Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Review: Polar M400

Hey guys!

I'm here to review the Polar M400 today. Ever since the introduction of Instagram and social media, people have been jumping on the bandwagon to get into the habit of keeping healthy and fit. I've had my polar ft70 for the past 5 years, and I figured it was time for a change. I've been eyeing on watches that don't just count calories burned but calculates the distance ran, monitoring different workouts and how hard you've pushed yourself. Enter the Polar M400.

I've been a huge fan of Polar ever since I've gotten into the habit of running. I know there are several other brands like Garmin that also specialise in sports watches, but Polar's price range is much more reasonable and in addition I enjoy switching my exercises up. I do enjoy running but I was looking for a watch that could determine how hard I worked out during any type of exercise.

I think the beauty of the M400 is that it does almost anything you could ask for. Although it's not a touch screen watch, it is waterproof, has a running programme, recovery status AND gets alerts for your incoming calls, received messages and push notifications! The watch has an internal GPS which monitors how far you've ran, and although it does take a little while for the GPS sensor to pick up, everything else works perfect. 

It creates automatic laps for you so you're aware of how long you take for each km/mile and at the end of each session, tells you how far you've ran, the calories burned and the duration taken. If you hit the down button, it'll tell you your fat percentage burned (something I don't really take into account but it's good for those that do), your cadence and your running index (which helps you to monitor the quality of your runs).

If you're like me and you enjoy HIIT sessions or anything other than outdoor running, polar allows you to create your own unique sports profiles to ensure optimum tracking. This way you're able to really know how hard you've worked, and you can review your intensity levels online after you've synced your device or on the watch, which tells you how long you've been in each zone. It's also great when you're midway working and you find yourself not pushing as hard as you'd like. There are profiles like outdoor sports, bootcamp and circuit training.

The M400 keeps track of your daily activity. The little boxes beside the dates are workouts that you've done each day, and this serves as a small motivation to get your butt out of the house to earn those squares! It's really satisfying to see majority of your days with little boxes beside them, and I'm sure you'd feel the same way too :)

You'll also be able to track your 'active time' and total calories burnt for the entire day (that is if you wear the watch even after your workout), in addition to the number of steps taken. It's amazing how I have to actually exercise to hit a miserable 8000 steps... Do I spend most of my time sitting down!? (The average person is suppose to take 10,000 steps a day) And although almost every other fitness watch does track this, the M400 just has added bonuses which makes this an overall great watch to own.

One of the few things I really love about the M400 and Polar is how you're able to see if you're improving and to keep up with goals you've set for yourself. The running index gives you valuable information about your maximal aerobic running performance and the calculation is based on heart rate and speed data measured during a run.

So whether you’re training for a specific goal or just running to keep fit and healthy, seeing progress is usually what keeps us motivated. With the Running Index report online you can easily monitor your progress and see how your running performance develops over time. You can also link it up to MyFitnessPal (iOS only) to keep track of your nutrition.

Charging is simple. Like a smartphone, plug the wire from the back of the watch into a port and charge for about 3-4 hours. The battery lasts for about a week which is pretty amazing in my opinion.

The only con I can think of (apart from the slightly longer time it takes to pick up GPS) is the one/two times I've encountered an issue when doing burpees. My wrist presses the top left hand button causing the backlight to light up. But it's not that big of a deal, and only happens from time to time.

The Polar M400 comes in black, blue, pink and white. I initially ordered a white one off amazon but for some reason got the black one instead. After much contemplation I realised the black would be better cos the white may turn yellow after a while. It's a tad bit too masculine for me (I'm not really able to use it as a day to day watch) but if it means it'll last longer, I'm all for having chunky wrists. 

The Polar M400 does require you to have the polar heart rate monitor (HRM) and strap (not pictured), which can be bought together or separately. I got mine separately so I'm not too sure if you'd require the bluetooth HRM or the normal one for the M400. Do check before purchasing!

The Polar M400 retails from £119 with the HRM on Amazon and £92.80 without. If you can find 2nd hand watches at almost brand new condition, go for those! Save your money.


I hope this review helps anyone thinking of getting a fitness watch. It's not the prettiest out there, but it certainly does the job if you're looking for an all rounder watch that tracks almost any workout you do, and the zones you're in during your exercise.


Monday, 22 February 2016

Trib3: More than just a workout

Ever since I've been more occupied with school work, I've gotten hooked onto the idea of high intensity interval training (HIIT). For those of you that need a little breakdown on what HIIT is, it comprises of doing high intensity exercises that shoot your heart rate up for a short period of time 5-7 mins) for a number of rounds for 30-45 minutes. 

Being in a smaller city like Sheffield, you rarely find boutique gyms as you would in London which specialise in good HIIT sessions. One of the reasons I've been on the lookout for such a place is because I've attended Barry's Bootcamp in London and I loved it. Think doing the shaun T insanity workout but suffering with 30 other people in the room - it's that intense and that much more motivating. I'm not too sure if that means I'm a masochist (i hope not!) but recreating that feeling with home workouts sometimes just doesn't cut it. In addition my wallet always felt much lighter after attending each session @ barry's -cue sad music for wallet-

So I stumbled across TRIB3 on my way home one day and did a little google search on it. Located just above Sainsbury's along Eccessall Road, this boutique gym recently opened in January 2016. From the website itself, TRIB3 prides itself in being a bootcamp gymnasium where 'we savour the pain'. Perfect! Booked in for my free trial class over the weekend and off I went.

I'm a sucker for interior design, and I loved how modern and chic the interior looked. They have a main counter where you register, purchase your post-workout smoothie if you wish (£4 onwards) and they also provide towels (£1 for rental) for you to rent. Walking past the 'hall of fame' (or shame if you died in there like I did), polaroids of people who have participated are plastered on the wall and leads into the open bar concept, where you pick up your post-workout smoothie. They also have a seating area for you to chill before/after class.

The toilet has 2 wash areas so you're free to bath after your workout, but the most pleasant surprise was when I was told that they provided toiletries for your use! This means no need to bring shampoo, conditioner or even body wash. They also provide lockers for your use and hairdryers and straighteners too. Btw, can we have a moment for these gorgeous white tiles against these brick walls?

The basic idea involves 3 types of exercises for 5 minutes each, twice, followed by a 3 minute blast before you end your workout. The first 3 letters of the gym- TRI, stand for something more than just the name itself. T stands for treadmill. Yes, the dreaded thing that many of us battle with at the gym. R stands for resistance, which comprises mostly of dumbbells, strength exercises for the core and back and a high threshold for pain. The last, I, stands for intensity. If you think treadmills are hell (they are in this scenario), intensity is just as bad. Think doing burpees, jump squats, mountain climbers and high knees within 5 minutes.

To be honest, each section felt like the longest 5 minutes of my life, and each type of exercise was just as tiring as the next. George was the one leading the trial class, and if there's one thing that keeps a class running it's a good, motivated instructor - and he was great. 45 minutes felt like 60 minutes, mountain climbers felt like I was climbing mount everest itself, sprinting felt like I was flying, but the rush of endorphins you get that is madness. I'm pretty sure everyone was happy it was over, and happier that they did it.

They even provide sweatbags for you to dump your clothes in!:)

I would say HIIT is best for people who want a quick but good workout that involves cardio and strength (depending on which kind of HIIT you do but most will involve getting your heart rate up to about 80% of your max heart rate). Some health junkies even claim that the after-burn (in terms of calories, if you'd like to know) is much higher than if you were to run on the treadmill for, say, an hour. This means that even if you don't burn as much in 45 mins as you do in 60 mins, the after effects would be that your body continues to burn more calories than usual. How much truth there is to it, it's up to your body to show you the results!

From their website, TRIB3 is set to open in Krynkl (Shalesmoor) in Sheffield and to neighbouring city Manchester. Just to add I wasn't paid nor sponsored for this review, I'm writing simply because I love what TRIB3 has offered to us in Sheffield and I'd like to spread the word about it :) Their introductory offer is £6/class and £70 for 10 classes + 2 free classes at the moment. I'd like to think that is reasonable, especially for the upkeep of such a place.

If you'd like to try it out, they're still offering trial classes every weekend and all you've gotta do is head on to their site or download their app, sign up and register yourself for a class! I promise it will be worth it. Join the tribe.


557 Ecclesall Road Sheffield, S11 8PR
Classes run from 6.30am on weekdays and 9.15am on weekends
Find them on Facebooktwitter, on their website and instagram

Monday, 30 November 2015

[Review] Forge Bakehouse

Despite the weather not being the best (think battling the ghastly winds and erratic rain), we reached our next destination for the weekend - Forge Bakehouse. 

Forge Bakehouse is located along what is known as the Antiques Quarter - a row of antique and vintage shops scattered along Abbeydale Road. The seating area was relatively small, seating a maximum of 5 tables. The cafe was pretty full by the time we managed to grab a seat, so I'd suggest going early on the weekends.

The menu is simple, with not much variety but a good selection - one of the things I look out for at cafes. From past experience, the more complicated the menu, the poorer the quality of the food served. That's because places that serve a variety of foods would mean they have much to handle on their plate, and unless they have sufficient staff and work space... That spells lacklustre food.

Gibassier, flavoured with Orange Blossom and Aniseed (£2), Flat White (£2.50)
Foodie friend and I were joking that the heavily dusted power atop the bread could possibly be salt. Apart from the fact that the bread felt more like a doughnut due to the powdered sugar, I enjoyed how flavoursome the bread was. Tangy and airy, it would be something I'd enjoy having toasted with a slab of butter and jam/marmalade instead of powdered sugar. The flat white was rather very strong, which foodie friend later realised it was cos they added 2 shots inside. I opted for the soy flat white, which was much milder and milkier than the former. 

French Toast
Top -French Banana with Raspberry Compote, Peanut Brittle, Valrhona Chocolate Sauce and PB Mascarpone (£6.50)
Bottom - Spiced Poached Apple with Toasted Pecans, Oat Crumble, Cinnamon Mascarpone and Maple Syrup (£6.50)

I was contemplating between the huevos rancheros and the french toast, but decided that life was too short to just have something I've never had before (yup) and instead, opted for something I've had a thousand times over as a kid - French Toast. As a kid I remember making french toast almost every weekend and being glued to the TV and immersing myself in Cartoon Network.

If I had a chance to choose which to order again, I'd choose the french banana with raspberry compote. I picked the spice poached apple as the latter sounded a little too decadent, what with the PB and all. The maple syrup on the side was a little diluted (later saw that they used Clark's maple syrup and not pure Canadian maple syrup :( this has since been clarified that yes!, they do indeed use pure Canadian maple syrup instead of Clark's for their french toast), and the bread very slightly dry in some areas. However the oat crumble and spiced poached apples were nicely done - not overly sweet and the components complemented themselves really well. Foodie friend's option was much better though, drizzled with compote and chocolate, really... How wrong can it go? I really enjoyed the raspberry compote, and the PB mascarpone was pretty damn awesome. 


Overall, I enjoyed my time at Forge Bakehouse. Service was friendly and the food was served within 15 mins - a perk at smaller cafes! The counter was also perpetually packed with people, even though seats were fully taken up. They also sell homemade bread by the loaves, which I'll make sure to take one home in the future.

Forge Bakehouse
302 Abbeydale Road, Sheffield S7 1FL

Opening Hours
Sun 10:00 - 15:00
Tue - Sat 9:00 - 18:00

You can find them on Facebook here

I was not paid nor sponsored for this review. The review was written entirely in my opinion.

Monday, 2 November 2015

[Review] Alyssum Cafe Bistro

There's something I love about weekends - Being able to sleep in, enjoying a nice cuppa whilst browsing the news, and watching the world go by through your bedroom window. But I've decided that I'm going to make the most of my weekends by attempting to visit a new cafe every weekend. 

Fellow foodie and I were cafe-browsing online (in between rushing for our essay and doing our revisions) when he found a quaint cafe nestled along Crookesmore Road. And we decided to pay a visit. And it turned out to be wonderful.

Alyssum Cafe Bistro was opened earlier in the year by a mother-daughter duo (how sweet!) and serves Greek inspired dishes, a much healthier alternative to the usual pub food you find in Sheffield. 

Although the place may be rather small - about 4 tables at most, the ambience was nothing but relaxing and homey. 

The menu at Alyssum - A selection of sweet and savory foods for both the sweet tooth and the (not so) sweet tooth

Handmade namecards - I'd give this A for effort!
Almond Flat White (£2.60), Flat White (£2.30)

The first to arrive were our drinks. Being a coffee addict (I blame law school), I ordered the almond flat white. I've always been more keen on trying coffee with different kinds of milk, and when I do find coffee joints that serve almond milk, you can be certain I'll order it. 

I do have to admit, the regular flat white fared much better than the former. I have read that any plant milk does spoil the consistency of the coffee, so I don't blame them one bit. The regular flat white was creamy and smooth, with 2 shots of espresso inside (!!) It did get me buzzing with excitement a little while after, but that's how you know your coffee's good.

Clockwise from left: Smashed avocado toast & poached eggs with pesto, a squeeze of lemon and halloumi (£5.90), Fluffy pancakes with caramelised cinnamon fruit and honey (£4.80), Smoked salmon eggs benedict (£5.90)

One of the few things I love about Alyssum are their portion sizes. It's not too big, but not too small where you'd get hungry after an hour or so. We ordered a side of fluffy pancakes to share (because why not) and they were pretty darn awesome. The pancakes were indeed fluffy and minimally sweet, with the caramelised apples coated in cinnamon almost heaven-like. I reckon I would have eaten about 6 of these aka the whole plate if I didn't order my toast.

Smashed avocado toast & poached eggs with pesto, a squeeze of lemon and halloumi (£5.90)

Avocado + eggs? Almost always a no-fail combination. I've only tried halloumi once before this and I didn't really fancy the taste nor texture. But I decided to give it a try once more and was pleasantly surprised by how it complemented the entire dish. The eggs were perfectly poached too.  

Smoked salmon eggs benedict (£5.90)

I didn't get to try much of the smoked salmon eggs benedict, but I believe Foodie friend didn't enjoy the sourness of the hollandaise. I did snitch some of the hollandaise sauce and agreed that while it is a little on the sour side, I personally enjoyed how it had a different taste from the regular hollandaise sauce you find. It didn't seem at all creamy either.


Will I be back again? Most definitely. It makes my tummy extremely glad there are places like these around that make the journey worth travelling to. The owner was terribly sweet and even asked if the food was good! If there's anything better than good food, it's good service.

If you're ever in the area, do give Alyssum Cafe a try. I'm sure you won't regret it.

Alyssum Cafe Bistro
76 Barber Road, S10 1EE, Sheffield
Monday - Friday 0830 - 1700h
Saturday - Sunday 0930 - 1700h
You can find them on Facebook here

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Review: Étude House - Wonder Pore Freshner

Prior to heading back to the UK for the start of my second semester, I was stocking up on several asian skincare products. Even though the majority of the skincare products I used were more to westernised brands (Kiehl's, L'oreal etc), I have noticed how certain Korean skincare products work just as well, if not better at a fraction of the price. I was onto my last bit of Lush's toner and after browsing through the Etude House store in Singapore's Wisma Atria, I found the Wonder Pore Freshner by Etude House (500ml). More commonly known as a toner, the product is meant to balance pH levels, ease skin troubles caused by pH imbalance and cleans the inside and outside of your pores with its special peppermint extract. It is a 10-in-1 Solution that promises deep cleansing, sebum control, tightening of pores and leaves the face feeling refreshed and prepped for both day and night. 

I've been using this for the past 2-3 months and although I don't exactly see drastic results with the condition of my skin, it has helped in keeping my face clean and fresh. One aesthetic thing I love about this product is the pump of the bottle. Instead of tipping the bottle over to dispense the product you simply pump once or twice onto a cotton pad (which is provided when you purchase the bigger bottle like I have) and gently massage into your face. 

Would I repurchase? Most likely. I like how it feels on my face after cleansing, and the pump is an added bonus for a person like myself who prefers a pump. I'd recommend using this with the Etude House Wonder Pore White Clay Clear mask to reap the most out of this product. I do have this here with me but I haven't gotten around to using it simply because I'm too busy using my Lush pots up :p

You can find the Etude House Wonder Pore Freshener online here in Singapore and here if you're overseas.


 I was not paid nor sponsored for this product review. The review was written entirely in my opinion.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Lush: A skin + hair care review

Lush prides themselves in using all natural ingredients in their products. I've been a long time fan of Lush, not just for the quality of the products they produce but the results it gives my skin. I've recently experienced a mini breakout due to collagen I've been consuming (age and stress is unfortunately beginning to take a toll on me) and was on the lookout for products that would alleviate irritated skin. 

Lush has been an advocate of being against the use of animal testing and is seen perpetually giving back to society in the form of charity pots and participating in animal campaigning. I recently picked up Angels on Bare Skin (£6.75/100g) a face and/or body cleanser that consists of ground almonds that help to exfoliate the skin, lavender oil that balances and calms and kaolin, a type of clay that draws out impurities. I can't bear to slather such huge amounts on my body, so it's mostly reserved as a face mask. The lady over the counter couldn't stop raving about how this helped brighten and cleanse her skin. I've been using it for a week and I'm pretty sure this is a cleanser I'll run back to when I want an all natural, gentle cleanser.

Another product that's been highly mentioned is the Mask of Magnaminity Face Mask (£5.50/125g). As much as I love the fresh face masks Lush offers, I find that I can never seem to finish a full pot before the expiry date. The jovial sales keeper recommended I try one of their self preserving masks. I'm not a big lover of minty scents to it, but I wouldn't complain since does soothe the redness on my skin. The mask is made with peppermint oil to stimulate, marigold oil to treat the skin; evening primrose seeds and aduki beans to gently exfoliate as you remove it. There’s also mineral rich kaolin to nourish, antibacterial honey, and peppermint oil to stimulate the blood cells just under the surface of your skin to leave it looking bright and refreshed. Since I'm more of a face mask junkie than a face sheet, I've always loved face masks that come in pots. It dries up and feels more effective than slapping a sheet of face mask for 20 mins on my face, constantly making sure it wouldn't slide off my face. I naturally gravitate to this twice or thrice a week, especially when I don't have other face masks on hand.

I've only recently discovered the Cosmetic Warrior Face Mask (£6.50/75g), a gentle and balancing fresh face mask with antibacterial tea tree and fresh garlic working together to cleanse. What, garlic?! you say? No worries, the scent of garlic is far from noticeable! The scent is relatively hard to describe but it does have a thicker consistency that feels like paste when applied on the skin. It's thick and sticks on your face like super glue, which is great especially when I'm multi-tasking.  This mask is the bees knees for troubled skin and combats spots. Tea tree is also present in this mask which aids in killing those nasty red bumps that appear on the surface of your skin.

Ever since I arrived in the UK, my hair has been in its worse state. I've been told by a hairdresser here that the reason why my hair has been dropping at an alarming rate is due to the water:( Unfortunately, I haven't figured out a cure for this but the lady in Lush told me that the Cynthia Sylvia Stout Shampoo (8.95/250g) would help with weak and thin hair (which is what I'm facing now). You must be wondering whether the word 'stout' really does mean that there's beer in this shampoo. Lo and behold, there is. And that's the magic! Stout is full of protein, which helps with the hair body and strength. Cynthia Sylvia Stout compromises of beer, vinegar, and lemon juice to give your locks a glossy sheen. I've only tried this twice (it doesn't leave any smell of beer, no worries) but it definitely does strengthen my hair and prevent breakage. It doesn't help with the hair loss, but I'm hoping I'd find a cure for that soon.


Thanks for reading my humble review and if you'd like to tell me what your favourite products are from Lush, please leave a comment below! I'd love to hear from you guys. x


 I was not paid nor sponsored for this product review. The review was written entirely in my opinion.

Friday, 14 November 2014

October Favourites '14

Hello lovelies! I'm back with a new list of (very late) October favourites. I'm sorry :x

I've had some of these for a while now and being a very lazy person, I rarely apply foundation/concealer/bronzer. I'm thankful that my skin has always been fairly decent, in that I don't have to splurge on foundation as much as I would like to (phew!) Although it is hard for a girl to resist from time to time, no?

So here we go, a list of all my favourite things (in October)!

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer - Oil Free Broad Spectrum SPF 20 Sunscreen 
in Nude
USD43 from Sephora

I barely ever use foundation because #1 I'm too lazy to remove it at the end of the day and #2 it's too tedious to apply the foundation flawlessly. I've heard many rave reviews about LM's tinted moisturizer and I bought a tube after 2 years of contemplating. It gives a 'no makeup' look which I adore and sits on your skin without making it oily or needing to reapply. It lasted for close to 10 hours for me and I'd probably repurchase this again if I ever need a new bottle.

Tarte Amazonian clay waterproof 12-hour concealer
in light
USD 22 from Sephora

In all honesty, I've never owned a concealer. I could never really make out how to use the product on my face. I did try my mom's one once a few years back but I thought it looked uneven (I don't think I blended it out properly) and I felt like it didn't make much of a different at all. But when I was lurking around Sephora in SG the other week I picked this up in the hopes that if I needn't foundation, I'd use this.

And does it work like a charm! I applied it to an angry pimple sprouting on my nose and it looked like I had it photoshopped off! I was pretty amazed with the coverage (because I've heard from people that stick concealers are harder to use than liquid ones). The coverage lasts for about 4-6 hours, depending on how often you touch the area (I rub my nose a lot so it did wear off after while). There are definitely cheaper alternatives than Tarte, so I'd recommend doing a little research before purchasing a concealer.

Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat Radiant Touch
in #2 luminous ivory
USD 41 from Sephora

I've used this for the past 3 years and I've since repurchased a second (yes, second) one. I haven't found a highlighter that complements my skin as well as the YSL touche eclat radiant touch. It leaves an unimaginable glow on your face, especially the cheek bones and along your brow bone. It almost sort of chisels your face for a more defined look.

Chanel Le Bluch Créme De Chanel
Cream Blush in 65 Affinité
USD 38 from Chanel

I looooove cream blushes. I've adored them since I purchased my first one from Topshop. I was browsing through Chanel's counter (because there was a 20 percent off + tax refund here in UK when my family visited) and jumped at the chance of trying the cream blushes from Chanel.

I'm absolutely in love with this shade + the consistency of the blush. It stays on forever, it leaves your cheeks looking like you've been pinching them for hours on end to achieve the most natural looking flushed cheeks, ever. Need I say more ladies, really?


That's all I have for this post, and I hope you guys enjoyed my two cents worth on these products. I'm sorry if these are a tad expensive, but I purchased majority of the items at a discount! Do let me know how you guys feel about the products mentioned and if there are dupes, please feel free to leave a comment :)

Stay beautiful, x.

I was not paid nor sponsored for this product review. The review was written entirely in my opinion.