13.12.17

Part 3 of the Ultimate Bloggers "Fitmas" Gift Guide

We're back... with more inspiration for fittie gift buying this Christmas. Part's 1 and 2 (which you can catch here ...and here) went down really well, so I have three more ladies who have kindly shared their wish lists with me...

I think Christmas is really on its way and for the first time in what seems like a very, very long time, it might be a White Christmas as it's already been snowing here in London. Everyone seems to be completely enamoured with the snow (I can't blame them) but what makes it annoying is that the entire country seems to grind to a halt... cancelled trains, roads blocked, cancelled flights, power cuts... so the only answer is to indulge in a little gift buying online...

So, first up...

Corey
Hello from Florida! I’m Corey - a Type 1 diabetic adrenaline junkie, loves running, OCR’s, ultras, you name it. Here are some of my Christmas Gift must buys for the runner in your life.
Road ID - you can never be too safe, especially if you run alone a lot like me

Medal Lamp - Talk about a conversation piece!  I want this lamp… 

Stance Socks subscription - A totally customizable plan for sock type, thickness and sport and for just $19/month it’s the perfect motivation to go running. 

Kalenji Running Gloves from Decathlon - I’ve bought every kind of glove for running and these £3.99 pair are the best, a perfect stocking stuffer. 

***

Mary
Hi! I'm Mary and over on my blog A Healthier Moo I detail how I go about training for ultramarathons alongside my new role as 'Mum'.

On my Fitmas wish list for this year I've jotted down the following items...
* A parkrun long-sleeved apricot top, customised with my home parkrun 'Northampton'.
        I've become a little addicted to parkrun tourism this year and feel like I should be wearing my home parkrun proudly across my chest when I go on my travels.

* A flipbelt.
        Phones are so big now!  My old running belt no longer holds my phone whilst out on a run.

* A pair of Aftershokz headphones.
        As a lot of my training is completed on my own at the moment I'd feel a little safer knowing that I could hear anybody approaching me whilst I listened to my music on my run.

* A treadmill.
        For those days when I still need to get a run in but my baby has already fallen asleep for the night!

***

Anna
My name is Anna and I’m a blogger, fitness coach, trainee Personal Trainer and aspiring bikini athlete. Just like my life, my list to Santa this year has had a fitness takeover so I’d love these in my stocking rather than just a lump of coal this year…
GymShark Fit Leggings and Sports Bra – I can’t help it, I’m your stereotypical bikini girl and I need more GymShark in my life.

Beginner Boxing Course – I used to love boxing at uni and really want to bring it back into my routine for some hardcore cardio. Pretty please, Santa?

Grenade Bars – a stocking filled to the brim of these delicious (and nut-free!) protein treats would be a dream. Nom.

***

...and that concludes part 3 of our ultimate bloggers fitmas gift guide! Make sure you save this post and check out these ladies awesome blogs!

What's on your Christmas wishlist?! 


Elle :) 

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11.12.17

Shot Of Summer: The Ultimate Playlist


This year, as like most, I challenged myself to see how long I could go until I had to turn the heating on. I think I made it to about the 15th November for which I’m very proud (I was born in a tropical climate afterall!). Since then, the days have been getting darker still and we’ve even seen a few flecks of snow here in London. Winter is not coming. Winter is here.

Apparently, 59% of us wish it was summer all year round. Is that you?? ...I’m not too sure, I quite like transitioning seasons but I think in an ideal world I’d definitely reduce the length of the colder spells. E.ON set me the challenge of making life a little more summery this winter and tbh for a while I was really stuck for an idea...

Then it hit me. Nothing changes my mood quite like music does. The tracks I play in my classes are the source of my energy so surely this would work for making me feel a little more summery?!


I’ve basically made my home as winter-proof as possible whilst also trying to monitor my energy usage (I’m actually a stickler for this, you’d never know!). My heating is programmed to come on at certain times each day including just before I wake up so my bedroom is nice and toasty giving me one less reason to not want to get out of bed. I then turn my heating onto the setting that just keeps a low temperature while I am out.

I also try not to whack the heating up every five minutes and ensure that I’m wearing a snuggly jumper and consume copious amounts of tea to help keep me warm! I am actually an E.ON customer too so I keep an eye on their See tool where you can track and compare energy usage; I always aim to use less than the previous year!

Anyway, back to the music! I couldn’t do this on my own, so I reached out to all my friends on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for suggestions and then collated them all in the aptly named Spotify playlist - Shot of Summer. It’s a great mix of songs from 2017, some old school vibes plus a few songs I actually had never heard before. Listening to this playlist comes with that extra fuzzy feeling knowing that each song contributed is special to the person that suggested it too!


You can use the playlist for your workouts, to get groovy while you do your housework (just me?!) or even as background music over dinner or during revision! 

Hop over to the E.ON blog when you get a chance to check out tips they are sharing from Love Island contestant Gabby Allen (fun fact: I worked with Gabby at FRAME before she went into the show). 

How do you deal with the effects of the changing weather?! 

Elle :) 

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p.s this post was written in collaboration with E.ON but you know me, all thoughts and opinions are my very own ;) 

7.12.17

Going Online: How to Start Your Own Fitness-Based Business


Fitness is turning into one of the fastest-growing industries on the market. As health awareness increases, the demand for anything from fitness centres to accessories and supplements grows alongside it. In the previous article, we covered the business of fitness and some of the things that make it so exciting.

The business side of fitness also presents many opportunities for online entrepreneurs. Ecommerce sites specialising in fitness outfits, shoes, accessories, and fitness gadgets are among the most profitable online stores in today’s market. You can capitalise on the rapidly growing demand by starting your own online fitness-based business.

Defining the Business 
Fitness is a very broad industry, which is why the best way to enter the market is by clearly defining a segment you want to focus on. There are several ways you can do this. You can simply base the business on your passion; if you love running, for example, you can build a business around the sport.

You can also use your initial budget as a parameter. It is much easier to start a retail business with a limited number of fitness products when you want to keep the initial investment low. You can take it a step further by working with wholesalers who do drop-shipping.

Alternatively, you can tap into the market that is most accessible to you. Seek demands from the people around you and develop a business around those demands. This approach gives you the best foundation for growth and lets the business operates with minimum risks.

Photo Credit: Lolography
Establishing an Online Storefront 
The next big step to take is setting up an online storefront. Your ecommerce site will dictate the success of your business, which is why it is important to get the site right from the start. It is easier to please new customers with a great site than to win back their attention after a bad user experience.

If you have no experience in developing an ecommerce site before, hire professionals. Top companies such as Eventige have the expertise and experience needed to establish a working, well-designed online store. You also benefit from fast development too; the sooner you can enter the market the better, right?

Aside from getting professional help, it is also a good idea to learn more about the technical side of ecommerce sites, at least on a basic level. Learn from the experts assisting you with the development and browse through online resource centres for more information.

Marketing Your Business 
The last piece of the fitness business equation is marketing. You can’t expect customers to come to your new ecommerce site without doing proper online – and offline – marketing. Fortunately, you now have things such as social media and video sharing platform on your side.

Invest in producing contents that your target customers actually love, and use those contents to bring traffic to your site. Since you already have a well-crafted online storefront, converting visitors into customers should be a walk in the park.

Getting started with an online fitness business is actually very straightforward; simply follow these three steps to establish your online business. For more resources on how to take your fitness business to success, be sure to stay tuned right here on "keep it simpElle".

Adrian 

Author Bio: Adrian is a lifelong thrill seeker and adrenaline junkie. A freelance sports writer, Adrian is passionate about health and fitness and pushing his body to limits. Whether he's rambling in the beautiful Cotswolds or bunjy jumping in New Zealand, Adrian is a fervent believer in making the most of the great outdoors.

4.12.17

Behind The Screen: What Are Affiliate Links? ...And Should You Use Them.

So this post idea was brought to my mind after I posted the below on my personal Facebook page:


One of my good friends responded to say she identifies with the quote so I said “y’all need to contribute to saving my life please”. To which my friend then said “I don’t understand. How do I do that?!”. And I realised that maybe I take it for granted that everyone knows everything and people understand what affiliate links are. So here’s a little story all about how... lol

Basically, we all know how we’d rather get a recommendation for something than listen to a sales person or advertising right?! Since day dot, word of mouth has served as the best promotion tool for brands everywhere. So with the rise of technology it should be no surprise that brands would find a way to take word of mouth to the next level...

These days, we as customers, have so many platforms to voice our opinions. I mean, when I get let down by the central line (again) over 4K people (potentially) will hear about it on Twitter! It’s not necessarily that Twitter is the best way to communicate with a brand but in certain situations I’ve found it to be quicker and having such a transparent conversation is usually great for getting a response. Any brand that values their reputation has members of their team monitoring social media if they don’t have dedicated staff.

Shop this post here: http://liketk.it/2tGgX

So brands created a way to reward customers who share their products etc and generate sales. These “customers” are known as affiliates; we sign up via numerous platforms (I’ve chatted lots about Affiliate Window on the blog and more recently about Reward Style) which allow us to generate links containing a code that links back to us.

Links can come in various formats from long like this: (ASOS homepage) https://www.awin1.com/cread.php?awinmid=5678&awinaffid=206187&clickref=&p= ...to short like this: (ASOS homepage) http://tidd.ly/9f531520  ...Reward style links usually look like this: (ASOS homepage) http://rstyle.me/n/cvcwxxcckix

When you click the link you’ll notice it flicks through a number of other sites before landing at the desired destination; it’s all very quick to be honest. If you click an affiliate link and go on to buy something, the affiliate will normally receive a small payment which I guess is a little “thank you” from the brand for sharing their stuff. Clicking the link usually pops a cookie in the persons browser for up to 30 days so even if a sale isn’t instant it can still be attributed to you within that time period.

Personally, I only become an affiliate for brands I love and use myself. Back in the early days of blogging I probably joined a few irrelevant ones as I had no idea what it was all about. The biggest lesson I’ve learnt is that being an affiliate doesn’t generate any income without a lot of effort and hard work. People don’t just click your link and buy. If only, eh?!! You have to share the hell out of links all whilst maintaining your authenticity. After all I’m a blogger and fitness professional not a sales woman.

Clicking an affiliate link will never cost you anything. And you’ll never pay more. In fact, chances are you will pay less through unique codes that are shared via affiliates. During Black Friday for example, MyProtein had some epic deals; on one particular day they had an extra 20% off their already discounted stuff but if you used the code affiliates were sharing then you could get that to 22% off! Every little % counts right?!

I’ve heard that some people go out of their way not to click affiliate links and I don’t fully understand why. If you’ve read someone’s content and are interested in what they are sharing with you, why would you not wanna especially if people are open and honest about using them? ...cos what we get rewarded with is usually insignificant on its own. Normally a maximum of 10% with “day to day” brands, more frequently around the 2-5% mark.

I have a section in my policies on the blog about affiliate links and if I knowingly use them in a blog post I will add a “contains affiliate links” tag. The money I make from affiliate schemes normally just goes back into running the blog and my goal next year is to move to Wordpress selfhosted which will be an added cost for me but beneficial in the long run so short of putting a donate button in my sidebar (lol) every little bit of affiliate income will go to good use!

Here's a post I wrote about sharing affiliate links: Behind The Screen: 6 Quick Tips For Sharing Affiliate Links

...and if you have any questions about affilIate links or how I use them pop them in the comments below or get in touch via my social media channels linked below...


Elle :)

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1.12.17

In My Skin | Dealing With Post Pill Acne

Photo Credit: Serena Reidy
More than six months ago I went to the doctor to get some help with my skin and blemishes. At my age (if you don’t know then you don’t know), I felt I really shouldn’t still have to be worrying about getting spots. She basically told me that that’s just the way things are these days; people are suffering with bad skin for longer due to the food we consume, pollution and so on. She gave me three options; Roaccutane, antibiotics in topical form or tablet or to go on the contraceptive pill. I’m loathed to ever use Roaccutane, I’d rather not take antibiotics unnecessarily and I had stopped taking the pill about 12-18 months previously so I went for the topical antibiotic option. A clear liquid I would apply to my skin morning and night for about 10-12 weeks.

By the end of the 12 weeks there really had been no difference in my opinion and I didn’t see the point in going back to the doctors. Some weeks later I started to get paranoid that the products I used on my face were too “synthetic” so I popped into Lush and bought a face wash, face cream and spot gel and also took away a few samples of various masks. Now it’s been a few weeks and really, still nothing has changed. I know we have to give these things time but I think I know my skin by now. It then dawned on me the root of my current skin problems; I stopped taking the contraceptive pill around January 2016... about 6-9 months before my skin started to go crazy.

Add to that the fact that over the past few months my periods have been turning up every 18 days; I thought I needed to take back a little control of my life. I actually asked the Doctor if he thought I should take a break from the pill after being on it for 18 years. Yup. In my life, I’d been on the pill for longer than I hadn’t been on the pill. But the doctor just checked my age and said I had “another 4 years left”. I have no idea why there is a cut off mark at 35 but I decided to take a break anyway; I felt like it was a good idea to understand my body, my cycle and my emotions.


What I didn’t understand was the effects of no longer taking the pill, one of them being post pill acne which can begin to surface anytime up to 9 months after you stop and in some cases produces acne far worse than experienced previous to the pill. Well it seems I found this out too late... surely this is the kind of information you should be told before you start taking oral contraceptive??

So now I'm back on the pill and I'm about to quit again. I had planned to see it through for 1-2 months however since taking my first pill on the first day of my period over two weeks ago, I literally haven't stopped bleeding (TMI?! or just the kinda things we really should be talking about?). I rang the Doctor and requested a call with the result being that I should just stop taking it with immediate effect (not before offering me the mini pill though. sigh.) In speaking to the Doctor, it came to light that I also went to the Doctor in November 2016 for my skin which fits with my timeline of coming off the pill. He suggested monitoring my skin for 2-4 weeks and if I am still concerned to book an appointment then maybe I could be referred to a dermatologist.

As this is something happening from the inside, I really want to find a way to deal with it naturally. Based on what I read online, I purchased some zinc tablets and am also considering trying Agnus Cactus (if you've used this before I would be keen to hear your thoughts?) and just keep up a good skincare routine. Not wearing make up is not an option for me right now to be honest due to confidence but I try to keep it to the bare minimum of concealer and sometimes powder / foundation (and obviously lashings of mascara and eyebrow pencil!!). I've also been road testing a few products now I realise that they won't do any harm (cue less panic buying at Lush lol) - Neostrata Clarifying Facial Cleanser and Exuviance Purifying Clay Masque. The cleanser is soap free and perfect for fighting against breakouts. The masque is also for problem prone skin which will help me to fight this acne breakout from the outside too! I then lather on my moisturiser from Lush, followed by the spot gel, my make up and I am good to go.



Having tweeted about this, some other women have gotten in touch thinking that their acne might also be linked to them stopping the pill and quite frankly if me sharing helps even just one other person figure this out and get on with fixing it, then I will be happy!

Do you suffer from acne?! Did you start taking the pill to deal with acne? Or have you suffered from post pill symptoms? 


Elle :) 


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