KO8 – Tried & Tested – Awesome functional training

KO8 Fitness

Tried & Tested

It’s week eight of Switch 360 and we are moving into Phase Three of the program. First up is a new boot camp with a company called KO8. I’ve never heard of KO8 before so don’t really know what to expect.  We are meeting at the Calisthenics Park which is next to Skydive Dubai. If you haven’t been to the Calisthenics Park before do check it out. It’s an awesome outdoor space which is completely free to use and is a mixture of different Calisthenics equipment. There’s a small running track, ropes, ladders, types, suspension rigs and a lot more. Each evening the park is full of a whole range of different people from those training on their own through to large boot camps. The Dubai skyline is behind us, the marina with a welcome breeze runs along the Park and behind us is Skydive and of course views of the guys parachuting down – it’s an awesome site and has a community feel.  The first session is dedicated to just the Switch team which his awesome especially as we don’t know what to expect.

KO8 – Boot camp

Our first boot camp is a revelation! I absolutely love it!

After warming up we start using the KO8 system which for tonight is attached to a bar above us and we are training in a line so that we are all working next to each other.  The KO8 is a clever piece of kit (details below) which allows us to work with suspension so it’s like a TRX and then when you release the suspension part of it, you can work with varying levels of resistance.  The great thing is that the equipment and exercise can be altered to suit all of us. I’m training along with Phil and Kevin who are both super fit and we are all able to do the same exercises alongside each other, albeit with different levels of intensity, resistance and slight changes. We work with the K08 system and a few pieces of kit from the Park. The trainer, Sean is amazing and no I don’t have a trainer crush, it’s just that his style and workout is one of the most inspiring sessions I’ve done in a long, long time! He’s motivating, extremely supportive and encouraging as well as managing to keep us interested and engaged for the session. PS – he also has eyes in the back of his head, so absolutely NO slacking is allowed LOLS.

It’s difficult to put in words how I feel about this training, particularly as I’m writing this a while after the train, but do watch my first KO8 video (below) where I am on an absolute high after the workout.

Probably one of the most awesome bootcamps I’ve ever done!

Switching It Up

As part of the Switch 360 program we return to do KO8 Bootcamp four more times, and each time the workouts are different, fun, challenging and just as important progressive.  Some of the sessions feature repeats of exercises that we’ve done earlier, but the great thing is that because of the varying resistance and body positions that you can use with the KO8, the intensity is increased and the workout continues to be challenging. Over the course of the five weeks, it’s also great to see some progress in terms of my fitness and mobility. Of course, I’m still very much ‘work in progress’ with this, but all the same it’s great to see that the training keeps me interested, focussed, challenged and feeling that I’m also making progress. Not to mention the high “whoop, whoop” feeling that I have at the end of each session, I really leave feeling exhausted but energised which I love.

I should say that the sessions are not easy! If I wanted easy I would be on my coach watching YouTube! Instead I  I’m impressed at how much of a cardio workout we get as well as a strength and functional movement workout and oh so much more. Each bootcamp is different, but in general terms you could say that usually we do two or three sets of each exercise for a duration of 60 seconds or 45 seconds with minimal rest time. Each set of exercises concentrate on a specific body area e.g. legs, arms, shoulders, abs etc. Interval training for this period, doesn’t sound too long or too hard, but boy oh boy when you are working out like this you really feel it!  As well as the KO8 kit, we also do body weight exercises, flip tires (love that by the way), pull tires (ouch!), jump over things, do a tonne of burpees (hate those!) and do boxing intervals which I also love, but have to say it’s an intense three minutes of killer moves! No class is ever the same which again keeps me challenged!

By now, you must have gathered that the KO8 training is a favorite of mine and one that I’m pretty passionate about! In fact as my blog name doesn’t fit what I do so much these days (no running!) perhaps I should change it to Coffee, Cakes and KO8! has a nice ring to it don’t you think? LOLS

KO8 meets X-Rig

For two of the sessions we were joined by Franky from X-Rig who brings along his portable X Rig which becomes a central and integral part of the training session. The X-Rig comes in a few kit bags and takes literally a few minutes to set up and dismantle. Using the X-Rig and K08 means you can literally train anywhere even if there is nowhere around to attach the KO8 to.

The X-Rig allows us to train on, under and around the X-Rig and the KO8 kit attaches to it easily. Workouts with Franky, Sean and Kieran (also from KO8) are fun, hard, intense and challenging. For the first time (ever, well maybe when I was ten!) I hang from the rig and do a few assisted pull-ups which is something I thought I’d never be able to do, there’s also some bars so you can do dips which are equally hard but challenging. Kevin and Phil get a more intense workout on the X-Rig as I feel that it plays more to their strengths (literally), whilst I find some of the moves really hard and beyond what my muscles and bodyweight will allow me to do at this point in my training – no worry though, as we work around the X-Rig in a circular fashion so there are always exercises that are a bit better suited to my physical limitations.

What is the KO8?

KO8 is the most versatile piece of exercise equipment you can get your hands on. No need for tons of kit, you can now do 99% of exercises with one complete system and the best part is… you can use it ANYWHERE! Full Suspension, Harness, and 6-72kg of adjustable Resistance all rolled into one! – KO8


The X-Rig is the worlds first lightweight portable fitness Rig.  Designed by former Commando Training Sergeant Franky Spencer.  The X-Rig is a 1 man portable rig than can be fast assembled in under 3 mins and folded away in less than 60 seconds. Once erected in can deliver multiple exercises for 6 – 100 kg guys at any one time. It can be utilised as the central feature for a group of 24 students. It’s ideal for Boot Camps, PT or any gym or person who wants to train at any location at any time. – X-Rig


Yes! Yes! Yes!

In fact I’ve continued to train with the K08 team ever since and am a complete advocate of their training methods. I absolutely love that no workout is ever the same, each time I’m more challenged and can feel and see the difference in terms of my fitness and flexibility. I train on average 2-3 nights per week using KO8 and love it! There’s a real sense of community training with different people at the bootcamp from those who are super fit through to those who are just starting their training (even one of my friends has started to train with KO8 too). I love training outdoors with the team and love the Calisthenics site – though it is now getting a tad too hot so I think they are taking the classes indoors for the rest of the summer.

I’m hugely motivated by watching the KO8 channel on YouTube to see just how progressively hard the workouts can be to continually challenge me and my fitness. Do take a look at their channel, the KO8 kit is used by some serious celebrities (think sports pros through to top models) who are at the top of their game in terms of fitness and conditioning.

Want to train alone? Then you can buy your very own KO8 and train at home, when you travel or literally wherever you want to as long as you have something to anchor it to, or someone :).

Want to train and be transformed – they have a great on-line package called KO8 Week Body that comes with 30 hours of online training, support and a nutrition program.

Training alone or boot camp not your thing? The KO8 team also do personal training sessions.

Want to take it up a level? you can get qualified to be a KO8 Trainer and get KO8 certified with their Functional Movement Certification

Want to go on holiday, learn some new training skills, eat well, be pampered yet train? – then the KO8 retreat in Thailand could be just the right thing for you! – check out their Retreat video it looks awesome! This is definitely one for my fitness bucket list 🙂

There is literally something for everyone – even for the couch potatoes – just watch their YouTube channel and get inspired!

Thanks to Sean, Kieran, Switch Dxb, Frankie and the rest of the KO8 team for helping me find ways to Live Better and Train!

Please note this is not a sponsored or paid for post in any way, I’m just endorsing a company whose products and services I am really passionate about.




KO8 Fitness

The most versatile piece of performance kit you can buy. Our philosophy on being able to train anywhere/anytime and make full use of our surroundings is what created the KO8 bands, and what has driven us to supply you with all the tools needed to get in the shape of your life no matter what your starting level of fitness may be.

With the range of resistance settings from beginner to super advanced our workouts will test the hardcore housewives to elite athletes. And we will be with you every step of the way through our online tutorials, which contains 6 workouts, plus videos online that will be constantly updated each week.

No more excuses, no more doubt, this is your time!

Source :KO8 Fitness Website


Website : KO8 Academy or  K08

Instagram : Sean Clancy


Instagram : XRigFit


My Videos

Need more K08 Inspiration?

KO8 & X-Rig Bootcamp captured by Switch DXB

Entire Switch 360 Journey - Live Better

KO8 Retreat

The KO8 Tribe arrives in the Land of Smiles this Summer for the start of a series of KO8 Escapes and we invite you to join us for one week of body transformational, mind-empowering, bootcamp-style, immersive fitness at Absolute Twin Sands Resort & Spa, Phuket, Thailand.

The jungles, beaches, seascapes, rooftops, poolsides and Muay Thai spaces of Phuket will become our training ground, we will sleep like Kings and Queens in luxury suites and experience the unique culture of Thailand, and in partnership with the team at 180º Wellness Asia, you will return home ready to take on the world, looking and feeling your best self.

NRG Fitness – Tried & Tested – a tale of two back to back classes

NRG Fitness

Tried & Tested

It’s early on a Friday morning, and getting towards the end of the twelve week program of Switch 360. I’m beginning to think about what my training plan will be after the program finishes, so am delighted to check out NRG Fitness at an open day. Locating the club is fairly easy as the club is on Marina Walk an area I know reasonably well.   I have to stop and check with security to find the club as it’s not too clear exactly where they are and the signs are placed outside of the wrong building, sure this has been rectified by now.

I’ve decided to try two classes, almost back to back and sneak in a quick look around the club before the classes start.  The club is not huge but it does have a multi purpose funky studio albeit with some slightly odd angles, a smaller studio complete with a few poles, plus a large bike studio which is packed with bikes. There are also some pristine changing rooms and a reception area which also hosts a small snack/juice bar and a few items for sale. Decoration is hip and funky, lots of motivational arty graffiti on the walls and of course a selfie spot which is fun.


First session of the day starts with a HIIT session which reminds me a bit of a mix between, Body Pump meets Function Movements, meets Workout of the Day from Cross Fit. There are two trainers leading the class though I suspect there is usually one. They encourage and motivate where needed and are helped by live music by DJ Danny Cee who is there for the event which adds a fun element to the class. We are broken down into two groups doing various HIIT and Functional movement exercises with the addition of weights as required. The odd room shape causes a few issues and I feel like I’m constantly having to move around so as not to bump into the person next to me, more because of room design than me I hasten to add. The class is ok but doesn’t ignite my fire that much, to be fair it’s still in the first couple of weeks of opening so I’ll give them a bit of leeway. I’m teamed up with a reluctant partner at the end and he is a bit of a bad sport and chooses to abandon me to do a duo exercise on his own. I know I’m not the fittest or the fastest but am a bit shaken by this as usually more competent people I’ve trained with have tried to help and encourage me to train to the right pace, and not abandon me. It’s the first time that’s ever happened to me so I’m surprised, a little upset, a bit annoyed at him and me and a little embarrassed if I’m completely honest – I’ll put it down to bad gym etiquette, but really …..


With just enough time to mop the sweat from my brow, I move to the other studio and quickly set up my bike for the NRG Ride class.  The class is full and once again we have two instructors.  The bikes are a posher version to the spin bikes I’ve used in my earlier gym life and are easy and quick to set up.  The class is once again supported by DJR Danny See which his fun and the music is perfectly timed with the exercises. The class seems to be very much in two parts, the first is interval based where we simulate various rides, along the flat, up and down hills etc using resistance to mimic the situation. The second half is much more focussed on sprinting intervals so we pedal like crazy and get our heart rates and energy levels soaring.  At the front of the class some of the members have their heart rates and percentage of effort etc beamed onto the wall, which can be motivating – but you will need to buy the My Zone Heart rate belt sold by the club to benefit from this.   The energy in the room is amazing and I leave this class on a high, as do the other participants.


NRG have a few other classes under three categories. RIDE – RPM, NRG Ride and NRG Sprint,  STRONG covers things such a Zumba, Pilates, Yoga and Body Pump, Body Balance and a few others whilst FOCUS covers NRG arial swing and NRG pole class. There’s a mix of traditional Les Mills classes and some NRG devised classes.


The only class that I would like to go back and try is NRG Swing, purely because I’m fascinated by this training. Whilst the classes I tried were good, neither of them gave me the ‘Great! Must Return’ feeling which I have had for other classes with other providers.  Location wise, I’m sure it will be a big hit with those living at the Marina Walk end of town which is lacking in training facilities.


I attended on a free public weekend, with no obligation to share my experience. As usual all opinions are my own.




NRG Fitness

Our hip and funky fitness facility offers the best in semi-personalized group workouts with our extra injection of NRG! We invite you to join NRG fitness and get your endorphins rushing and help enhance your life. We throw invigorating beats, charismatic coaches and advanced equipment into a group fitness cocktail shaker, and serve up a delicious workout over ice!  

With the personalized NRG System, we set you up for a life-changing training experience like no other.

– Source :NRG Fitness Website


Classes are paid for on a Credit basis with one Credit starting at 100/AED and reducing to 80/AED if you buy multiple Credits. Booking is via a nifty app which was really easy to use.


NRG Fitness, Shop A-7, Marina Walk,
Emaar Retail Ground Floor, Dubai Marina,


Tried & Tested

Entire Switch 360 Journey - Live Better

Ramadan Reflections & Losing Weight


That’s it! Ramadan 2017 is officially over, as is EID and after twenty-nine days of fasting I jumped on the scales to see whether fasting had been good or bad to my body.  The good news is that I lost weight! I’m down a fantastic 3.2kgs (7 lbs) which is great news.  Since I started Switch 360 program I’m now officially down 13.7kgs (30 lbs). Just as important is that my body composition is dramatically changing and I’m certain more leaner, have gained some muscle mass and am getting fitter by the day.  I didn’t measure my body composition at the beginning of Ramadan, but wish I had as I’m sure this would have been a good indicator to see what had happened too.

Ramadan Reflections

Each year, I write a post looking back on Ramadan and how it went and this year I’m writing it in the form of answering some of the many questions which have been asked of me by family, friends and readers across my social media platforms. This isn’t meant to be a guide for you to follow since I’m not a professional in the area and even if I was I strongly believe that as we are all different we all have different needs and requirements.  Below I’m sharing my experiences based on what has worked for me.

Did you start fasting over Ramadan to lose weight? Absolutely not, in fact when I started researching this I was worried that I would gain weight since this is what a lot of people report. I wanted fast to feel and experience a richer Ramadan. Since coming to Dubai eight years ago, I have always fasted in some shape or form. Sometimes it would be an odd day of full fasting, other times it would be fasting on food but not on water. Three years ago I committed to fast properly and to follow the full principles of fasting for Ramadan.

Is it possible to lose weight over Ramadan? Absolutely! I’m living proof, and no I didn’t starve myself to do it, but of course I did follow the rules of fasting, so was fasting for about fifteen hours per day. This is the third year that I’ve fasted and each year I’ve lost weight. In fact last year and the year before I lost 4.5kgs (10 lbs) over the same period.

What’s my secret?  There is no magic secret as such, but this is what I did and what seems to work for me.  The majority of meals were eaten at home and cooked from scratch by me. Each day I focussed on eating food that would fuel my body, be healthy and sustain me until the next meal. In practice this meant that I broke my fast with dates, water, laban, homemade soup and homemade flatbread and the occasional samosa. Later in the evening I had a late meal for dinner usually consisting of a source of protein, veggies and some carbs. If I was peckish between meals then I would eat a piece of fruit or a South African rusk which was quite low in sugar.  The most important part of all was to keep hydrated so I drank a lot of water, and of course a few cups of good Specialty Coffee.

Eating Out Lavish Iftars and late Suhoor meals are not really something that I support and/or an eat during Ramadan so I kept it very simple and actually only ate out just five times. I went to two buffet Iftars. The first one was very low-key and lovely, the second a larger event with average food. I did not eat to excess at either, partly because I just don’t have space to do so, and partly because I just really didn’t want to. Ramadan is not supposed to be about eating to excess and feeling uncomfortable although lots of people do this. I went to one Ramadan pop up with a Set Menu which was really good and I really enjoyed.  I also made one trip to my local falafel shop to satisfy a falafel craving (sadly they didn’t have falafels on the day, so I ended up with a chicken shawarma plate and humous instead). Finally I had a late night craving for Mille Feuille and Coffee so ended up in a bakery eating Caramel Cheese cake since they had run out of Mille Feuille!

Exercise I exercised about four times per week. Typically this would be two or three boot camps just after Iftar and then one or two late night HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts in my building gym.  I must admit that I didn’t quite manage to train at the same level of intensity that I usually do particularly as some of the boot camp classes as I struggled to get hydrated – this was more clear at the end of Ramadan when boot camp started literally two minutes after Iftar so I had only managed to gulp down a few mouthfuls of water before boot camp started.

How did you fuel up for exercise? This was the most tricky for me particularly with boot camp which was just after Iftar. At the start I experimented with eating a few dates or half a banana just before training, but found both too heavy so instead I either had a few slices of watermelon if time permitted or just fueled with water and then had a protein shake after training.  Training later in the evening was no problem as I was able to eat an Iftar meal before training.

Were you constantly thinking about Food? Yes and No. Yes in the sense that each morning I would start planning what I was going to cook later, what soup would I make, what supplies did I need to buy and what I was going to bake and/or make.  I typically find that I shop daily during Ramadan and not doing a big weekly shop and planning ahead. Was I thinking about food in the sense of “I’m hungry”, absolutely not. To be honest the only thing I was more aware of missing was water, since the heat and humidity means that you feel dehydrated quite early in the day. This was compounded as I also spent at least an hour a day outside on a building site helping with FillingTheBlues.

What did you Cook? Before Ramadan I flicked through a copy of Magic Soup, and made a list of simple soups to make. The criteria I used was that they were simple in terms of the amount of ingredients required, that I had the majority of ingredients in my store cupboard and that they would be simple and easy to make and tasty.  Favorites included minted pea soup, roast tomato soup, leek & potato soup and broccoli soup.  You can read the recipe for Roasted Tomato soup and flat breads in my post here. I also baked banana cake (minus the sugar and topping) from a recipe from FoodeMag dxb.

Any cravings? Aside from a constant craving for chilled water due to dehydration, I craved Mille Feuille, Falafel and crispy/crunchy food as well as caffeine!

How was cooking whilst you were fasting? Cooking itself was fine, but the challenge was to cook and not be able to taste to season etc for Iftar food in particular the soup. It was a bit of an unknown quantity about whether it would be seasoned enough or not. Also have you ever tried baking without sneaking the spoon with some cake batter in your mouth at the end (sorry old habits are hard to change).

How do you feel when you fast? The first few days are tough. I usually get bad headaches which are probably as much to do about caffeine withdrawal as they are with anything else. It usually takes my body a few days to adjust without water and food, but I don’t really feel hungry until just before Iftar time. Mental clarity is tough for a few days but after this I find that it generally improves. Each year I do notice that my eye sight becomes a bit more blurry than usual. This year I suffered really bad cramps in my calf on one day, but I’m putting this down to really bad dehydration as on that day we were outside in the heat for three hours.  Energy wise this fluctuates a little – mostly I had plenty of exercise to train after fasting, with the exception of the last day when I was literally running on empty at the start of the session. During Ramadan my day tends to start later as I tend to sleep later, so I suspect some of this is due to changed sleeping patterns etc.

Would you recommend fasting during Ramadan? Yes, even if it’s only for one day to experience what your Muslim friends/colleagues are experiencing.

What are your plans after Ramadan?

What happens next?  Before Ramadan I had tried Intermittent Fasting on some days and I will continue to do this going forward since it suits me well and is helping with changes to my body composition etc. There are a lot of health benefits for Intermittent Fasting and I will cover this in another post.

Ramadan Fasting

During Ramadan you are not allowed to eat or drink between the first prayer of the day (Fajr) and the next to the last prayers of the day (Maghrib). This is often described as being between sunrise and sunset. This year in Dubai this meant that people were fasting between the hours of 4.00 am and 7.15pm, just over fifteen hours.    Typically during Ramadan those who are fasting eat their first meal of the day at Iftar which is just after the Magrib prayers.  This is then followed later with Suhoor which typically refers to a meal consumed early in the morning before Fajr prayer. Some people eat Suhoor just before Fajr prayers and others tend to just eat later in the evening perhaps before going to bed.

Spicy Tomato Soup & Flatbreads

Spicy Tomato Soup to have at Iftar time

It’s the 15th day of Ramadan already which means that technically today we have just passed the half way point. This year, like the previous two, I am fasting from sunset to sunrise – about 3.50 am through to 7.15 pm.  Breaking fast at Iftar time is an important part of Ramadan for those who celebrate it and usually the fast is broken with something light.

This year the focus has been on breaking fast with something that is light, nutritious, tasty and easy to make. The first thing I always reach for as the Magrib (sunset) prayers are called is a large glass of chilled water along with three dates (Khalas are one of my favorite dates) a small glass of laban and a bowl of homemade soup. This year I have made different soups every 2-3 days using the book, Magic Soup as my inspiration.  I reviewed Magic Soup for FoodeMag Dxb about a year ago now, and each time I pick up the book I’m inspired to get back in the kitchen and cook soup. The book covers everything from bone broths (suddenly trendy though my Grandma has been cooking them for years) through to hearty big bowls of soup which can easily replace a meal.

My Ramadan plan this year was to keep making different soups using inspiration from the Magic Soup book, always with a twist since I find it hard to completely stick to a recipe, and not to repeat a recipe twice.  The aim was to cook simple soups with the majority of ingredients being those which I hold in my kitchen cupboards or simple to source ingredients which are fairly inexpensive.  Partly for my budget, but also partly to try to stick to some of the principles of Ramadan, as well as an extremely sacred and religious period for Muslims, Ramadan is an important time to focus on family and friends and not on lavish food. This Spicy Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup has proven to be a firm winner since it’s easy to make, nutritious, extremely tasty and fairly quick to make and costs less than 20/AED for the batch*

*1 kg tomatoes (15/AED) Everything else was in my kitchen cupboards.

Spicy Roast Tomato & Garlic Soup

This soup tastes great both hot or chilled so works year round. Roasting the tomatoes and garlic intensifies the flavors. I can guarantee once you’ve made this you won’t go back to the canned stuff again.

Serving – 6 – 8 portions


  • 1 Kg Ripe Tomatoes
  • 5 or 6 cloves of garlic
  • Good glug of olive oil
  • 2 x vegetable stock cubes (or your own vegetable stock)
  • 2 liters water
  • 1 Tbsp Paprika or Tandoori Spice (note you can change the spices if you wish)
  • 1/2 Tsp Chilli powder
  • Salt & Pepper to season


  1. Cut the tomatoes into quarters and place in a deep roasting tin
  2. Add the peeled garlic cloves
  3. Sprinkle on the spices and salt & pepper
  4. Drizzle the olive oil over the tomatoes (approx 2 Tbsp)
  5. Put tin in a hot oven (200c) and roast for approx 1 hour
  6. Turn oven off and leave pan in the oven for a further hour or so (this intensifies the flavors but if you are in a rush you can skip this part).
  7. Place the tomatoes, garlic and juices in a large saucepan or slow cooker (I have a multi cooker)
  8. Add the stock cubes and about 2 liters of hot water* – or your own vegetable stock (*I always use hot water from my Zip Water Tap which speeds up the cooking process)
  9. Bring water to the boil and simmer for approximately 30 minutes
  10. Use an immersion blender or blender to blend the soup until it’s smooth – caution the liquid is hot so go careful.

Serving Tips :

  • Serve as is or add a dash of cream for a decadent touch
  • I like to serve with hot flatbreads (recipe below) dotted with just a tiny bit of salted butter
  • Leftovers can be chilled and will keep for a few days in the fridge, or will freeze well too.
  • Serve hot or cold – it works equally well.


Easy Flatbreads

These are quick and easy to make during the last fifteen minutes before the soup is ready. You can add chopped herbs, spices or my favourite middle eastern spice Zaatar to the flatbreads if you want to add a bit of variety.


  • 200g flour – you can use fancy flour if you want, but I often use whatever is in the cupboard, in this case all purpose flour
  • 2-3 Tbsp Cold Water – I use sparkling water from my ZipWater Tap as I find it makes the dough just a little bit lighter.
  • Olive oil for cooking
  • Dab of butter for serving (optional)


  1. Put the flour in a small mixing bowl
  2. Add the water slowly and keep mixing with a spoon until the water and flour are incorporated into a soft dough
  3. If the dough is a little too sticky add some more flour until the dough is not sticky, conversely if the dough is a bit flaky and dry add a little more water
  4. Sprinkle some flour on your work surface and tip the dough onto the flour.
  5. Split the dough into four equal portions
  6. Roll each portion into a ball then use a rolling pin (or glass if you don’t have one) to roll the dough into a circle shape approx 3 mm’s deep (don’t worry if you can’t get a circle it doesn’t matter too much)
  7. Repeat until you have 4 roti.
  8. Heat your frying pan until it’s hot, add a little bit of olive oil
  9. Add the flatbread to the pan and fry for approx 1 minute on each side until it’s light brown and crispyI often add some Zaatar at this stage to make Zaatar flatbread which goes well with the tomato soup.

Serving Tip:

Keep warm and serve with the soup, I like to add a tiny bit of butter on the flatbread for extra flavor




For the last six months I have tried a Zip Water tap which was installed in my kitchen and replaces my normal tap and my kettle too! Since it’s been installed it’s made a huge difference to the way I work in my kitchen.

Hot Water on Tap

The tap is super clever it dispenses boiling hot water at the press of a button, so bye-bye kettle and reboiled water which always tasted a bit nasty. Bye bye limescale buildup too and that bit of chalky sediment that used to build up in my kettle. Hello hot water dispensed as and when I need it, particularly great for my coffee addiction as I can alter the temperature of the water so it’s perfect for brewing freshly ground coffee, or turned up a bit higher for perfectly brewed tea. Cooking vegetables, rice, pasta and making soup etc is also that bit quicker since I always start with boiling hot water. I also use the boiling function to give the sink a quick rinse especially after I’ve done a round of washing up – it keeps germs at bay and the grease away.

Cold Water On Tap

It dispenses sparkling water which I adore, hello healthy fizzy drinks – simply dispense some fizzy water and add some flavoring of your choice. Since I’m avoiding sugar, I choose slices of lemon or lime, a dash of apple cider vinegar or gently infuse some cucumber and berries for something a little more refreshing.  For inspiration on flavoured waters read my article in FoodeMag dxb here >> Water – an essential to life

Unlimited amounts of filtered chilled Water is also on tap, no need to get water delivered by security and no need for a separate water cooler taking up space, or for a fridge full of water bottles, not just a pain to keep but also a huge impact on the environment.

Washing Up & The Environment

Washing up water comes from the same tap which dispenses hot and cold water from the building supply and since I don’t have a dish washer I can wash up easy using the water from here with a top up from the boiling water supply if needed. No more having to leave the spare bedroom water heater on just to have hot water in the kitchen tap for washing up (crazy plumbing I know).


Zip Water Tap in Practice :

The tap comes in different styles and colors etc to suit your kitchen and/or workspace. Different taps also come with different specifications depending on your needs. As well as the tap, there is also an under-counter control centre which takes up the majority of space in the cupboard under the sink. The control box controls all the variables with the water e.g. temperature, dispensing time etc and monitors use. My option includes a C02 tank for sparkling water as well as a filter. The system tells you when things need to be changed, or when a service is required. Based on my current consumption it looks like the filter will last about a year before needing to be changed.


Installation took a few hours with access to the building water supply and an electrical supply being required. Since I rent my place, the team were able to install this with minimal changes to my kitchen which should mean I have a happy landlord when I move.


For the first few days I noticed the noise of the unit as water was heated and/or chilled, however this is now a background noise which I have become used to and rarely hear.

Drinking Dubai Water

The water that comes from your kitchen tap is desalinated water (sea water) which has had the salt removed, been filtered and treated to prevent bacteria growth and then converted into safe drinking water. In general, it’s perfectly safe to drink this water, however before the water makes it to your tap, it’s usually stored in an on-site water tank which needs to be regularly maintained and if not could cause issues. Most people who I know tend not to rely on their building water being drinkable and so tend to drink bottled water which is delivered to their house/apartment.

Safe to drink

Using the Zip Water Tap means that water from my building water tank is processed through a micro filter which removes any dirt or contaminants and is then dispensed directly from the tap. It also means that I am now confident that the water I am drinking is safe and I no longer buy bottled water.

Cold Water

Filtered Cold drinking water is always on tap and comes either was plain chilled water or sparkling water, depending on how you want it dispensed.  There’s also an option for plain unfiltered tap temperature water, perfect for washing up, rinsing items etc. I know I seem obsessed by washing up, but if you don’t have a dishwasher and you like cooking, washing up is a necessary evil lols.

Hot Water

The hot water option allows for the ‘boiling’ temperature to be adjusted which is really handy if you are a bit of a coffee snob like me and is super safe to use with a built-in safety system which means the tap stops dispensing water the moment both buttons are not being pressed. Equally the tap does not get hot to the touch so it’s safe in that respect too.


From a convenience point of view, I no longer have to remember to order water from building security and rely on him delivering when I need it. Nor do I have to plan and/or store large water bottles in my apartment.

My chiller unit has been donated to someone who needed it and I no longer boil countless kettles full of water when I fill flasks for my #ChaiPopUp (Tea for the Taxi Guys) nor do I have to wait for water to come to the boil for cooking vegetables in etc.

Water Consumption

I find that I’m drinking a lot more water now, particularly sparkling water as it’s readily available and always ‘on tap’ so to speak. In fact, since having the tap, I have completely moved away from buying any form of sparkling diet beverages and flavoured sparkling water and so my ‘soft drink’ habit has changed dramatically.


On average I think I save a minimum of AED 50/week (3 x 5 gallon bottles and 6 bottles sparkling water) on buying in water, not to mention the reduction in water bottles going to landfill.

[Disclaimer : I was gifted the Zip Hydrotap by Zip Water. All opinions are my own based on extensive usage of the Zip Water tap in my apartment. More details on www.zipwater.com]


[Images : Header image from Pixabay represents the essence of the soup and the flatbreads and is for reference only. The rest of the images were shot by a slightly dehydrated and tired me after a day of fasting with artificial light on my phone, so are not up to my usual standard, but represent the real challenges of cooking and shooting images after fasting (well my reality anyways).]



Read Article in Edition 8 of FoodeMag dxb | Issuu

Victoria Tipper -Life & Nutrition Coach – Tried & Tested

Victoria Tipper – Life & Nutrition Coach

Victoria met with us over the course of the twelve week program for both Life Coaching Sessions and to offer Nutritional support.

Tried & Tested

Life Coaching

In my corporate life I used to coach senior leaders for business performance, but never had I had personal life coaching with the focus on ME. For the first session, to be honest I was a bit uncomfortable sitting in the comfortable chair, and not taking notes – seems those were Victoria’s job and not mine!

Victoria has such a good nature that actually after a few minutes, it felt like I was chatting to a good friend and we made some really good progress discussing the sorts of things that I wanted to focus on and those that are out of balance.  After the first session I came home with a small action plan as well as a bit of a better understanding about me.

My first action plan:

  • Read The Power of Now
  • Concentrate a bit more on making time for friends and family and staying in touch
  • Try and cut the need to be so focussed on using technology all the time (I found myself going out for a coffee on my balcony with my laptop, phone, and kindle!)
  • To try some form of relaxation/mindfulness

Over the course of the program we met Victoria a few times, I discussed progress on my plan and areas that I had not been able to work on, seems the book – The Power of Now is just not for me, I’ve dipped in and out of it a few times and just don’t ‘get it’. I do however, enjoy yoga in particular SUP Yoga with SeaYou which has been a big breakthrough for me.  Reducing technology use is still work in progress since I rely on technology heavily for my job. I have however, made more time to focus on family and friends and intend to continue with this.

Would I have Life Coaching again? Absolutely especially with someone who I feel comfortable talking to and Victoria fits the bill perfectly for me.

Nutrition Coaching 

After we received our DNA Analysis and understood more about how our bodies are designed, Victoria took time to explain what this meant in practice which was extremely useful. It’s one thing to read a report and another thing to have it explained to you personally, not only does the information sink in more, but it also allows you the opportunity to work out a plan of action based on the report and with sound nutritional advice to back that.

During phase 3 of the program Victoria devised individual recipes and menu plans based on the DNA results, my feedback from progress during Phase 2 when we ate meals provided by Pura as well as based on my feedback of what I liked/wanted to focus on.  This was incredibly useful and I’ve tried out a few of the recipes.  The great thing is that Victoria is only a WhatsApp message away with queries etc.

We also got the chance to see some of Victoria’s recipes being cooked by Chef Girish from Media One Hotel who used produce from Ripe Market. A walk around Ripe Market the week before was enhanced by nutrition tips by Victoria she explained how to use various ingredients, nutrition tips etc.



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