A lunch break expedition to Villa Walala

A fun palace made out of giant inflatable Liquorice Allsorts is the first thing that springs to mind when I stumble across Villa Walala during my lunch break this week.  A bold mirage in a sea of corporate glass and chrome, the villa invites you to fling off your work shoes and jump head first into this bouncy castle on steroids.

Close up of sign for Villa Walala in Broadgate, City of London

Sign post for Villa Walala, Exchequer Square, Broadgate

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A lunch break peek inside Bevis Marks Synagogue

Tucked away below the City’s high-rise monoliths is the Bevis Marks Synagogue.  Dating back three hundred years, it is Britain’s first ever Jewish house of worship.  Retaining all of its original features, it’s a hidden gem that passes most office workers by as they scurry to and from the Gherkin.  Intrigued, I popped along during my lunch break to take a look.

Wrought iron gates at the front entrance of the Bevis Marks Synagogue

Front entrance at the Bevis Marks Synagogue in the City of London

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Light box therapy in your lunch break

Scuttling to and from work in perpetual darkness has left many office workers, like myself, weary and depleted.  Was it only a month since the Christmas holidays?  Rallying to the rescue is the food and juice bar, Crussh, who have very kindly opened up the capital’s first pop-up vitamin D and light box therapy bar.  Seeking the light, I scuttled round during my lunch break to get a well-earned dose of artificial rays.

Vitamin D pop-up bar sign in Crussh in New Street Square

Vitamin D pop-up bar in Crussh in the City of London.

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Guildhall street food market in your lunch break

With street food markets popping up all over London, we’re practically tripping over Yum Buns and Korean dumplings every time we leave the office. Intrigued by colleagues who happily spend half their lunch break queuing for an £8.00 burrito, I joined in the action at the Guildhall street food market.

Street food market in the Guildhall Yard

Guildhall Street Food Market

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Terry and George’s Whole Grain tips for healthy lunch breaks

Pop-up restaurant stars, Terry and George, were on hand this week to teach a class of bewildered bloggers about the benefits of whole grains.  From wholemeal pizza to cakes infused with rapeseed oil, their simple, tasty recipes gave me food for thought for my lunch break leftovers.   Fitting easily into the lunch box, I thought I’d share their whole grain tips for healthy lunch breaks.

Terry and George at a whole grain recipe demonstration

healthy whole grain lunch break tips with Terry and George

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A lunch break with a view at the Sky Garden

For a lunch break with a view, there are few venues that can top London’s Sky Garden. Offering sweeping panoramas across the great metropolis, the 155-metre bruiser offers a high-rise oasis of calm.  Raising you above the stress of office life, you can kick back, relax and gaze loftily at your fellow worker ants scurrying through the City streets.

The Sky Garden

The Sky Garden

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My top 5 lunch break travel reads

As spring-time beckons, there’s nothing like reading a good book in the park to transport you from the day’s stress.  Offering an instant gateway into exotic lands,
travel books provide blissful escapism and a chance to relax and unwind during your lunch break.    From the bubbling cauldrons of Marrakesh to America’s wide open plains, here’s my top 5 lunch break travel reads that continue to inspire my own personal journey.

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Pancake Day thrills and spills in your lunch break

Proving more than a mere flash in the pan, Pancake Day has endured since the
15th century. Providing a spot of light relief before the privations of Lent, what better excuse to indulge in some wanton Nutella indulgence. Never missing a treat, London’s office workers have also got in on the act with pancake races taking place across the capital. Grabbing my frying pan, I nipped down to London Bridge during my lunch break to catch a slice of the action.

pancake day racer - Pancake Day racing in your lunch break

Office Breaks Better Bankside Pancake race

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Mindful colouring in your lunch break

Creativity, spontaneity, playfulness and relaxation are just a few of the fringe benefits of the hot new trend in mindful colouring. With a 300% increase in sales of adult colouring books in Waterstones last year, it’s clear that doodling’s not just for kids. Capable of slotting into even the most meagre lunch break, could mindful colouring de-stress me from more grown-up PowerPoint pursuits?  Packing my felt tips in my work bag, I prepared myself for a mindful lunch break filled with whirls and swirls.

mandala template close-up mindful colouring in your lunch break

Office Breaks Mindful colouring

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Lunch break sanctuary under Ai Wei Wei’s Tree

Following my last forays to Sculpture in the City and Covent Garden’s mass balloon invasion, I was intrigued to hear that trees had taken root overnight in the Royal Academy’s majestic Annenburg Courtyard.  Providing much needed solace in the traffic clogged chaos of Piccadilly, Ai Weiwei’s Tree also offers the perfect lunch break sanctuary away from the stress of the working day.  Intrigued, I slipped away from my desk to go and explore.

Ai Weiwei Tree

Office Breaks Ai Weiwei Tree

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