Feeling the Christmas burn: Wearable tech and a day of Christmas shopping in London

Some of you may remember that time earlier this year when I joined a fat camp in a knee-jerk reaction to eating too many pancakes on ‘Fat Tuesday’. I do that sometimes. Get to a point where whatever I’m doing makes me sad and I suddenly change tact. It’s evident throughout my life, having just decided to go travelling for the second time, even though I have the best job in the entire world.

But for all the good that week of sweat and hard graft did me… I’m now chubbier and more flat-footed than ever, and with Christmas looming, it’s a situation that’s not likely to get any better soon.

So, I’m out of shape. No point in crying about it. What can I do about it?

I’m ashamed to say that my long-term plan at the moment is to get to India and hope that nature takes its course (if you catch my drift), but in the meantime, when I heard about an initiative to get fit whilst doing your Christmas shopping, well, that sounded right up my street.

I think we’re all guilty of living in the online world sometimes. I know I am. My job requires it, my blog requires it, and I even stay online for fun, reading other people’s blogs and watching my favourite YouTubers. So when it comes to shopping, I usually default to my trusty laptop, grab something tasty from the fridge and settle down for another long session of sitting and consuming. Healthy.

One night during my standard pattern of virtual work, I received an invitation from Currys for the chance to show how Christmas shopping can be good for your health. I was sceptical, but the invitation promised to take me to some of London’s shopping hotspots, all whilst measuring how far I walk and how many calories are burned in the process with a piece of wearable tech.

When I arrived I was presented with a Fitbit (- absolutely delighted with this, as I had been wanting one for ages!) and met my guide from Best LDN Walks who’s job it was to impart the wisdom of this city onto my eager ears. The Fitbit works by tracking your steps (which is all very clever and the technology goes wayyyy over my head!) and hooks up with an app which stores info such as calories burned, food consumption, weight tracking and hours of sleep.


It was time to hit the streets of London and our first stop was Charbonnel & Walker, master chocolate makers and supplier to the Queen herself! The smell of fresh chocolates filled the air, and it was right about this point that I realised that I hadn’t had any breakfast. Is it socially acceptable to eat a £20 box of royal chocolates for breakfast? I think so.

Charbonnel Walker

After sampling some of the delights including the Queen’s favourite chocolate (parma violet in case you’re wondering, and yes, it was astonishing!), we continued on to our next destination, Hatchard’s Bookshop in Piccadilly. Hatchard’s was opened in 1797 and is the oldest book shop in the UK. After 4 years of living in the city, I’m ashamed to say I’ve never ventured inside… until now of course. Expectations were high, and this dusty old book shop did not disappoint. With its creaking floorboards and rabbit warren-style layout, it’s easy to lose a few hours exploring all of the nooks and crannies!

Hatchard’s is also the most respected book shop in London, supplying books to the royal household (I’m sensing a theme here!), and regularly hosts book signings with infamous authors such as J.K. Rowling, Stephen Fry, Margaret Thatcher, Sebastian Faulks and David Attenborough. Sadly, there wasn’t a signing on the day I visited, but I still had a great time walking around, sniffing all of the lovely books! There’s just something about the smell of new books which fills me with a kind of madness!!

Hatchards Book Shop

My third and final stop was James J Fox Cigar Merchants, which again is filled with historic tales, and has a smell to die for. I’m not really into smoking, but my dad is partial to the occasional cigar and so it was the perfect opportunity to browse for some unique Christmas gifts. The shop has been serving London with the finest cigars for over 225 years and can count some pretty high-profile people as customers; Sir Winston Churchill, Oscar Wilde, and of course British royalty. There’s even historical memorabilia such as the actual chair which Winston Churchill sat on to smoke his cigars.

I’ve always known London is filled with history, but this little jaunt has proven to me just how incredible my little city is. I love London!!

James J Fox


So, how did I do with burning calories? Well, after roughly 2 hours of wandering the streets I counted 2,408 steps and just over 200 calories. Not quite what I was hoping for, but after using my Fitbit all day, and without the busy streets of London, I was able to crack around 13,000 steps and nearly 3,000 calories (OK, it was a very active day with lots of walking, but that’s pretty impressive!). Since my shopping trip, I’ve been using my Fitbit loads and have become obsessed with reaching my 10,000 steps daily goal. It’s actually quite a problem!

So am I a changed woman? Not quite. I enjoyed the fresh air and getting away from my desk, but I wouldn’t say I’m going to rush to run another marathon off the back of this. For now, I’ll just keep counting my steps and wait for India to work its magic next year.

Now pass me those mince pies….


The #CurrysChristmasWalk was put together in association with Currys. I received no financial reward for this post but was allowed to keep my Fitbit. 

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Hayley is the author behind A Life of More, a travel and lifestyle blog with the goal of helping you to live a happier and more fulfilled life, whether you're currently travelling or happily settled.

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