Unfortunately I was not be born with a model’s body, so I have to exercise to counteract my food and wine consumption. And being an avid outdoor exerciser, I always have a giggle to myself when walking past a gym and noticing people reading a magazine or book while they are on a treadmill – I mean seriously is the speed set on 0.5 to be able to do that?

But what is even more amusing is hearing about the latest fitness fad, only to see swarms of people who jump on board believing they can get fit and lose weight by expending no energy at all and still be able to eat McDonalds for lunch (trust me if one really existed I would be all over it!)

So what are the most ridiculous fitness inventions? Here are my top 5 –

1.The Thigh Master
Let’s start old school 1980’s with one of the original fitness “machines” sold on late night television. There wasn’t a lot of thighs mastered and the inventor, Joshua Reynolds, was also behind the Mood Ring, if you weren’t already sceptical!

2.Toning Shoes
Any sporting item promoted and endorsed by Kim Kardashian (the least sporty person on the planet) should be sounding alarm bells! Both the Reebok and Skechers brand have been proven to give zero toning ability.

3.Balance Bands
I really wish I had invented these. With zero “balance” powers (the placebos work exactly the same) millions of people have forked out $29.99 to try and improve strength and balance by via of a rubber bracelet!

4.The Face Trainer
Just in case you wanted to tighten 44 muscles on your face and look like Hanibal Lector while you do it – http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=hhZR8CS7cgA

5.The Shake Weight
Ohhh my favourite. With more than 4 million units sold, I am hoping that most of these are for spoof presents. A 2.5 pound spring-loaded dumbbell which works by mimicking an action that should be kept for the bedroom!

Unfortunately we know the ugly truth is that it takes plain hard work, dedication and some self-control or discipline in the eating and drinking department, which is not much fun.

What is the craziest fitness fad you have tried?


barefoot-in-publicI think I have a pretty good formula for packing when going on holidays, no matter what the climate. Being respectful of local cultures and having items that are practical while still looking decent are key on my list, but I often wonder what goes through other people’s minds when they pack their bags for a holiday.

Clearly a lot of people think that the usual rule of wearing appropriate clothing goes out the window, and anything goes. But then maybe it’s me who missed the memo saying if you are in another country go for it and wear something that usually a 16 year old does, even though you are 50 years old and not in good shape. Sitting on a beach in Thailand, Hawaii or Fiji, or even being at an airport for that matter, can be like seeing a real-life parade from one of those “People of Walmart” emails that gets sent around (www.peopleofwalmart.com).

So what are the top 10 must-not-do’s to keep you looking decent when you head overseas on a holiday.

1. Always wear shoes at an airport, even if you are there just to pick up someone. There is no excuse not to wear them, even just for health and safety reasons.

2. Bum bags, fanny packs whatever you choose to call them went out in the 1980’s so let’s leave them there (along with ra-ra skirts and large shoulder-padded jackets)

3. Socks and sandals. Do I really need to explain this one any further?

4. A g-string swimsuit. Unless your name is Giselle, avoid the embarrassment and leave it at home.

5. Hawaiian shirts. Guys – no one wears these any more with the exception of going to a fancy dress party.

6. Cut-out lycra dresses. If you are under 21 years age then ok, but over that it should be illegal to sell you one, let alone wear one. Think age appropriate dressing.

7. A matching Juicy Couture tracksuit. I totally get the comfort bit, and by all means pack a pair of track pants to change into once you are on the plane (I do), but wearing a bright pink matching towelling or velour tracksuit with the word “Juicy” on your butt is so 1990’s and best left for Paris Hilton.

8. Denim shorts that are too short. Ladies there is no need to see your butt sticking out from under your shorts no matter what your age. At no point is this is a good look. Gents… knee length denim cut-off shorts with frayed hems should come with a fine or jail time.

9. Beer branded fake singlets/tank tops. I have seen enough “Singha”, “Tiger” and “Bintang” tank tops to last me ten lifetimes. Every football team (of any code) on their end-of-season trip can be seen wearing them, purchased from the local street vendor. Which leads me into the final one…

10. Football shirts. The only exception to wearing one of these is travelling to play football or travelling to support your team.

With British women spending over $200 on clothing in preparation for their holiday and women in the US on average $380, I am hoping this isn’t going on any of the above items.

What is the worst outfit you have witnessed on holiday?


como1Last week I treated myself and headed off to Bali for 5 days of cleansing, yoga, walks and massages. I left family and friends at home, and went on this adventure solo on the promise that I would come back a nicer person. And the result…. I feel amazing.

I am used to travelling so much for business on my own I had no issue eating (or in my case drinking juices and soup) by myself, exploring the amazing local rainforest as a party of one, or just reading by the pool. I actually like my own company, well for 5 days at least.

I realise it is a luxury to be able to do this from both a time and money point of view, but if you can afford both, I cannot recommend it highly enough.

So where are the best places to go to have a fabulous healthy experience? Here are my top 5.

Como Shambhala Estate, Bali
This is where I spent last week. My visits to Bali are well and truly in the double digits and I have to vote Como Shambhala as the most special place I have stayed on the island, and certainly one of the best places in Asia I have visited (big wraps I know!). If you want to detox in luxury, this is the place to do it no question. But if detoxing is too hard core, don’t worry, as most guests were just there to enjoy all the wonderful amenities, fresh food and out of this world service. It is a place where “everyone knows your name”, as all the staff know who you are and the only thing I was asked to sign was the final bill.

Chiva Som, Hua Hin
A two hour drive from Bangkok, Chiva Som is consistently voted as one of the best health resorts around. It lets you combine being pampered with embarking on changing a part of your life be it diet, fitness, stress or too much partying. It is located on the beach, as opposed to being in a remote location, so if you do want to escape you always have the option to go into the local town.

Rancho La Puerta, Mexico
Started in 1940, this property is one of the original destination spas. Rancho La Puerta offers everything from mountain hikes, pilates, dream interpretation to make you sleep better, through to a cooking school using produce from its own organic farm.

Longevity Wellness Resort, Portugal
An eco-friendly resort located it Algarve, it provides spectacular views of the sea and mountains. On offer is state of the art detox treatments, fitness facilities that would rival the best gyms and Turkish baths to recover in. There are even medical “treatments” for people who want more than a facial peel.

The Farm at San Benito, Philippines
A holistic sanctuary that aims to rejuvenate through detoxification, working towards healing the body of any illnesses or problems. Set in the heart of the Philippine jungle it certainly still holds a luxury title as you can choose to have your massage in your poolside villa or on a secret garden terrace. The Farm is also one of the few health retreats that has a children’s program which includes arts and crafts, cooking lessons and forest walks.

So to answer the original question… am I a nicer person? Impossible to be some would say, but I think yes!


Tough weekend and feel like you need some R&R already? Well it sounds like a great idea, but it can cost a nice chunk of your salary to try some of these treatments.

Relieve all that stress with what is deemed the most expensive massage in the world. The Grand Wailea Resort in Maui, has a 20-Hands Duo Massage which will set you back $2,000. That is 10 skilled masseuses working on your tired muscles at one time giving you the feeling of a “hula wave” washing over your body.

If bling in more your style then you may want to consider this –

1. A 24-karat Gold Facial at UMO America in (of course) Beverly Hills. Where the gold is dissolved first to easily spread across the skin and gently massaged into your face until it completely disappears leaving your face with a nice “golden” glow.
2. A Diamond Massage. Hearts on Fire and Spa on Location have joined forces and offer a $1 million worth of loose diamonds placed along your spine as a massage therapist gently massages your back.
3. One for the guys, take a bath in beer. A family owned brewery in the Czech Republic called Chodovar offers this beer spa treatment where the bath is also enriched by a batch of active beer yeast and a mixture of dehydrated crushed herbs. The beer yeast provides the skin with a wide range of vitamins, proteins and saccharides (another term for sugar). This softens and regenerates the skin.
4. Prefer a bath with wine instead… no problem! The Kenwood Inn & Spa , the first Vinotherapie center in the US, offer a barrel bath cabin and patio that look out over the vineyards. Unlike the beer bath you don’t soak in wine, but instead bubbling water with finely crushed grapes extracts and organic oils.
5. Caviar and truffles anyone? Apparently yes, if you would like them on your hair. Hari’s in London wash your hair with a truffle-based shampoo and the smear on the caviar and let it sit. Not sure you would be smelling like roses post that visit to the hairdresser.

Call me boring, but I may just settle for my reflexology down the road… unless of course someone else is paying.


Where has our sense of style and poise gone people? The days of making an effort to look nice to go out for dinner or to a friend’s party. We have all become lazy and default to jeans and t-shirts… the highlight may be taking off your flip flops and putting on a pair of shoes if you are a guy, and high heels if you are a girl.

The current new group of celebs coming through are not helping – after all Justin Beiber is always seen wearing tracksuits that look like P Diddy’s hand me downs, and Kristen Stewart wears converse high tops to red carpet affairs.

So what are the golden rules of being suitably dressed for a function?

1. At no point in your lifetime is it ok to wear jeans to a wedding
2. Guys – never wear a singlet unless you are 70 and it is under a shirt or you are on a sporting field
3. Black Tie means formal attire. Men wear tuxedos, women wear cocktail, long dresses or dressy evening separates.
4. Formal means the same as black tie, but men sometimes wear a long tie instead.
5. Cocktail is an elegant dress for a woman (LBD) and a dark suit for a man. Informal is actually the same as cocktail (so don’t assume it means casual).
6. Business casual think country club
7. Casual – the only time jeans are acceptable.
8. You can’t buy taste, so stick to simple.

And if in doubt, dress up, not down.


Getting your nails done is not a new thing. After all, artificial nails were worn during the Ming Dynasty in China. During the 19th century in Greece many upper-class women wore empty pistachio shells over their nails, spreading the artificial nail trend across Europe.

Women (and yes, men too) are very partial to a mani/pedi or opting for gel or acrylic nails. In the UK alone nail polish sales have doubled in the last 5 years which is a serious threat to everyone’s favourite cosmetic… lipstick.

Some information to dazzle your nail technician with on your next visit:

- Nails are actually the same as hair, both are made of the same protein, keratin.
- For a finger nail to regrow completely it takes 4 to 6 months, and a toe nail is 12 to 18 months.
- Men’s nails grow faster than women’s nails.
- Toe nails are about twice thicker than finger nails.
- The fastest growing nail is on the middle finger. The slowest, is the thumbnail.
- Nails grow faster in warm climates and during daytime, than in cold climates and at night.

Now… what colour to buy? The best-selling colours over the past 12 months were:

OPI Black Shatter Coat
Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in Quartz
Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips in Wild Child (stick ons)
Dior Vernis in Gris Montaigne
Essie Nail Polish in Ballet Slippers

PS I have to give a plug for the most talented nail technicians and my fav salon in the world… Bellissima in Singapore (www.bellissimanails.com)