24.4.15

My Favourite App - Appsme Challenge

Who doesn't like a challenge?! And this one sounded so simple, I didn't hesitate to say yes. The challenge was set by Appsme.com; they help small businesses (like the little coffee shops and salons dotted around London) to create their own mobile apps. All I had to do was share my favourite app! 

...firstly, I'm not one of those people who have 200 apps on my iPhone. I'm constantly deleting apps if I work out that I don't use them enough. But the apps I do use, how can I choose just one?! And one that wasn't boring like internet banking, or notes! 


Afterlight 

I use this app to makes photos square so I can share them on IG. It was my friend Alpha who let me know this app existed and it's stayed firmly in place since I downloaded it! 




Snapseed 

Another photo editor app. I use this one to crop / reshape my photos. I also love some of the filters they have. 



Amazon

My favourite shopping app. I never make a purchase without checking what the price is on amazon first! It's a great place to save things too using the wishlist option. 

Now it's over to you. 

Is there an app you can't live without, or would love to share?! 

Share it with me,  and Appsme.com @Appsmecom 

Elle :) 

23.4.15

Elle Loves... April 2015

In my grand plan of blog posts, today was gonna be Elle About Town for April 2015. However, when I checked my diary, I realised I really hadn't been up to much exciting! I did however, have quite a few new things I tried that I wanted to share with you...


1. Flipbelt 

This bright little number is to be work around your waist. It's laden with pockets to stash all your bits in. I took it along to run club with me one Wednesday evening and used it to stash my phone and a few other bits. You slide your stuff into the slits then literally flip the belt over to keep everything secure. It fit really well, nothing moved and I instantly forgot it was there! Check them out {HERE}

2. Shock Absorber Active Multi Sports Support Bra 

A sports bra made to be versatile. I like that the back was fully opening; I hate having to struggle to get in or out of a sports bra. I can't quite believe that over a third of women (35%) don't wear a sports bra when exercising! This one RRP's at £31 so even if it's just one you invest in, make it this one! I used it for run club and found the support was as high as they say it is! I then wore it all day, which wasn't too comfy but for your workout / run, it's perfect! Pick one up {HERE}

3. POM Juice

POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice from concentrate has launched a new single serving bottle. I popped a bottle along with breakfast one morning which made for a tasty addition. I love that there are no hidden nasties in this juice - no added sugar, artificial ingredients or cheap filler juices. 



4. Runtastic Music Running Vol 3

Considering I teach classes every week, I'm not the best at downloading new music. I rely on the shuffle capability of my iPod and / or iPhone to deliver a new playlist each time I teach.

Music has been scientifically-proven to impact exercise time, intensity and overall outcome so Runtastic chose a variety of upbeat songs from a mix of motivating genres to help users push themselves to reach new goals.

Check out this sample of the tracks...

{BUY YOUR COPY HERE} 



5. Spatone Iron Supplement 

I've always suffered a little from low iron levels so I like to supplement to ensure I keep my energy levels up. I've been using the spatone ready made apple flavoured sachets recently. They don't taste too bad and are easy to carry around so I remember to take it!


Products I'll Be Checking Out Soon...


***NEW Hiplok GOLD - a top of the range bicycle lock (cos we all know I take bike security seriously)

***NEW Cycloc HERO Bike Storage solution

***Women's Speedo Fit Body Positioning Kickback Swimsuit

What products have been loving over the past month?! What products are on your wishlist to try?! 

Elle :) 

21.4.15

Guest Post: Kayla Itsines; The latest fad or worth the investment?

Elle and I are both quite sceptical people – actually I prefer ‘careful’, a less negative word – so when she asked me what I’d heard about Kayla Itsines, and what I thought of her plan/ movement, I knew I had to give a good answer. 



For those who’ve been living under a rock for the last six months or so, Kayla Itsines (“It’s-seen-ess”) is one of the many personal trainers offering an online plan that users buy, download, complete and then post before/ after pics on their social media which Kayla then re-posts to boost her following. 

It’s incredible to think that before Instagram, this kind of online community and method of training simply wouldn’t exist. She’s reached international acclaim along with 2.6 million Instagram followers

And good for her. I like Kayla. I like her plan, I like how she explains the basis of her training and I like the results I’ve achieved. 



The premise of Kayla’s Bikini Body Guides (there are two, each lasting 12 weeks, to be done consecutively to result in 24 weeks of training) is simple: 

Four exercises to be completed according to the number of reps, for seven minutes, as many times as you can. 

Rest, then do another circuit of four different exercises, according to the reps, for seven minutes (you see where I’m going…). 

You do each circuit twice. The result is 28 minutes of exercise, which with rest periods, setting up / putting away equipment, took me no longer than 40 minutes. I also did a 5-10 minute brisk walk/ step/ cycle warm up, and if I wasn’t pressed for time, a similar cool down. 

You do a circuit three times a week, each day a different body part (arms, abs and legs). The other days you do rehab (foam rolling) and low intensity steady state (LISS) cardio which is great for fat burning. 

Kayla’s guide gets progressively more challenging, which I found a huge confidence booster. I have zero plyometric (explosive) strength, so when faced with box jumps and the like, I groaned. By week 12, I was hopping about the place like the Easter Bunny after too much caffeine. 

I recommended the plan to a friend of mine who has just taken up exercise again after her second baby. BBG1 offers a month of ‘pre-training’ to get you ready, designed for those who’ve not exercised before or who are coming back from a long time off intense exercise. She found this very helpful and reassuring.


Because intense it is. It looks pretty easy and seven minutes sounds like nothing, but 14 minutes into the session, the hashtag #deathbykayla suddenly makes sense.
Was I happy with the results? Happy enough to spend another £36 buying BBG2. I didn’t follow her nutrition plan (available for AUD $69) as I have a lot of food intolerances/ allergies that meant half of the recipes were impossible for me. I did eat well for 70 per cent of the 12 weeks, but I wasn’t as good as I could’ve been (damn you, cake; damn you will-power). 

I think if I’d been very strict with my food intake, I would’ve felt confident to post my transformation pictures on social media, but that has more to do with my issues about posting body selfies etc., on Instagram, than the integrity of Kayla’s plan. 

My pros and cons are as follows:

PROS

  • Very easy to do, you can get away without a gym membership for BBG1 at least.
  • Easy, with modifications if needed and explains thoroughly and clearly the science. 
  • Requires no thinking from you: Check out the day’s workout, set it up, and go. 
  • It works. If you follow it properly and don’t cheat yourself (i.e., skip workouts), you will see results. Of course, eating well is essential for any shape-changing plan.
  • It’s cheap. For 12 weeks of training, it’s £3 a week. Try and find a Personal Trainer for that. 
  • Online support network is massive. Use a Kayla hashtag on a photo, and other BBG-ers write generally nice, supportive things (but see below…)

CONS

  • It requires dedication, persistence and self-motivation. There’s no one there to ask where you were or why you didn’t train. If you need a buddy to get you moving, it would make good sense to do so. 
  • As you progress, you need more than the standard home exercise equipment. Kayla does explain how you can use your couch or a wall for her exercises, but I found using my gym’s equipment was a lot easier.
  • It takes up space. It’s hard to do some exercises in most living room spaces and even in the gym at peak time. 
  • The inevitable Kayla backlash is pretty vicious, and Kayla lovers and haters get into arguments on the comments section underneath Instagram photos. Kayla gets involved, which is admirable of her (she posts a lot about standing up to trolls), but also completely pointless. 
  • It can get repetitive. I didn’t mind, but my boyfriend – who hilariously called the plan “girly” before struggling to complete the session – got very bored with doing 30 reps of the same thing. 

If you are self-motivated, enjoy training outside of a class environment, can stick to a somewhat repetitive plan and are motivated by strangers’ before/ after pics on Instagram, then Kayla’s BBG workouts are a very reasonably priced, well planned and results-driven way to train. 

Check out Kayla's website here! Use code Simp10 to get 10% off your purchase or visit {here} to sign up for a free 7 day trial! 

What are your thoughts on the programmes?! 

What's your favourite type of workout?! 

Lex 

20.4.15

WIN: Reebok Spartan Race UK Entry!



I took part in my first ever obstacle course race (OCR) late last year and LOVED it! Since then though, I committed to learning to swim in order to take on my first triathlon but that doesn't mean you can't have any OCR fun in 2015! 

Reebok Spartan Races take place all across the UK with the next event set to take place in just a few weeks - London Sprint at Allianz Park (the FIRST stadium race), May 16th 2015. 


Last year, Spartan were touring the UK with a little OCR set up. One evening I took my Wednesday Run Club members via the set up and begged them to let us have a go! THAT was when I found out how much harder obstacles are than they look! I realised they were a full body workout... a chance / reason to improve my upper body strength and work on my agility... all whilst having fun!

So, to win yourself an entry to ANY of the UK Reebok Spartan Races coming up in 2015 just choose any of the options via rafflecopter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
So no excuses now! Click {HERE} to find your nearest location and to find out any other information that you may need! 

If you're not lucky enough to win your entry, bag yourself 10% off of any race by using this code: BLOGGER15


And as our Spartan friends say...


AROO!!



Elle ;) 

17.4.15

A Taste of Scandinavia: Nordic Bar, London


You know I moved to Northern Finland once right?! Well, when the opportunity came up to review a Scandinavian Restaurant / Bar in London for the Transun Guide to Scandinavian Restaurants, I jumped at the chance to experience a little nostalgia.

Location: Nordic Bar


Located on a side street just off Oxford Street. You're out of the hustle and bustle of the shoppers though!

Date / Time: Saturday 4th April 2015, 630pm


I opted for dinner and drinks on a Saturday night after a day at work. It'd be one less thing to think about and a good opportunity to catch up with friends!

I arrived bright and early for my table booking to ensure everything went to plan; I had booked for another evening last month and when I turned up they turned me away saying they knew nothing of my booking. Things went a little smoother this time albeit not exactly perfect!

The place was pretty quiet at this time with sport on the TV and a few lads drinking and cheering. As the evening went on, we were joined by a few couples and one guy on his own. We were pretty hungry so we scanned through the menu while we sipped on a cocktail...

To share: Nachos (£5.95)


Mains: Swedish Meatballs (£8.95), Chips (£3.50), Nordic Beef Burger (£7.95) with bacon and cheese (add £1.50), Crispy Calamari (£4.95), Caesar Salad (£7) add chicken (£2)



The food came pretty quickly and was sizeable portions. I personally ate the meatballs, chips and nachos. The meatballs tasted pretty good, just like when I had them in IKEA in Sweden! The nachos were also good...they came with our main meal though so it meant I kept snacking while eating and then didn't even finish my meatballs!

The other ladies fed back that their food was pretty decent too although they weren't a fan of the calamari.




Dessert: Cake, of which I can't remember nor find the name and price of on the Nordic Bar website!


Overall, for the price (all the food  not including drinks, came to less than £50 for 3 of us), it was great food! A cheap eat for post shopping, a few drinks and a chance to catch up with friends!

What's your favourite style of food?! 

Elle :) 
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