snacks. Not giving much thought to the fitness class we were shortly due to start.

After munching our way through the market hall, we trotted along to join the 45 minute Xtend Barre class…which we absolutely loved by the way! If you haven’t experienced it before, Barre is a dynamic fitness class that combines pilates and dance. As you can imagine it’s super fun, a great class for cardio training and it really works your core. I have to admit after the copious amounts of tasters and the heat we built up during class, I felt quite sick after.

Once we freshened up,  we smooched around some more and made a few purchases. We then mad our way down the ground level for yoga.

Yoga was a bit of a suprise. We didn’t really do much research when booking our classes and I didn’t notice that were booking onto Kundalini yoga. To be honest after the many year of practicing yoga, it’s not even one I have heard of. So after 5 minutes of chanting it began to dawn on me that perhaps it wasn’t going to be a regular vinyasa or ashtanga practice. We continued to chant for a further 20 minutes until the class drew to an end. For those of you that also don’t know, it turns out that Kundalini yoga is a quite a spiritual practice that incorporates mediation, channeling energy and chanting of the chakras. The myth behind it is that we have in fact 10 bodies, not one, therefore the practice aims to awaken all of them. You can read more about it at yoga journal here. I’m not sure Kundalini yoga practice is for me. I much prefer a practice that involves more movement. However it is always good to experience new practices…perhaps it’s one I will come back to in the future.

 

Note to self – 

  • I recommend booking a whole day next time. 1/2 day wasn’t enough time to fit everything in. I would have loved to have watched more cooking demo, listened to some chats as well as made a visit to the career clinic.
  • Don’t book classes and date in a rush. I didn’t really do enough research before booking tickets and I felt pressurised to book classes as class time slots were starting to get taken.
  • Balance festival is great for trying out new fitness classes as well as getting new food inspiration. Since being back I have been planning my weekly meals and eating really well.

 

Avocado Man

Balance Festival workouts

Balance Festival tasters

Balance Festival

 

Last Supper

Before flying home the next day we had one last ‘must have’ meal at The Wild Food Cafe in Neals yard, Covent Garden.

Wild Food Cafe London

Gatwick to Newquay Flight

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