A woman’s review of the FitBit Alta HR

If you missed it check out my review of the Apple watch here.

After thinking of getting a new phone other than the new overpriced iPhone X, I started looking into fitness trackers that I could use with a different operating software. Here’s my review of the Fitbit Alta HR after trying it for a week.

IMG_5319Key Features:

Fitness tracker – auto tracks most cardio workouts.

Sleep tracker – auto tracks.

Nutrition tracking on the easy to use app

Why I did I choose it?

Having looked at the huge range of fitness trackers available on the market now, I narrowed it down to a few criteria’s. I wanted a watch with a face that would show the time, track my fitness when I do a workout and sync to an Android phone. The bonus is if it tracks my sleep too, as I’ve always wanted to try it out.

In the end I chose the Fitbit Alta HR model because of the physical customisation capabilities. It is the newer model of it’s fashionable counter part; the Fitbit Charge that is also waterproof, and you can pop the tracker out of it’s band and hang it around a necklace accessory or bling bracelet (separately purchased) It loses it’s waterproof properties and possibly does not track any workouts as well with it being looser from the body. But for the intentions of it looking great, it’s perfect to jazz up to wear for an evening outfit but still be able to track your steps as you boogie away! The Charge does not have a screen, so I finally decided on the Alta HR but the Charge was a close second.

The great thing about the Fitbit I have found is that you don’t have to manually select anything to tell it when to track your workout or sleep. With the Fitbit it automatically senses you’re working out at the gym after an adjustable amount of time and cleverly knows when your sleeping or awake.

All of the data that it collects periodically syncs to the app on your phone when it is close by, making it so that you don’t have to have your phone on you at all times. Apple has jumped on this feature in the new iWatches but you need a cellular connection to make it entirely independent to the phone. The Fitbit app is super easy to use and the layout and user experience is a delight. It clearly displays my activities, water hydration tracking, and nutrition in neat tiles. The nutrition tracking has a vast database to chose from with barcode scanning abilities to easily add what you’ve eaten for the day. Unfortunately, the barcode scanning only worked 1 of the few times that I tried scanning my food, and most Chinese dishes aren’t ready available. However, you can manually input the food data, but I did not use this feature because you need an idea of the weight of each portion you ate so it was more hassle.

Another great feature was that it automatically tracks your sleep and gives you a brilliant graph of the different sleep stages that you had; deep, light and REM sleep. This is great if you’re looking to improve your sleep and it’s interesting seeing the quality of sleep that you get each night.

What did I think of the Fitbit after trying it for a week?

Honestly, if I had any other phone it would be my go to fitness tracking wearable. However, as an iPhone user Apple knows their market and how to keep their customers happy in their eco system. All of their products works in perfect sync and harmonies together when you own more than one of their devices. For example, I can use enabled fitness apps on my series 1 iWatch such as the AutoSleep App that syncs with the app on my phone to see all of the details that my watch has tracked. This is typical of most fitness trackers, but the information available on the watch is more detailed than the limited 8-bit like Fitbit screen. I love the personalisation available for the Fitbit, the Tom Ford accessories collection calls my name! The prices of them are similar to the lower budget iWatches, but I would be more inclined to spend the money on gold Fitbit hardware than a different colored strap. Ultimately, being the tech giant that Apple is, there is always an app for everything. Although it wont be all in one place, they all work with each other and I can connect them all up. So I will stick with my iWatch for now whilst I still have my iPhone and maybe I will end up unwilling shelling out the extra dosh for an upgrade, so all of my devices are more personalised.

Do you have a fitness tracker? Let me know all of your favourite ones in the comments!

Check out my review of the Apple Watch 1st Series here and see all my wearable tech posts here.

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A woman’s review of the FitBit Alta HR

Travel Tips – North Italy in a week?!

Hello! Long time no post, I’ve been busy inspiration searching and that involved travelling! In my usual ‘two-birds-with-one-stone’ fashion, it was also a birthday trip curtesy of ma madrĂ© (big thank you mum!) But Italy was also on her bucket list!! So let get stuck right into it!

So I like to squeeze in as much as I can when I go on holiday to a new destination, check out the Singapore in a weekend blog here. So when we went to stay in Milan for 6 nights we squeezed in day trips all around the north of Italy to experience lots of snippets from each place.

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Flying past the Swiss Alps

Packing

Always check the airline that you’re flying with for luggage restrictions. We flew with Easy Jet so they have a policy for one small hand luggage and an option to add one checked 20kg luggage bag. We originally were not going to even add a suitcase! But we ended up sharing one, thank god because we forgot to factor in shopping and souvenirs! I always pack heavier and bulkier things when the weather is cooler, so it helps to check the weather at the destination before you pack.

I tried to plan for a few outfit photos so I packed a heel boot… that I didn’t even wear! So I recommend just packing flats and comfortable shoes if you plan on doing a lot of walking like we did.

I also found that I could contact the hotel before hand and check what amenities they already had there so I could probably pack less i.e. shower gel, shampoo and conditioner, body lotion, cotton pads, slippers etc. So it would’ve been handy if I didn’t need to carry a bottle of body wash, but anything that I’m picky about I just took a travel size version.

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One of the grand hotels in Milan

Hotel

We chose a hotel and flight package on lastminute.com but we booked at like 1am in the morning (never do that!) so we only had photographs of the hotel to go on. Thankfully it was the most beautiful hotel, Starhotel E.C.H.O. It’s super eco friendly with all the heating sourced etc. They even had sustainable tips on a card in each room to help. Even their restaurant locally sources their ingredients! You can check out their video explaining the E.C.H.O here.

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Getting around Milan is pretty easy

Getting around Milan

I got the heads up that public transport will go on strike with little notice before hand, and with my luck they really did whilst we were there! But we still managed to suss out how to use the Metro which is the public underground train. It’s a lot less complicated than the London tube as you only need to know the two stops at either end of the three lines, and you could probably work it all out from there. We mostly used the green line which went through the main Centerale FS station which had an abundance of newsagents. All sold the majority of the tickets for bus, Metro and tram,  along with all of the different ticket machines.

Most people spoke english being the big city centre that it is, and you could even chose the preferred language on the ticket machines once you located the right one! The most popular Metro lines tend to run from 6am – midnight, so outside of these times I would recommend taking a local taxi. Bare in mind a taxi can take around 10mins to arrive or you can find a taxi rank nearby any main station or just outside the famous Duomo cathedral.

I did find having a tube map helped, but I also love these apps whenever I travel anywhere:

  • City Mapper – although it’s not the best for Italy, you can see routes from A to B!
  • Google Maps – the good old map pal
  • SpeakEasy Italian – Unfortunately I didn’t get to exercise my Italian much (or lack of) but it was handy if you ever need help as it does not need internet connection to work.

If you can arrange for internet roaming abroad with your network provider it will help if you get lost in this digital age.

Day Trips

On the first day we needed to know our surroundings so we booked in at our hotel recommended travel agent Zani Viaggi for the Grande Tour de Milano, which was a great morning trip to the most famous landmarks.

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Milan is a big city!

Day 2 was the public transport strike so we had to hop on a taxi to the meeting point to catch the coach. Being in the capital city of fashion you HAVE to go to a shopping outlet! Unfortunately, Serravalle shopping outlet seemed too similar to the Cheshire Oaks shopping outlet (they’re owned by the same company) that’s local to me back in the UK so I decided on FoxTown.

Little did I know it was in Switzerland! It was a great experience having found a YSL and Versace outlet that had prices up to 70% off! But even then most items were still around £500+! I did manage to find a leather skirt I liked but they only had one faulty one left! I would like to go back to Switzerland for a romantic cliché ski holiday with a cheese fondue in front of a fire (and shopping!)

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The views of Lake Como were breathtaking!

A visit to lake Como was planned for day 3 as all of the tickets for Florence was sold out for that morning, however both places are exceptionally beautiful! I took a good 70% of my 1000+ photos around the lake because it was just that picturesque! We did find the famous Seta (silk) shop in Como, but I only managed to check out half of the shop before we were rushed onto the boat to Bellagio! But that just means I will have to go back again to see the other half of the shop!

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Venice and their well-known gondolas

For the last full day in Italy we had pre-booked a Venice day trip because it was only available on the Sunday during the 6 days we went for, and it was the one place that I really wanted to visit! Venice is such a different city, which was made apparent when we had to get off the coach at a manmade island (built mostly for all of the tourists parking!) to then take a boat over to the district.

Unfortunately, most shops are closed on Sunday but all of the tourist places were open. This meant that it was HEAVING with tourists, and it didn’t help that there was a marathon going on at the same time! The trip was a great quick overview of Venice, as I would recommend a little educational show around by a local guide for the first time there. You learn a lot from locals, but I think the beauty of visiting Venice is getting lost in the labyrinth of streets and leisurely discovering new ‘calle’ (street/s)! As my mum experienced (she got confused with all of the guides having the same flags and got lost for a few minutes!) This is definitely on my list of places to revisit as the 6 hours we spent there was not nearly enough!

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We HAD to try the local gelato!

Eating Out and About

I love to try all of the local food wherever I go, but having been on mostly tourist trips to the usual tourist places we paid the inflated prices! I always like to wonder around for a few minutes to compare the prices, since most of the restaurants have the same popular Italian dishes. I tried to visit the recommended restaurants, but when you’re doing so much exploring you get tired and just want to eat anything that’s close by! I did thankfully try local risotto, fish & meats, traditional stone baked pizza and gelato! It’s true that the gelato tastes amazing in Italy because they make it fresh and the flavour is mind blowing!

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Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II opened in 1877 and is the worlds oldest shopping mall!

Can you do north Italy in a week?

You definitely can if you are fit and able to zip from place to place to get a quick taste of each city/country (mum got tried very easily). I definitely recommend going for longer so you can really savour and enjoy each place. I like leaving something to do and explore in places I would like to revisit. I definitely learnt a lot on this trip, especially about the Duomo and Last Supper painting. I didn’t know the colour of the Duomo varies because it’s made of pink marble, and that the Last Supper was painted on a kitchen wall! Although, the staple food in Italy isn’t my favourite (pizza and pasta isn’t my first choice) as I prefer a lighter meals i.e. veggies and fruit. I absolutely LOVE the pastries and antipasti options there! Everything Italian always tastes better in Italy!

Check out the travel vlog here.

Ciao!

-Rinniboo

Travel Tips – North Italy in a week?!

What they don’t tell you about the gym – 10 fun facts

Okay so the gym themselves aren’t lying, they’re pretty transparent. You just need to do your research before hand and quiz them before you join! It helps to be in the know of all the deals they have done previously, as joining mid-month in a quiet period can work out a lot cheaper.

Find out why I’m taking a more relaxed approach to fitness in my ‘A Flat stomach in three weeks?!‘ blog.

So I have joined Nuffield Health recently and I’m on a bit of a health kick. Turns out my metabolism still has it! Here’s a few things you find out after using it for the first time.

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10 Fun facts

  1. Your fanny will hurt after the first few times at spin class – Unfortunately, the seats don’t fit like a glove and rub in all sorts of places! But you get used to it after a few classes, just push through it!
  2. Personal trainers aren’t actually that scary – they want you to be healthier and look to encourage you!
  3. The huge tyre is heavier than it looks – it’s 60kg! I was almost moving something twice the weight of myself!
  4. The old grannies that go to step class aren’t frail – not one bit! In fact, they’d probably kick your ass! So don’t tick them off!
  5. You don’t need a protein shake – body builders will tell you that all that whey protein was a huge fad. You don’t need supplements as long as you’re getting the right amount of protein in your diet.

    fun facts about the gym fitness blogger lifestyle Nuffield Health review funny womens health
    Just abs of steel or trained assassin?
  6. The gym equipment is pretty gross – everyones pretty lazy and can’t move after a full on workout. So the gym equipment probably has the sweat of everyone before you on it. Thankfully there’s readily available cleaning products handy to clean them. Yes, I did get a smelly mat that smelt like cheesy feet!
  7. Big contracts don’t necessarily mean expensive – if you use the gym everyday it works out about ÂŁ1-2 a day! Even then you get full use of all the facilities i.e. hello sauna and jacuzzi!
  8. Classes are actually a lot of fun – starting out can be a little daunting being the new person, but as with everything practise makes perfect!
  9. Gym wear is more important than it seems – it won’t just be aesthetically pleasing to motivate you more, but having sweat wicked away and the right sports bra makes a difference! Look good AND feel good whilst working out! How to chose your sports bra blog post coming next tuesday, follow us on social media to be notified
  10. You will feel a lot better – you’re less tired and have more of a drive to do things. Teamed with a healthy diet, you’ll have energy for days!

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But the gym is a fun way to stay healthy

So that’s a fun few facts for you after my first month in the gym, and my new shopping obsession is funky gear that’ll make my work outs a lot more chic! After trying out most of the classes so far I do enjoy the united feel, having peers not only motivate you but also challenge you in ways you least expect! I have always liked classes from my various dance classes from a young age, so when they started getting labelled ‘adult classes’. I bolted. No one clinging to their youth wants to admit they’re adults! So gym classes has filled that void for now. I haven’t quite gotten into solo training yet as it’s not quite my front, but I’m sure that will come in time after I pick up some routines!

Check out the heath benefits of regular exercise in my last health blog here.

Happy gym bunny :o)

-Rinniboo

What they don’t tell you about the gym – 10 fun facts

Cat Cafe Manchester

When I found out that Cat Café Manchester was opening in Manchester I jumped for joy! So I made it my mission to go to the first opening day to check it out for myself. Here’s what I thought of it.

I have a slight bias to cats as I have one of my own called Misty that you may have seen in some of my vlogs. So I personally think the more furry friends the better! It’s a bonus when you don’t even need to feed and clean their toilets!

First Impressions

Walking up to the Cat CafĂ© Manchester I saw a clean and modern looking entrance room. The main door is secure with a doorbell. I was greeted by an enthusiastic team member that explained that the sold out 50% of entry tickets meant that I had to wait until a space was free. Unfortunately, they couldn’t give an accurate estimate as anyone could stay as long as they wanted. Thankfully, there was only a couple in front of me in the line, and it seemed quite quiet. So I waited for about 30 mins, watching the que add up in numbers as more and more people poured in! Finally, I was called up and they explained the house rules and offered me slippers or shoe covers to wear inside the cafe. I chose the slippers, signed the form, and made my way into the cafe.

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Cat Café Manchester

The cafe works with a three door system, so I went through a further two doors and a small gate around the cafe door. The new furnished cafe was a beautiful sight to see, with a brilliant range of seating areas and a full two walls of ceiling to floor windows. The atmosphere was bright and calm and I was greeted with two resident cats having a clean and play!

All drinks are included in the time spent, and you only pay for time you stay. Food such as paninis and cakes are an extra cost. I had a white chocolate and berry muffin that was so yummy! It’s ÂŁ12 an hour and cakes are around the ÂŁ2.50 mark. It’s a bargain compared to the London cat cafe that I went to!

The resident cats

The resident Norwegian forest cat Ygritte, wanted to make friends with everyone! She came up and sat next to me, so I grabbed a cat toy and started playing with her. She was definitely a favourite! Alasan the Mainecoon also had a big personality and went to sleep in his favourite hammock! There is a total of 10 resident cats at the Cat Cafe Manchester; Alasan the Mainecoon, Harvey and Fluffy the Ragdolls, Joel the Russian blue, Keira and Snowy the Bengals, Georgia and Bert the Birbam cross breeds and Ygritte the Norwegian forest cat.

Thankfully I managed to see most of the cats, but soon it was cat nap time. So after spending about 45mins in the cafe and a latte, I decided they were all resting and made my way out.

The concerns

Many of the frequently asked questions are answered on the website but here are the most common:

Are the cats rescues?

No, they are pedigree or semi-pedigree. Their reasons for this is because most rescue cats have had a hard start in life, so forcing them to be in a busy environment isn’t the best. They do however support their local cat shelters by donating to the RSPCA and the Cats Protection charities.

What’s the point in a cat cafe?

It’s targeted at cat and animal lovers, and novelty seekers. But it’s also brilliant for the people that cannot have cats in the house, or don’t have the time to take care of them.

Are children allowed?

Yes, but they must be 10 years+ as they will need to know how to treat the cats with respect.

Do they have any events?

Yes! They have plenty of events on in September, from cat yoga to film night. Check out the website for all of the details!

Do they care about the welfare of the cats?

Yes! The cat’s wellbeing is their number one priority, they go over the hygiene and rules with every person; Do not chase the cats, no flash photography, do not bother the cats when they are sleeping. Shoe covers or slippers are worn and you must sterilise your hands before you enter.

My closing thoughts

Overall the experience was great, and I would definitely visit again! The wait was not too long in the line as I went at a quiet time. Even if I didn’t get a chance to go in, I could always peek through the large windows! I was worried about whether the people would follow the rules or not, as some people insisted on stroking Alasan when he just wanted to sleep. However, people finally got the message when the cats get their fangs out!! I would like them to adapt some of the ways that Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium works, and give the cats a break in the middle of the week. Hopefully they have time to be super attentive to the subtle cats change in behaviours when they are ill, and be able to keep track of all of them. The team members there have been with the cats long before the opening to get them settled, so they are quite accustomed to each other.

Cat CafĂ© Manchester is the first of it’s franchise open 7 days a week 9am – 6pm. Located in Manchester Northen Quarter, 103 High St, Manchester M4 1HQ. Book online or over the phone in advance to guarantee your spot!

Just purrfect!

-Rinniboo

 

Note: This review is not endorsed or sponsored in anyway and all opinions are my own.
Cat Cafe Manchester

WTF | Wearable Tech Fashion | LED Light up shoes

I’ve been busy on another WTF project – making my very own LED light up shoes!  Here’s how I combined coding with fashion and troubleshooting skills to make these FUNky and FUNctional LED light up shoes!

Reminisce of the childhood days when you had light up shoes. I show you how I made sophisticated ones that are rechargeable! Read it all here.

 

-Rinniboo.

WTF | Wearable Tech Fashion | LED Light up shoes

Cocktails on Tap at The Oast House Spinningfields

We got invited to a cocktail launch event at The Oast House, Spinningfields, to try the new cocktails!

The Oast House cocktail blog event From left to right: Long Island Iced Tea, Strawberry Daquiry, and Sex On The Beach in tasting glasses.
From left to right: Long Island Iced Tea, Strawberry Daquiry, and Sex On The Beach in tasting glasses.

All classics brought up to efficiency by pre mixing and sorting them in small tanks to hook up to a tap, making busy happy hour days run a lot smoother. The tanks are big enough to make it convenient for the bar, but small enough to retain the freshness when a new tank is switch in. Which is important for the taste!

Everyones inital reaction is that it would effect the taste, however rest assured it tastes just as good as your usual beloved classics!

The Oast House Blog cocktail event Starting off with a Long Island and margarita.
Starting off with a Long Island and then moving onto the Margarita.

My favourites are the Strawberry Daiquiri for the great strawberry taste, The Long Island Iced Tea, and Sex On the Beach for a nice juicy start into the night.

I would then move onto a margarita for the long sips that taste great with the salted glass!

The Oast House Blog cocktail event Starting off with a Long Island and margarita.

We then got invited behind the bar to create our own draught cocktails! It was as easy as 1,2,3.

To make a Long Island Iced Tea: I started by adding lots of ice to a glass, poured in 200ml of the premix from the tap and then topped it up with Pepsi. Simple! It took half the amount of the usual time of 25 seconds to making it from scratch, and I didn’t have to memorise a recipe!

The Oast House Blog Cocktail Launch Event With the cocktails we made! With fellow Manchester blogger ElenorGrace
The Oast House Blog Cocktail Launch Event With the cocktails we made! With fellow Manchester blogger ElenorGrace

Although I would have preferred the drinks more chilled being so warm outside, and having a cocktail shaken up fresh in front of you adds that special something. It cuts waiting time at the bar dramatically, making more time to enjoy drinks out with friends!

-Rinniboo.

 

 

This blog post is sponsored by The Oast House in terms of free drinks at the event. If you would like your company or product reviewing, please contact Rachael by emailing contact(at)rinniboo.com

 

Cocktails on Tap at The Oast House Spinningfields