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Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Shop Review: Hendra, 9 Lemon Street, Truro

I have often walked past this shop after it has closed, and been curious. Today I got the opportunity to visit during opening hours, so I thought I would review the experience here:

Hendra Truro shop review
Hendra, Truro

The Review

First Impressions:

Set in the smart Lemon Street, Hendra has a clean and slick outward appearance. The window displays that I have been so drawn to on my previous visits to Truro are what enticed me in: creative and fresh, they exude luxury without seeming snooty. 

I had been under the impression that this was a health food store though, so I was slightly surprised to find that fully half of the shop floor is given over to beauty products and cosmetics, and that there are treatment rooms upstairs. Even now I am slightly unsure about whether the treatments on offer are health and beauty, or holistic treatments. 

Hendra Truro shop review
From the Hendra Website

Product Selection:

We noticed a broad range of healthy snacks, teas, and cooking ingredients, such as you might expect from any good health store. I noticed a good selection of Ecover products. There were also jars of local honey which impressed me. 

On the beauty side, there was certainly copious choice: from Burt's Bees and Neals Yard to other less memorable brands, with a varying degree of what I like to term 'naturalness' (I did see a few laureth sulphates despite being under the impression these were all unnecessary), most budgets were catered for.  If you have a favourite range it might be easier to find what you need, especially as sometimes things seemed to be arranged by brand, and sometimes by function. 


The service was friendly and attentive. There were plenty of employees, who greeted us positively and answered my questions. We also noticed an elderly lady with mobility difficulties being sensitively cared for and aided around the shop. 

Did I buy?

Yes. I did eventually manage to pick a shampoo from the almost overwhelming selection. Plus I was tempted by this raw cacao powder- it looks so tasty, and I have some recipes which I'd like to try out. We also located these chocolate sesame snaps, which we haven't been able to find on sale anywhere for genuinely years. A quick glance at the expiry date (next month) suggests they might have been hanging around for a while, but I doubt they will last very much longer in our house. 

I also wanted some Coconut Palm Sugar, which Hendra do stock. In fact they stock a bumper-sized pack in a rather nice tin, at about £7 if memory serves me. However, I did not wish to carry it around in my backpack all day and so I did not buy, but I might consider picking up a pack in future. 

Hendra Truro shop review
Shopping from Hendra

Overall Review:

This was a pleasant shopping experience, and I will certainly visit again, armed with a list. 

Whilst I did appreciate the clean, modern feel of Hendra, I also slightly missed the type of vibe some health stores have of being a community hub- often with a notice board stuffed full of handwritten ads for toddler groups and meditation. Is that just me... ... ...?

Edited March 31st: I have just received a helpful communication from Hannah at Hendra:
We try to cater as much as possible to our customers needs, and where possible if we don’t stock a product we will order it in especially.  We had a refit last year which involved moving quite a bit of the stock around to encompass more space for the beauty products, which are becoming our best sellers, and the eventual aim is to link our hair and beauty salons more with the store.  In fact the Beauty therapists have recently undergone the REN spa training and are hoping to offer the treatments soon.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

On Failure

Waiting for exam results:

Dear readers, throw me a lifeline; I am in limbo! 

When I started to write The Fit Pixie blog, I intended to document my progress as I study to become a fitness instructor. However, at that point I didn't reckon on a few important factors, like mad revising for exams, or trying to learn choreography (much harder than I imagined!)- both of which have been filling my recent days to the exclusion of all blogging.

I took my written exams a few days ago. And this is why I am in limbo: it might be three weeks until I know whether I have passed. And the not-knowing is rendering me incapable of thinking about anything else. I suppose that if I was confident that I have passed I would not be so concerned, but I feel the assessments could have gone either way. I feel like I had enough knowledge to qualify- I certainly studied hard- but I did not always understand the wording of the questions, and what was really being asked. 

Now, I am quite a private person. Nobody likes to admit their potential failings in public, least of all a private person so I wasn't going to write about this, but in the interests of growing as an individual, and being true to the aim of The Fit Pixie, there it is! 

I feel a little liberated. 

Potential failure:

So, now that is off my chest I wonder why it is so hard to own up to situations like this? 

I look at instagram a fair bit. There are very many beautiful strong people with amazing bodies on display there. I heartily congratulate every single one of them, and I thank them for the inspiration. But at the same time, I worry slightly about just how perfect they are. Has the selfie generation made super-fit the only acceptable standard? 

I mean, there are plenty of 'before and after' body transformation photos, plenty of motivational true stories... but there are no 'during' snaps are there? There are no bed-head selfies in sweat pants, with the hashtag #nomotivation are there? No photographs of beautiful running routes with the caption 'I walked the last half mile', no admissions of 'I wasn't quite ready for that, but I will be next time I try'. 

Why don't we own our failures? Surely they are as much a part of any journey as the successes? 

Practice, not perfection:

'It's yoga practice, not yoga perfect', so the saying goes. Can't this be applied to all fitness activities, partly because everybody has different aims and reasons for working out: lose weight, feel stronger, de-stress, shared social experience...? The motivations are as complex as we are, and if our aims are so different, then one person's failure might surely be another person's 'no big deal'? 

But when faced with inspirational characters who appear perfect in every way, do we come to equate success with perfection? Is the rise in popularity of fitness bloggers and picture-posters just competitive narcissism? 

It felt like a big deal to me that I might not pass my assessments. But... is it? I can re take them, so maybe I just haven't passed them yet. I guess failing is only a big deal if you want it to be. 

Whilst I'm at it, I have a few more admissions: I can't do handstands, I don't have a six-pack, and I'm not great at spin classes. But, as with my exams, I'd like to qualify all of these with 'yet'.   

Here's a blogging pledge:

I'm not an expert. I'm not perfect. I am not yet as fit and strong as I intend to become. 

I pledge to continue to write my blog in the spirit of these statements, and to own my failures. 

And... I'll let you know if I passed (or failed) my assessments. 

(Edited on April 6th: I passed my written exams! Now for the practical results..,)

Friday, 11 March 2016

Product Review: Asquith Activewear & Discount Code

Asquith London: ethically made and eco-friendly...

Asquith London merchandise
Treats from Asquith

I have been wanting to get an outfit from Asquith for a while now, but none of the colours or styles have been quite what I was after: I don't like too much black, I really don't like cerise pink, and I'm really not a fan of snakeskin. So, when I saw this darling little top in minty turquoise I knew the time was right! 

I plumped for Layering Cami in 'Minty Fresh' and Flow With It Leggings in 'Slate'. 

Asquith garments
Labels of Quality

I had expected some kind of special packaging, so at first when I saw that it arrived in a routine-looking poly post bag I was a little disappointed, until I realised that it is biodegradable. The packaging can look as run-of-the-mill as it likes as far as I am concerned, so long as it is not clogging up the world with more plastic!

Inside the outer bag were my two beautiful-looking garments, oozing quality and substance (unfortunately in plastic, but you can't have everything can you?). 

I definitely felt like I was receiving a top quality treat.

...but is it any good? 

Unwrapping my lovely new garments, I fell in love straight away with the feel of the fabrics- so much so that I had to have a try-on right there in the living room. 

The jacquard stars in the top between the contouring style lines are just adorable, and I love the strappy look. The leggings are completely opaque, and are a beautiful thundery shade of grey (I love grey!). 

Luckily, the fit was great: the leggings are the perfect length (I'm 5'5"- that's average- but with long legs, and sometimes leggings are evidently made for supermodels, but too short's no good either), and a great height through the rise. The top was extremely comfortable and I felt supported and hugged-in without feeling constricted. I can't really say too much about the bust support in the built in bra, as I have quite a small bust, but I didn't end up looking completely flat chested either- nobody likes that look!  

minty vest in action
In action

Putting it to the test: 

After a few quick stretches in order to get some pictures to show you, I decided to put my outfit to the test in a sweaty Body Blast class. This was definitely in at the deep end, but I got the impression this gym gear was tough enough! 

layering cami

And I wasn't disappointed: the first thing about the performance of Asquith products that impressed me was that I didn't have to keep pulling the leggings up or the top down. Everything, including the straps stayed just where I wanted it to be throughout the entire class. It is hard to find a top that doesn't ride up at all (trust me, I've tried a few!). 

The only drawback for me was that I ended up with a small unsightly sweat patch on my leggings (blush!), but this was quickly covered by just pulling the top down a little more (it has plenty of length to either ruche up or pull down which proved really useful in this instance). 

The Verdict:

Whilst I perhaps wouldn't wear the leggings for anything where I would expect the sweat to really show, they will be perfect while I can pull the long top down, and also for yoga and Pilates, hiking, bike rides, and just chilling out. They are such nice leggings I would even wear them under a tunic for a casual day out. 

I will be getting a lot of wear from my top, and I may go back for another. It's great to know it will stay in place for even the most active of workouts (and any sort of inversion will be covered). 

Discount Code:

I hope you've found this review useful. To celebrate the fact that I am now an 'Asquith Lover', I am delighted to offer you a discount code: just enter FITPIXIE20 at the checkout on and the magic will happen! 

Flow with it leggings

Friday, 4 March 2016

Ten Things Learnt Whilst Studying

A Cornish Mum

Here goes, my first Ten Things post, inspired by A Cornish Mum. I'd love your feedback!

Ten Things I've Learnt Whilst Studying for my Fitness Qualifications:

I've learnt a lot, in terms of the knowledge that I am studying, and about the fitness journey that I am on, and even the development of this new blog, so here is a random list of ten of them for you: 

1. The brain can only use carbohydrate (out of the three macronutrients: protein, fat, carbohydrate). I don't know why, but I find this really fascinating.

2. I get chilblains if I run in the cold: old lady alert!!

3. There are seven stages to adopting a whole new healthy lifestyle. Somewhat immaturely, I find the fact that the first one is called 'pre-contemplation' amusing.

4. I find yoga really is the best way to calm a racing mind and allay some anxieties. 

5. There are technically three distinct body-types: ectomorph, endomorph, mesomorph. I have no idea which one I am, but I'd guess its an ecto-/meso- combination. I don't know if this is real science or not...

6. I can actually survive a 60 minute spin class- just. 

7. You can never have too many gym clothes. 

8. Fats are essential in our diet: not only is each and every cell membrane a double layer of fat, but it is fat which allows the electrical nerve impulses to be carried around the body. Bring on the ice cream!

9. Blogging is as much of a full-time job as you want it to be. 

10. People can be so positive and helpful: I was really dubious about telling staff and acquaintances at my gym that I am studying for my Exercise to Music Qualification. A few months ago I didn't feel I was anywhere near fit enough, and I assumed that the instructors would just see me as unwelcome competition. I was so wrong: they have been so helpful, encouraging and supportive. I am so grateful.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Healthy Banana Muffin Recipe

Healthier Banana, Coconut & Walnut Muffins

As I often do, today I got the urge for a bit of home baking, but I didn't want to indulge in a sugary fatty treat. Hence these banana muffins came into existence.  

Banana Coconut Walnut Muffins
Banana Coconut Walnut Muffins 

I've shared the recipe below for you to enjoy: I am not exactly a professional or anything, but I hope you have fun baking these healthier treats. I'd love your feedback!

Sugar-free Dairy-free Muffins: Perfect for Breakfast!

As so often seems to happen when I am cooking, I just looked around my cupboards and used whatever ingredients I had available. You can of course substitute anything you don't wish to use. The key thing in this recipe is the bananas for texture and for sweetness. 

Because they are not too sweet, these tasty bakes are perfect for snacking on at any time of day, but I think they'd be especially good for breakfast.


Makes 12 large muffins.

I'd recommend using paper muffin cases if you have them. I didn't have any but it would have been a lot easier if I did!


4oz rye flour, 
4oz coconut flour,
2 eggs, 
8fl oz soya milk,
2 heaped teaspoons baking powder,
4 mashed bananas, 
vanilla essence, 
3 heaped dessert spoons desiccated coconut,
a few handfuls of walnuts (halves or chopped, it's up to you)

You could also add a couple of spoons of honey if you'd like sweeter muffins.

dairy-free sugar-free muffins
Tasty Sugar-free Muffins 


Preheat the oven to 200˚C.

Blend the flours and baking powder in a bowl, stir in the eggs one at a time, then add the soya milk gradually until a you have a smooth but thick paste-like consistency, and all the flour has been incorporated. 

Add the vanilla essence and mashed bananas and beat well (if you want to add honey I'd put it in now).

Stir your coconut and walnuts into the mixture.

Divide mixture evenly between 12 muffin cases, bake until golden (approximately 20 minutes). 


free recipe for banana muffins