Easy Coconut Banana Loaf with The Groovy Food Company

Picture this. It's Sunday. I'm due a food shop. All that's left in the house are two bananas which took like they may grow legs at any point and run off. I'm perusing instagram and people are baking banana loaves...but what can I bake mine with?! I google recipes and I don't have everything I need so I decide to improvise and...


What I did have to hand though was a selection of The Groovy Food Company products.

I know when I read recipes, I hate to have to scroll down miles to see the recipe so I'm gonna share that then talk about it after!

Easy Coconut Banana Loaf with The Groovy Food Company 
Dairy Free | Gluten Free* | 15 mins preperation
60 minutes to cook


  • 1/3 cup coconut oil 
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 3 ripe bananas 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 3/4 cups organic brown rice (ground into flour)
  • 3/4 cups oats (ground into flour)*use gluten free oats to make recipe GF
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/4 cup almond milk 
  • cacoa nibs 
  • 1/4 cup oats 

If like me, you don't own flour, you have to be creative. I had the tiniest bit of organic brown rice left so I ground it into flour (using a Vitamix) and then ground enough oats to make up the 1.5 cups of flour needed. 

I kid you not, I then threw everything in the Vitamix and blitzed it like a smoothie then poured it into my silicone loaf tin. I was a little worried that the mixture was too runny so thats where the extra 1/4 of oats came in (whole) which I mixed into the batter when in the loaf tin. I topped the batter with a generous sprinkling of cacao nibs and shoved it in the oven at approx 165 degrees (fan assisted) for 60 minutes (or more accurately until my knife slid out clean). 

We (my mum and I) had the loaf sliced and served with butter and a cup of tea as an indulgent treat that Sunday evening. The rest of the loaf, I had without butter. It's perfect as it's not ridiculously sweet like some loaves I have made in the past. The moistness of the oat flour is met with the dryness of the rice flour balancing everything out perfectly!

Agave Nectar 
This dark and rich agave nectar is a great natural replacement for brown sugar; and because it's so much sweeter than sugar, you can use a third less!! It also has a low GI (of 27) which means no crazy sugar highs for us! It is sooooo smooth, 100% organic and fat free; a staple in my kitchen cupboard since I discovered it a few years ago! 

Coconut Oil 
Another great organic product and healthy swap for butter in this case! Coconut oil has a high smoke point which means it's good for frying, roasting and baking; not losing its nutrients in the process. I think we've all gone a little beauty crazy for coconut oil but it still gets used almost daily in my kitchen!

So, I don't expect you to have read this far. I mean, surely you're in the kitchen sourcing your ingredients to make this. Right. Now.

If you do give it a go, let me know your thoughts! Otherwise, let me know what your healthy swaps in cooking and baking are?! 

Elle :) 

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In My Skin || Part I, Body Confidence

When you're a BAD ASSED, strong willed, determined and vocal individual it's sometimes hard to understand where those of a completely polar opposite nature are coming from. I mean, f**k me, the amount of body confidence, body shaming, bodies bodies bodies... articles I've seen around in the past few months has rocketed. Many have claimed lower levels of self esteem are linked to the rise in social media. I get it. But some people do find their inspiration and motivation online following their #fitspiration.

Where Do You Find Your Inspiration To Keep Fit?!

I personally don't seek nor find inspiration externally which brought me to a realisation recently about why I may lack motivation to exercise and a huge part of it comes down to what I see in the media, on social media and how those around me speak of exercise. Every article seems to be about losing weight, or getting a bigger butt. Thinner arms, reduce back fat, achieve thinner thighs. What about those of us who work out for the feeling or the social interaction rather than the aesthetics?!

Celebrating Active Women 

...doing their thing, no matter how well they do it, how they look or even how red their face gets. This is  Sport England trying to buck a trend with the #ThisGirlCan campaign. I had hoped this campaign would be aimed at inspiring those who are not participating in sport or exercise but it seems that the people taking to the campaign are the ones who already go to the gym, eat healthily and generally lead an active life.

I've been lucky enough to have been involved in sport all through my younger years (with the usual drop out gap between the ages of 14 - 18) and have been pretty active since leaving school, studying the science behind exercise (all the -ologies including psychology, physiology and sociology) then forging a career in this very, very fickle world. I'm not saying I have lived this life without my own issues though!

Photo Credit: Georgina of Fitcetera

Struggling With The Reality Of Change 

If you knew me when I was growing up, and before I joined in on the fitness game you'd know! In my younger teenage years I was basically two dimensional and for that reason hated my arms being on show but loved a crop top. Then I started to fill out at university (albeit because I actually started eating more food!) and quite liked my arms! As I've gotten older (I'm now 30) it's felt like every year comes with an extra kg. I hover somewhere between 63 and 66kg depending on what activities I've been up to. And I'm kinda alright with that.

I recently took up swimming which has to be one of the most unforgiving and exposing sports! Dressed in a tight swimsuit, no make up (cos yes I do wear make up to the gym) my hair squashed underneath a swim cap (I can never achieve the post swim bed head hair look) doing something that I have no experience in. That has to be the height of my insecurities, right?! Then add to that, the fact that this was all part of a national magazine campaign where I had to pose for before and after shots as well as have my entire journey documented on camera with no photoshopping. That experience showed me how much like everyone else I am. I immediately cleaned up my diet a little and committed to my swim programme.

At the half way point, I considered taking more drastic action then decided a) I could not be bothered and b) I wanted this to be an honest and authentic experience. If you saw the magazine feature you'll know there were not many significant changes in my physique (I think I look aight anyway) but I gained heaps in my fitness and confidence in the water. I guess I got the results of a normal person, with a normal schedule, eating normal food.

Choose Now... Your Body, Or Her Body?

In summary, I feel like body confidence comes at the point where you finally accept yourself for who you are, both inside and out. When you accept that change is a good thing and sometimes no change is a good thing too! It's a choice that you make.

So choose now.  Right now. Your Body? Or her body?

I choose every imperfection and flaw that makes me who I am. I choose that somedays I feel great and somedays I don't feel so great. I choose me. 

Elle :) 

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Behind The Screen: September 2015 Report

It's that time of the month again; where I talk all things blogging and statistics! I know a lot of people who read blogs are bloggers so it's always great to get an insight into how other bloggers operate. For those of you reading who are not bloggers get a behind the screen insight into what bloggers get up to and how you play a part in helping us to continue to do what we love! 

Statistics; September 2015 

Google Analytics

September 1st - September 30th
Google Analytics (GA) statistics seem to be the benchmark for blog statistics so I'm moving away from trusting what Blogger says and using these statistics going forward. It' s great to be able to see a month to month growth and know that I'm reaching a wider audience every time.

August vs September

Users 2,630 vs 2,029 (-601) 
Page Views 5,211 vs 3,866 (-1345) 

Well, we all knew this had to come at some point after months of reporting increases. Having seen a few other bloggers talking about this on Facebook it seems that they put it down to September being the month that everyone returns to work / school / college / university which means they have less time to be reading blogs.

With me popping off to Bestival too, I don't think I had the most consistent of months with posting and quality content. I posted 14 times in September compared to 21 in August so no doubt this would make a difference as well as having spent August heavily promoting #ThePhoto101 workshop which drove traffic to my blog! The engagement level hasn't seemed to have changed though and that matters more to me than numbers!

FB page likes - 659 vs 679 (+20) 
IG followers - 1053 vs 1121  (+68) 
Pinterest followers - 526 vs 531 (+5) 
Twitter followers - 2477 vs 2531 (+54) 
BlogLovin' followers - 233 vs 238 (+5) 

Amazon Associates
- 1st September - 30th September
- £0

This month I didn't do anything different with Amazon; I got about just under 100 clicks throughs but no purchases. I find the best way of sharing amazon links is vis twitter when I am shopping myself and just sharing what I am buying / loving!

Affiliate Windows
- £1.68

This month I joined Predator Nutrition, GoNutrition and DECIEM programmes. I'm already signed up to MyProtein, Planet Organic, Simply Supplements and LessBounce.

I've been working on sharing the links as authentically as I can and my click throughs have shown that. Purchases are down to whether people want to shop or not and that's not really something I can personally affect.

Affiliate Window (AW) have a facility where you add an opportunity for brands and then they reach out to you if they are interested. This worked well for me last month; at the last minute before I went to Bestival, I shared an opportunity for collaborations and that is how I came to work with DECIEM. I ended up testing out a few of their products and secured a discount for anyone wanting to try their stuff for themselves!

It costs about £5 to join AW but you can make that back really quickly (if you try!).

Google Adsense
- 1st September - 30th September
- £4.10
- unpaid

Kayla Itsines Affiliate Program
- $A0

I eventually got a response from the affiliate manager after reaching out to them asking to work together and collaborate so I could generate some content. I got a response along the lines of "if you generate more sales, we'll do more with you"; kind of counter-productive in my eyes but what can I do!

I'm considering leaving this programme as it's not actively contributing to my blog goals and is a lot of work for no return.

Collaborative & Sponsored Posts
- £0

I didn't accept any sponsored or collaborative posts this month for various reasons such as no time and inappropriate content.

I also made a recent decision to increase and standardise my fee for such posts. This will 100% mean a reduced income to start with but I'm happy with that.

Other work and consulting
- $30

I randomly made $30 by referring someone to TapInfluence; I'm not sure how I did this, but hey ho! It equated to about £19 when converted on PayPal.

Costs / Outgoings
- iCloud storage upgrade - £0.79

While You're Here
Please take two minutes to {vote for me} in the MyProtein Fitness Blogger Awards! 

What Worked Well Last Month
I updated my Media Kit in the last month to share my latest stats and information. I also made it easier to edit and improved the colours to be more aligned with my branding. 

I wrote one of those "real" posts about my skin and the feedback was awesome. I had the post in drafts for weeks and weeks so now I'm happy and relieved I hit publish. The rest of the series is coming in due course. 

What I Did New Last Month
I got a new lens for my Olympus PEN - the 45mm f1.8. The pictures this lens takes is just out of this world; being able to adjust my camera settings makes the world of difference too! Check out my IG to see the shots I've been taking with the new lens. Here are a couple of shots I took when trying out the 45mm:

I saved a lot of money on my lens (i.e don't use the 25% discount code Olympus have at the moment) and I was eligible to get some cashback on my purchase so I used the money I saved to buy the tripod I've been saying I'm going to buy for the past few months. I went for the Velbon EF-51.

I also spent some time focusing on Instagram. I sat in on an awesome webinar where I picked up a few tips. One I just implemented was to create the @keepitsimpElle handle incase people accidentally think that is my IG handle and use it. That way, I won't miss a thing. Literally. I also made sure my actual profile uses my name as my handle - @ellelinton - but then has my blog name in the profile so it is searchable.

What I Will Try Next Month 
- I'm cutting down my posts from 4/week to 3/week. The aim is to have more quality content which adds value to those who read it! It'll also give me more time to promote my blog due to a little less time writing! I'll continue to focus on great imagery too!

- add quick links for following on social media platforms at the end of posts... like this...

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- I'm looking to bring back my Sport'n Style posts but with great photography and styling this time :) I'm going to use the next month to think about how I want these posts to look and for style inspiration 

- I'm THIS close (or probably have done by the time you read this) to buying myself a ticket to Mumsnet Blogfest. The last couple of years I've looked in from the outside wishing I was there; this year I may just bite the bullet for the awesome line up! 

Posts On Blogging You Have To Read: 
6 Quick Tips For Sharing Affiliate Links

Goals For The Next Month

GOAL - share one workout on the blog with images and 'pin-able' title image

GOAL - have a go at creating some video content for social media or the blog

So... anything I've missed that you'd be interested to know?! 

Do you have blog goals that you are working towards?! Have you blogged about blogging?! Share your posts with me too! 

Elle :) 

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Commuter to Competitor; The Basics of Cycle Training

How do you go from not being a cyclist, to spinning classes, to cycle commuting ...to racing?! For the last 6 months, cycle commuting has been impossible for me due to moving house but I compensated with spinning classes. Somehow though, I don't feel that commuting or spinning can fully get you ready for taking part in a cycling event or triathlon even. So what do I do?! I speak to the most cycle-ey person I know... meet Ellie...

Ellie is amidst a degree course in Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Bath whilst currently on work placement at The Altitude Centre in London. Since learning to ride a bike at the age of 4 Ellie spent the vast majority of her spare time on two wheels. She had her first session at Calshot velodrome aged 9, where she ‘got the bug’.

Ellie continued practicing her track riding skills till she reached the age of 12 and began training more seriously, spending many hours out riding around the Dorset lanes with her Dad (A.K.A her guide, bodyguard and mechanic), and Ellie also started to compete at this time. As a youth and a junior Ellie has competed in road and track disciplines at a National Level with Primera Race Team (part of Primera Sports), often racing against some of the worlds best female cyclists such as Dame Sarah Storey, Laura Trott and Elinor Barker to name but a few. As well as this, Ellie recently gained her Level 2 Cycling Coach qualification with the aim to complete higher levels of coaching qualification in order to help others achieve their cycling goals. 

I sat down with Ellie and had a little chat to come up with some tips if you're looking to take your riding skills from commuter to competitor.

1/ Invest In Cleats and Clip-In Pedals 
Using cleats and clip in pedals allows you to work on your pedalling efficiency; you can pull up as well as push down. Watt bikes are great for the visual representation of this so are great to use in training if you can't get outdoors on your own bike. If you're on your bike though, you're looking for consistent tyre noise to identify pedal efficiency. Keep an eye on your bottom bounce; this shouldn't happen until you're at a really high cadence, or even not at all if your pedalling technique is really smooth. When pedalling, make sure you "pedal in circles (from the hips) rather than pedalling in squares by pushing down". Focus on drawing a circle with your foot for each revolution.

2/ Get A Bike Fitting 
Now this one I argued due to the cost but Ellie insisted it was a must do. In any case, you should check that your saddle is not too high nor too low which can usually be spotted through hip movement. When sat on your bike with the pedal at the bottom, drop your heel and there should be a slight bend in the knee. When cycling, your hips should not be rocking; if you need to, get a friend to look at you while you cycle. Also, when in drops (on the low handlebars - I did have to ask Ellie to clarify this, lol) - when you look down your axel should be hidden behind the handlebars.

3/ Vary Your Training 
I first put it to Ellie to give me an overview of what your training should look like on 3 sessions per week. She told me to get in 1 long ride (at a steady pace), 1 hard interval session (e.g 3 minute intervals, this will help with hills) and 1 "sweet spot" training session. I hear you. What is sweet spot training?!? This is a longish ride with tempo efforts. E.g 2 x 20min effort with a 5 min recovery in between. Progressing to 3 x 10m efforts at a higher tempo. Add on 10 min warm up and cool down. 

Then I thought, actually, realistically, what if we could only fit in one session per week?! Which of these is the must do session?! It's that sweet spot session of course. With some sprint work added in. 

4/ How Do I Make My Bike Go Faster
...like, is that possible?! Ellie suggested checking that your brakes are not rubbing and are running smoothly. Get the best tyres you can afford and ensure you keep them pumped up. Check your tyres regularly for flints and other debris that can cause punctures. 

5/ How Do I Look Extra Cool 
After attending the London Bike Show earlier this year and riding with some people who were too cool for school, I had to ask Ellie if some of the tips I picked up were considered cool. Did you know there is no need to have / keep your caps on your valves?! No, me neither. Oh and those reflectors?! I guess they're not needed in a race (and Ellie says they're just extra weight!!). No bell. You're racing now, not commuting. Always carry a puncture repair kit. carbon dioxide canisters; always have rear lights and keep them on; always wear a helmet (but you don't need the visor thing, this is more cool wisdom). Get a good saddle (some store will lend you saddles to try before you buy) and a good pair of padded shorts.

6/ Feeding Yourself While Cycling 
Ellie recommends Nutrigrain bars Nature Valley bars; have one of these every 45 minutes to keep energy levels up. You don't need gels, she says. We don't need gels, people. Drink 500ml per hour (of water or watered down fruit juice with a pinch of salt - to make your own electrolyte drink).

Voila people! Voila! ....Feel like a pro?! 

What training tips do you have to share for cycling?! Planning on or taken part in a cycle sportive (is that what they are called?!)??

Elle :) 

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Working in Fitness: If I Knew Then What I Know Now...

A few months ago, I shared with you {My Running Journey}; all the struggles and the honest truth about how I came to call myself a runner.

Professionally though, there are a lot of gaps to be filled. I've been in "the industry" now for 10 years (since my first job out of University). Talking of University, and with everyone just starting back, I thought I'd share with you my thoughts.

1/ Will You Be Happy At Your Second Choice University 
I saw a newspaper article with a similar title on twitter today. I never bothered to read the article but it did make me realise, for the first time, that I did actually go to my second choice University. I applied for Sports Science courses at (1) Loughborough, (2) Brighton and (3) Manchester. I got rejected from Loughborough but accepted for Brighton and Manchester. I though Manchester was too far from home so I went to visit Brighton (Eastbourne campus) and was more than happy to spend the next 3 years of my life here. As an aside, Loughborough wrote to me offering me a place on their Sports Science with Chemistry course to which I stuck my middle finger up at! I was aware that I could start on that course then drop chemistry but I really wasn't gonna be that easy! haha!

I had 3 of the best years at the University of Brighton and really wouldn't change anything for the world.

2/ Is University For Me
It certainly was for me; but it may not be for everyone. Working in fitness doesn't have a prerequisite of a degree but other associated careers (such as mine in Sport Development), do. At the time I studied, Sport Science was still a relatively new course and it didn't fully equip those of us who took the course to work in fitness. Nowadays now though, the courses come with all the practical skills you need and you come out of your degree with your fitness qualifications too.

If University is not for you though, you can just complete your Level 2 and / or 3 qualifications in what seems like no time at all these days. I used a Career Development Loan to fund my first Level 2 qualification and then used Prior Learning from my degree in addition to a few short courses to achieve my Level 3 Personal Training Qualification. If you're young (like maybe under 20), there are a few funding opportunities out there for you so make sure to look out for those!

3/ The Fitness Industry Doesn't Pay Well 
Working as an actual Instructor or on the gym floor doesn't pay all that well. When I started as a Level 2 Instructor, wages we about £6-7 per hour; I'm sure they've improved since then but by how much?! I remember I had a part time office job (in Sport Development) which paid me £12 per hour!

Working as an Instructor delivering classes, I've earned anything between £25 - £100 per 45 mins / hour. This may sound like an excellent wage ...if you could teach 8 hours of classes in a row! These kind of gigs come up as a one hour per week situation. Then you need to find other classes, in all sorts of locations to supplement your income. Factor in travel and expenses; how much are you left with?!

e.g £25 for a 45 minute class (-£5 travel each way, -£5 to pay tax = £15 expenses) = £10 in my pocket

Teaching also comes with a few more expenses such as the purchase of a mic belt, different batteries for different pics at different studios, battery charger, music, insurance...

I currently teach two classes per week which luckily fit in with my work schedule meaning I don't pay explicit travel costs for them. In another job, I taught a class on my lunch break which was great as a dual use of time.

4/ You Don't Earn When You Don't Work
Since being self employed, holidays have been few and far between. When I don't work, I don't make money. Add going on holiday to that and I'm paying twice; once for the holiday and expenses and through loss of earnings.

It also means that you have to be extra careful not to get injured which would result in you not being able to work.

Being self employed also means you are responsible for paying your own taxes. Each month when I receive my pay, I automatically transfer 20% of that to a separate bank account to ensure I'm not left searching for cash at the end of the year!

5/ Just Because You Love To Keep Fit Doesn't Mean You Should Become A Personal Trainer 
...and just because you are a Personal Trainer doesn't mean you live in the gym. Well, not me anyway. I love teaching and training people; for me it's like being on stage (I used to go to theatre school!) ...I get to almost be a different person. My heart is full to the brim of motivation for others, for supporting other people to workout and achieve their goals yet when it comes to me working out, I find it hard to make the first move. I too, need someone to push me, support me and guide me to reach my goals.

I do feel like the industry is saturated right now and it's hard to know who to listen to. Everyone, and anyone is a Personal Trainer. But just because they know how to reach their goals doesn't mean they know how to help you reach yours. Have a read of my post {10 Reasons To Love Your Instructor / PT}.

But Again, I Wouldn't Change It For The World...

If I knew then, what I know now, I would certainly have made the same choices I made back then! I don't have the energy to teach endless classes each week. Teaching what I do, means that the passion is always there every time I put on the microphone! It means I get to work on other ways of applying my knowledge such as writing this blog and learning from my own training and experiences.

People often ask me, "how many people do you train?" and I always respond saying I don't have the time to take on clients. This is true. I also don't work, nor want to work as a full time personal trainer. I hate selling to people; I'd rather just help people because I want to, not because I need to pay my bills. I'd rather (as my own personal choice) use my knowledge to create other ways of helping people to transform their lives.

Some of my career goals are to complete my Masters in Business Administration, polish up my spinning and consider teaching a class or two as well as securing ambassadorship with a brand who supports my goals and vice versa. I'm just gonna work real hard to bring all my ideas to life!

What are your thoughts on working in the industry?! 

Or do you have plans to gain some fitness qualifications? What do you hope to do with them?

Elle :) 

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