30.5.17

Why I Stopped Sharing Blog Statistics And Income Reports

Photo Credit: Lolography

Back in 2015 and part of 2016 I wrote monthly posts detailing my blog statistics and also income generated via the blog. Those posts were actually some of my most read posts each month and to be honest, I'm not at all surprised. We're all a little curious to know how other bloggers are getting on and how much money they're making, right?!

To this day, I still actually refer to those posts regularly to remind myself how far I've come. I've recently passed the 3k mark on Instagram and although it feels like I've been working towards it forever, it actually wasn't that long ago that I was sharing I'd reached 1k or 2k followers!

My last report post was back in April 2016 and I just came across someone sharing their own on twitter which reminded me about mine so I decided to write a little post about why I stopped sharing all the detail and give a little overview of how things have been going.

Blog Stats & Goals
As much as we know that 3k Instagram followers can be more engaged than the 10 or 20k followers of the next blogger, it seems that brands are still using that as a way of deciding who to work with. Now that Instagram has created business accounts you can actually see how well a post has done and at the end of the day you can't buy engagement or reach especially on Instagram live / stories.

Since my last post, I've worked on a few sponsored posts on IG. I'm keen to keep my Instagram very much a collection of what I get up to so I did ensure that each time the brand was a good fit and the content was created by me. My typical rate for a sponsored Instagram post is approx £45 varying based on the number of posts or the platform through which I secure the collaboration.

I also created a dashboard in google analytics which allows me to see just the stats that are most useful to me on a day to day basis as well as a live view of who's on my blog having a good old read. Some of the stats I check in on regularly include:

- number of sessions per month
- pages per session
- bounce rate
- social media referrals

I've got some pretty Big Hairy Audacious (BHAG) Goals for the blog in 2017 cos if my goals were easy to achieve they'd be pretty boring and uninspiring!

Blog Income Report
Since July 2016, I've been working freelance as a Health & Fitness Professional. People often ask me a) if I blog full time and b) what exactly I do so here is a brief overview.

I work as a Studio Instructor currently teaching at Frame and Gymbox where I have my permanent classes and am also able to cover other instructors when the opportunity arises and if it fits my schedule. I also work at The Altitude Centre every now again with a Personal Training client.

I write for an online magazine and I make a small (insignificant) amount of money from advertising and affiliate links (although it's more than I made 2-3 years ago). I'm currently interning for a marketing agency part time as well as working to get my business, Borrow My Blender, up and running since I officially launched with The Princes Trust in February 2017.

I didn't think it was worthwhile documenting the few quid I made each month through the blog and figured I'd go back to it if it ever became a significant income stream. Don't get me wrong, I've had some decent opportunities through the blog but it's not consistent and when it crosses over into the realm of my "real work", I don't think I'm obliged to share my income on the blog (i.e no one ever has to share how much they make in their day jobs, right?!).

Photo Credit: Lolography

Reviewing Products & Events
As a freelancer, there is no off button for work. I don't get to leave the office behind and not think about it. So every opportunity I'm offered needs to be worth my time (which I value at approx £20ph). So that's meant I can't spend 4 hours reviewing products, taking pictures and writing blog posts for a product that is valued at a fiver (as an example). It just isn't a good use of my time. And the same for instagram... if a sponsored post is valued at £45, unless I share a product because I've bought it or want to share it, I can't just be featuring products when I've only been sent £5 worth.

As for events, I realised a long time ago that it was costing me way more than I realised to attend. Time to travel to the event (usually 2 hours each way), cost of travel (approx £10 return to central London), time at the event (usually 1-3 hours), time to take pictures, edit pictures, write a blog post and social sharing which I total to be worth £150 on average. So I've had to be a lot more savvy about how I spend my time and what I say yes to.

Sometimes, I still end up saying yes to things that I think I shouldn't but as we all know, blogging doesn't come with a manual so it's just one continuous learning curve for us all.

Do you enjoy reading blog stat / income report posts and other Behind The Screen stuff?! ...How do you balance your time on attending blog events?! When do you say no... and how do you decide?!

Elle :) 

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27.5.17

FitKit Wardrobe Update: Performance Wear from Pink Soda



Pink Soda Sport, from JD Sports recently launched a couple of new collections including some performance wear which instantaneously caught my eye of course. The other main attraction was the colour; I love khaki (...and khaki means green over here in the UK).

I ordered myself the Chunky mesh tights £32 (size 10), Chunky mesh bra £20 (size 8) and the Reps tank top £18 (size 10). I've not worn Pink Soda before so was unsure how their sizes came up and I didn't want the trouble of having to send anything back to change the sizes so I played it safe with a size 10 and a smaller bra.

My first thoughts on the kit are that the quality is actually very good. The material is thick and most definitely not see-through which is a great start considering the price points. The tank is a loose fit so size was never really going to be an issue and the bra isn't a high support bra so I was more than happy with the fit of those. I do however think I could have, or should have, gone a size down in the tights. They come up extremely high, which would be amazing if they weren't so loose on the waist. When I'm wearing the tank this isn't an issue but if I want to wear the bra without the tank then I have to fold over the waist to make it a little tighter but this also makes it a lot lower. Im thinking the 8 might've been a squeeze to get into but the fit would make it worthwhile.


My new test of workout gear if how they handle my double session of teaching Lift every Thursday morning. The class involves the use of lifting bars and covers every muscle group and exercise you can think of including squats, lunges and press ups. Even though I don't do the classes at 100% effort (workout wise), it's still a total sweatfest from the minute we get into the first track after the warmup.


I managed to teach my classes and then go about my business for the morning without worrying about visible sweat patches or feeling uncomfortable which is a major win for me.

Will these remain in my fitkit line up... yes for sure to the bra and the tank, and even a yes to the tights. The colours are bang on trend and the bra and tank especially are still perfect for this mini heatwave that has hit London Town!

You can shop the entire Pink Soda Sport Collection on JD Sports.

Have you ever worn Pink Soda before?!


Elle :)

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p.s Thanks to Fran of Healthy Fit Fran for taking these photos for me!

24.5.17

Nike Free Run Commuter 2.0 Shoe Review


Tell me that I'm not the only one with jam packed days; from teaching, to coffee meetings, to my own training, run club and catch ups with friends?!

And tell me I'm not the only one who feels like they need a suitcase to carry everything they need for one day?! ...laptop, charger, phone, portable charger, snacks, make-up, spare clothes... the list goes on, right?!

So when the Nike Free Run Commuter 2.0 womens trainers landed, they sounded like they were right up my street. The USP for these being their "all-day versatility". Taking you from your morning workout to your workplace and then for your run (not that I'm advocating double workout days, aight?!).

I've worn mine to teach in (Lift at Frame, Shoreditch plus my HIIT classes at Gymbox), to hang out in (coffee dates on the weekend) and even with my little black dress out for dinner on a Saturday night / hanging out in the sunshine as pictured at the top of this post.

The shoe upper fits like a sock making it super comfortable to wear all day. If, or when, you decide to workout all you need to do is use the bungee to tighten the laces for increased stability and then loosen when you are done.



The number one comment I've had from people when wearing these is... "oh are they Nike?" ...as they are so discreet with minimal branding which means the shoes just blend into your work wardrobe - you know, no more of the "work dress with running trainers" look.

The sole of the shoe uses the Nike Free technology which came about from the principles of barefoot running. This means the shoe has a low profile (just 8mm), is lightweight and flexible. So perfect for packing in your gymbag if you really, really have to wear actual shoes...

You are gonna love these if... you're a multi-tasking fitness junkie like me

Think twice if you... need a more supportive shoe for running (but they'd be okay for day to day wearing to "exercise" your feet)

The Nike Free Run Commuter 2.0 shoes are available from JD Sports for £90

Elle :) 

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20.5.17

RECIPE: Coconut Coffee Cake with Califia Farms (Vegan)


Some of my blogging friends have been sharing their thoughts recently on "teatoxes" using the hasthtag - tea is for biccies - and I mean, as much as I agree, I'm really more of a coffee girl and am definitely a cake girl (which I'm sure is why I like cycling these days as Sunday rides have obligatory cake stops to refuel). So then it will come as no surprise to you that I have a recipe for you which combines both those things - coffee in cake, and I mean, why not?!

Earlier this month, I shared with you my thoughts on the Califia Farms Cold Brew and their Barista Blend Almondmilk and now I've created my own hashtag - #IfWeCanBakeIt - a spin off of the Borrow my Blender hashtag, #IfWeCanBlendIt to create this recipe which by all means I am not labelling as "healthy" or "guilt free" as I don't associate those words with my food and especially not cake. So without further ado, here is the recipe...

Coconut Coffee Cake with Califia Farms

Dairy Free || Vegan || Easy


Ingredients 

3 1/2 cups spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp group nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

1 scant cup coconut sugar
1 can coconut milk
1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil
3/4 cup (177ml) Califia Farms Cold Brew
5 - 6 drops of vanilla flavdrops

Method 

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees celsius

Mix together the first 6 dry ingredients in a bowl and the 5 wet ingredients in a larger bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the wet while stirring gently until well mixed with no dry spots.

Pour the cake batter into the bundt mould (I used this silicon bundt mould from Amazon) and bake in the oven for 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven then gently upside down the mould onto a wire rack to allow the cake to cool.

While the cake cools, mix up the Cold Brew Drizzle (below) by whisking everything together in a bowl and then drizzle / pour / slather it on the cooled cake before slicing and serving with a side of... oh, Cold Brew mixed with Almondmilk and a dash of vanilla?!


Cold Brew Drizzle (optional)
1 scant cup of powdered sugar
1/4 cup (scant / 45-50ml) Califia Farms Cold Brew
1.5 tsp lemon / lime juice
3 drops of vanilla flavdrops

...not much else to say, eh?! Other than, give it a go and enjoy!

...what have you been baking recently?! 

Elle :) 

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Notes: I use this measuring cup set for the imperial measurements. This recipe was made in imperial measurements; any metric measurements are approximate.  

15.5.17

#3PTsToParis - Our London to Paris Ride, July '17


I don't remember learning how to ride a bike. So clearly I was born able to ride. Born to ride?! ...My earliest memories of cycling are riding down the stairs from my first floor home in Barbados on a tricycle. I think that's what hanging around with boys does to a 5 year old girl. From there, my next real memories are of getting a bike for my birthday at some point in secondary school (...now living in Essex, UK). It was purple, I loved it and I treated it the same way an Essex boy treated his Ford Fiesta (...aka a boy racer). Those two wheels were my independence... I hung out with friends and we rode so much that I knew my entire area road for road, turn for turn.

Then at some point, I became too cool for school and ended up giving (...maybe selling?!) my bike to my Uncle who I would often see "pootling" down the road on it in his own little world oblivious to cycling past me in the street.

Fast forward one more time, this time to being just under 30yo and living in zone 2 of London (in comparison to now being back in zone 6) and I decide to purchase a bike to commute to work. By this point in my life, I'm really living the "fit" lifestyle added to the fact that cycling in London is more reliable and sometimes even quicker than public transport. Then I enter a duathlon. Have a go on the Olympic Track. Enter a Sportive and ta-dah... it's 2017. And I decide to ride from London to Paris. Because, why not?!


So on 14th July 2017, myself, Mollie (of PT Mollie) and Sophie (of Fitology) will be setting off from the Olympic Park in Stratford to catch a ferry that evening from Newhaven to Dieppe, France. We'll then have an overnight stay before we continue our journey over the following two days, arriving in Paris on Sunday 16th July. Because I'm me, I'm not cycling all that way to just jump on a Eurostar straight back home so we'll be spending the night (and all day Monday) in Paris no doubt eating our way through all the food we can get our hands on. I'm especially looking forward to fresh croissants, pain au chocolat and champagne...


Our ride to Paris will be unsupported so we'll be carrying everything we need with us in panniers / bike packs. I therefore have a couple of months to brush up my skills on changing inner tubes and other little bits to ensure I can look after my bike. As for training, the goal is to get out on the weekend for long rides in addition to once or twice during the week ...so any invites for rides or indoor cycling classes will be greatly accepted! ...I'll be sharing everything I learn over the next 8 weeks here on the blog... a bit like that time I learnt to swim to take part in a triathlon, yeah?! ...cos maybe, just maybe you might be considering taking on the ride from London to Paris one day...

We'll also be documenting our training and the trip itself on our social media channels using the hashtag #3PTsToParis - all my social links are at the end of this post! Huge shout out to James M (Mollies husband) for the top two photos; James will also be joining us for the ride as (in Mollies words) official #InstagramHusband ...and he's done good so far!

Have you ever ridden from London to Paris?! If you have any tips for us on what to pack please leave them below in the comments or drop me a direct message. (..and by all means if you wanna come along, just get in touch!). Although this trip is very much under our own steam, we'd never turn down support from a brand that shares a similar message, has something to offer that would prove invaluable and / or has the same sense of adventure as us!

I've also got a couple more exciting cycling updates to share with you over the next few weeks which will probably be on Instagram so keep an eye out...

Elle :) 

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