REVIEW: Withings Activitè Pop

For the past couple of months now, I've been wearing this new activity tracker as if it could tell the time and looks like a watch. Which it does. Besides that simple pleasure, it does a few more interesting things beyond. Here's my review; what They Say about the Withings Activitè Pop versus what I Say and how it has actually worked for me!

POP YOUR HEALTH || Featuring the latest tech and a timeless look, Actvitè Pop helps you embrace healthy habits while complementing your style. TRUE STORY.

Activity Tracking || Swim Tracking || Silent Alarm || Sleep Tracking || No Charging || Bluetooth 4.0

They Said.
The watch shows you how active you are in real time and the Health Mate app suggests changes to encourage you to walk more. Ingenious time and activity dials help you decide what your next move should be.
I Say.
The Activité Pop (from hereon known as the AP) does indeed track your steps. Once you set your daily goal via the app on your smartphone, the dial, with 10 sections, updates itself as you go along to keep you informed "in real time" how you are doing. I have my goal set to 10,000 steps per day so it equates to 1,000 steps per segment on the activity dial. The time is set to the time of my phone, which is set to the time of the world! I'm yet to see it suggest changes to encourage me to walk more but I may have actually turned this off!

They Said.
AP doesn't just look good. It features a lightweight design, a PVD-coated watch case and a smooth silicone watch strap for ultimate comfort and durability.
I Say.
It does indeed look good! I've had countless compliments on my "nice watch" and have gone on to surprise people by informing them that its actually an activity tracker! I love the colour, but it has gotten a little dirty over time. I wear it in the shower most of the time and have given it a little wipe now and then, but still. So far, I can say it is comfortable and durable; the watch I wore previously would always snap open when I was teaching but the AP doesn't get in the way at all and has so far lived to tell the tale!

They Said.
Working with the Health Mate app, AP inspires you and your friends to make healthy choices. Challenge your friends! The app features activity badges, a leaderboard, healthy reminders and activity insights that are a proven way to get everybody going.
I Say.
Firstly, I'm completely friendless on the app! I don't know one other person who owns an AP! I do however like the badges when you reach certain levels of activity (not enough to share them on Twitter anymore though!). Again, I think I have turned off the healthy reminders. On days where I have a really low step count (usually a Sunday) I despise the huge sad face that it displays on the timeline but one swipe, and its deleted!

They Said.
Going for a jog? Trying to catch the bus? AP automatically recognises your surge of intensity and logs it as a run. AP automatically recognises swim. Just put it on, dive in and the watch will log your full session and record calories burned.
I Say.
I'll give it marks for running; so far I think it has gotten this right! As for swimming; I've swam once in it as it seems to have had no idea that this wasn't a shower! I spent 45 minutes in the pool and nothing was recorded as an activity. #fail. I'll still be sticking to a GPS when running though as most runners will want more stats when running that just calories burned.

They Said.
AP automatically detects when you are asleep. It keeps track of light and deep sleep phases, the number of times you are up during the night and the total duration of sleep. Set an alarm in the app to start your day with a gentle wake-up vibration.
I Say.
Okay. So I like this feature, a lot. I mostly like it because you don't have to do anything to say "I'm going to sleep" or "I have woken up". But! The caveat is that if I chill out in bed before I go to sleep or after I wake up, it thinks I'm still sleeping and logs me as having like 10 hours sleep!!! The night where I barely slept; looking at that on the screen was enlightening! ...The alarm is great too! I use it on my days off (because I can't be bothered to alter my work alarm on my Lumie Bodyclock). I think it wakes you up during a light sleep phase within a specific amount of time before your alarm (i.e 30 minutes). The watch vibrates 10 or 12 times gently on your wrist so doesn't startle you and makes no sound; perfect if you don't want to wake the rest of you household.

They Said.
AP automatically syncs to your smartphone to always display the correct time. Jet-lagged after a long flight? No need to piece together the correct time zone. Once you have landed, AP automatically displays the local time.
I Say.
This it does indeed. Which is useful. No fussing trying to change the time for a week and then having to change it back. Unfortunately for me, I've not travelled much recently so my AP hasn't had its chance to shine in this department!

They Said.
You don't want another cable or dock in your life. AP works on a standard button cell providing 8+ months of battery life.
I Say.
OMG this has to be one of the biggest pro's of an AP! Do you know how many times my fitbit needs charging and I forget?! Then it's useless for the next day as it spends half of it on charge!

The Rest Of What I Have To Say.
Here are another few things I have noticed. My step count on my AP is NEVER as high as on my fitbit. It takes a lot more to hit goal on the AP and I think that's because it's more accurate and doesn't count me brushing my teeth. This may also be down to the fact that I wear it on my non dominant hand.

I hooked my AP up to MyFitnessPal (in the hope of earning some extra calories) and immediately disconnected it after it reduced my calorie goal for the day to my basal calories and then gave me just 30 extra calories on a day I completed my 10,000 steps. I ended up being around 300kcal above what they said I should have eaten! So now I'm back to my 1500kcal per day (a little more if I exercise) and keeping my AP information to itself!

What fitness / activity tracker are you currently using?! or coveting?! 

Elle :) 

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In My Skin || Party Feet with Carnation Footcare

There are exactly 4 weeks to go until Christmas Day itself. This means, that it is THE exact point in time where our diaries become jam packed with events to celebrate that our lycra clad bodies, and flat shoes feet are just not ready for. Well, thats me anyway?!

Today I've got a few of my favourite products from Carnation Footcare which will help get your feet ready and the recovered through the party season!

Step 1. Healthy Nails 
This product is a lotion for natural regrowth of healthy nails. As a runner and exerciser, although my trainers are comfortable, my toenails still suffer trauma which results in discolourations. This lotion is designed to cleanse the toenail and nail borders by killing the micro-organisms that can cause unsightly nails. In the pack is a small nail file which you use to file the surface and top edge of your nails after washing / drying. Then twice daily, you apply the lotion. Nobody wants a picture of my feet but I'm down to 1 discoloured toenail as opposed to 4 when I started using the lotion! {find out more here}

Step 2. Tip Toes Invisible Gel Cushions 
One for the actual party, when you have to don heels instead of your usual fancy kicks. I always find the balls of my feet suffer the most due to the uneven weight distribution. These pads sit between (the ball of) your foot and your shoe to provide extra cushioning. Of course you can use them in any shoes you like, but we are specifically talking about the party season right now! {find out more here}

Step 3. PediRoller 
Last but not least, for your post party, tired and sore feet. In comes, possibly the best invention ever. The PediRoller. For a much needed foot massage you simply roll the PediRoller from your heel to your arch. You can even freeze it for an hour before hand to help with really inflamed arches. Roll it back and forth for 3-5 minutes, twice a day; maybe while watching Eastenders?! Or under your desk?! {find out more here}

I don't know about anyone else, but I feel our feet are always the first to take a bashing when the weather changes! Summer brings flip-flops and dry soles whilst winter brings constant cover in shoes, maybe even wet toes and heels a plenty for the holidays!

What are your top things to do to look after your feet?! What's your favourite product for some tootsie TLC?! 

Elle :) 

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Here's What You Need In Your Autumn Gym Bag

I'm not sure how many posts I will start by pointing out the change in weather! But a change in seasons does constitute a change in eating habits, what to wear, how I train and of course, what gets packed in my {gym} bag} ...it's the only bag I have ;)

For Soft Skin. 
A new firm favourite in my gym bag and bathroom cabinet is the What Skin Needs range. Their range consists of 3 natural skin products; Skin Balm, Soothing Skin Gel & Cracked Skin Cream. The active ingredient in the range is PlantolinTM - an active plant extract which is proven to soothe, renew and protect. This cold weather (winds, snow & rain) actually dries out our skin so it's even more important to moisturise well in the colder months. I've been using the Skin Balm on my face in the evenings after commuting home in the cold / hot tube / cold. I also applied it to a rash I got on my wrist from my fitness tracker and it really helped to soothe the itch and reduce the dryness. I then lather the Cracked Skin Cream onto my feet and wrap them up in warm socks for the night. These products would be perfect for anyone hitting the slopes this season. I'm yet to fully try the Soothing Skin Gel as a) the weather hasn't affected me bad enough yet and b) I'm still acclimatising to the cold and the gel is 'cooling' to say the least!

For Your Sweet Tooth. 
I've been really conscious of not getting enough protein into my diet of late. I've also been focusing on cutting back on sugar so serving my sweet tooth has not been easy! I had a tub of 'Prutella' Chocolate Hazelnut Spread from Musclefood sitting on my kitchen table for the last couple of weeks and when I came across a nutella brownie recipe, I subbed the ingredients with what I have to make some yummy, high protein, high fibre brownies. Now, just as a disclaimer, I do believe brownies should be extra gooey but then that is down to the crazy amounts of chocolate and sugar; these ones come out a little more on the cake side and less sweet (thankfully). Mix 200g of prutella, 1 large egg, 1/3 cup of oat flour and a dash of baking powder/ Bake at 175 degrees (fan assisted) for 20 minutes. Cut into 10 squares (I eat 3 squares in one go totalling 243 calories. Winning.

To Stay Hydrated. 
Rather than just using a regular bottle, I upgraded my Acqublend Fruit Infusion Bottle to their new 900ml Jumbo bottle. The bigger bottle is great as it lasts longer! One of my favourite infusions is cinnamon sticks, mint & apple. It's so refreshing to have a little extra flavour in your water, especially when like me, you rarely ever drink cordials or fizzy drinks!

For On-The-Go Energy. 
I don't go anywhere without food; I seem to have an innate fear of starving to death so I carry food everywhere with me. During my first Whole30 in 2014 I discovered Nked bars. I only eat the ones made with fruit and nuts though as they are compliant with Whole30. Even when I'm not doing a Whole30 I continue to stick to that and keep one handy for pre workout (to stave off hunger) or post workout (to get me home / somewhere where I can eat something sensible!)

For Tired Muscles. 
Brothers and Sisters. Deep Heat now comes in a roll on. Yes. ROLL ON. You no longer need to cry yourself to sleep after touching your eye post rub. And as I said to someone over on Instagram, with my current status being single, it was like a massage and warm cuddle rolled into one!

And people! Before I go; I have week two of my little advent thingy-ma-jiggy!! This week, I'm offering you the chance to upgrade your snacking with a huge bag of Strawberry Musclemouse worth £32.99 plus your very own (neon green) SmartShake Original which in my opinion is priceless!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What products have found a home in your gym bag now the weather has changed?!

Elle :)

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5 Winter Gift Trends You Need To Know About

Autumn is barely over, but the focus is swiftly moving onto Christmas and all that the season brings with it. The blogosphere and webosphere are already churning out the gift lists for runners, yogi's ... any and everyone in your life, basically.

According to the Telegraph, we'll each spend £84 on ourselves when out shopping for others, with the average shopper expected to spend £475 on gifts this year! So here is my take on the trends that may well be popular for 2015:

1. Upgrade Your Tracker
Fitness trackers themselves have already proven to be popular but now it's all about the customisation. I myself have been through them all and even wrote a post on How To Make Fitness Trackers Work For You. I love these ribbon bands which fit a fitbit (cos it's actually just a little nugget in a band itself!).

2. Wear The Right Gear
Smart Clothing is a thing. You didn't know?! Neither did I! The most notable on the market right now is the The Polo Tech Shirt from Ralph Lauren.

I'm not sure it's available in the UK yet but there are lots of lesser known brands out there if you're willing to look for them!

Another product I love in this category is by Mimo; a onesie type outfit for babies which monitors sleeping, breathing, body position as well as allowing you to listen in on your baby!

I love the Smart Home apps and appliances that are out there too; controlling my kettle from my bed sounds like bliss to me! Anything to save me an extra couple of minutes in the morning!

3. From Barre To The Barre
My style very much is from barre to bar already (read 24 hours in... here). Athleisure is a thing too these days. Everyone is quite happy to wear their comfy, stretchy pants to the supermarket as well as to class!

Some of my favourite places to stock up on items for the winter are:

4. Here Comes The Hot Stepper
With this cold chill in the air, it's really useful when our outfit helps to keep us warm, right?! Heat technology is massive right now with many popular brands bringing out pieces especially for the weather. Here are a few notable choices:

5. Flashing Lights
Lights and reflectivity should be your number one priority if you or your friends / family will be out on the streets during the dark evenings. The amount of things you can get are limitless - torches, heel spurs, bags, hats, trainers...

Check out: 

Nathan Sports UK // Nike 

If you have anything you would like to add / recommend just leave me a comment below! 

But what's on YOUR wishlist for this Christmas?!

Elle :) 

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Coconut Butternut Savoury Bowl || inspired by 26 Grains

If there's one thing I love about London it's that there is always somewhere awesome to go and eat / drink / hang out. And 26 Grains was one of the latest on my hit-list. Situated just a stones throw from one of my work locations, I made my first visit alone to check out their infamous porridge (it's somewhere on my IG if you wanna see it!). My second visit was to meet my yoga teacher friend, Adrianna for lunch; this time I got to sample one of their savoury bowls. The Coconut Butternut savoury bowl to be exact.

As soon as I tasted it, I knew I needed to have it again  just without the £6 price tag, or having to leave my house! So I used my tastebuds, scoured the internet for ingredients and ideas of how to put this together. Surprisingly, there is no other recipe out there quite like this one so I'm pretty proud of it! Anyway, onto the good stuff... starting with ingredients (and links incase you are unsure where to purchase certain ingredients!)

Coconut Butternut Savoury Bowl
Dairy Free | Vegetarian | Gluten Free
30 minutes | Serves 2 / 3


  • 1 cup of black rice 
  • 500g frozen butternut squash 
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 400ml can of coconut milk 
  • 2 cups of water, boiled 
  • 1 stock cube 
  • 1 clove garlic 
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger, chopped and sliced 
  • 1/2 fresh red chilli 
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric 
  • 2 tsp cumin 
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds 
  • 1 tsp curry powder 
  • 1 lime 
optional toppings: kelp noodles


Rinse rice in a sieve until water runs clear. 

Bring rice, a pinch of salt & pepper and 1.75 cups of water to the boil, uncovered over a medium -high heat. Once it boils, cover the pot and reduce the heat to low and then cook until rice is tender. 

Whilst the rice is cooking, chop the onion and garlic clove. 

In a large (and deep) pan, heat 2tbsp of oil over a medium-high heat (sesame or coconut are good options). Add the onions and garlic and cook until soft. 

Add turmeric, curry powder, cumin, ginger, chilli, ground cloves and mustard seeds. Stir well and cook for another couple of minutes. 

Dissolve the stock cube in 2 cups of boiling water. Add to pan along with coconut milk. Season to taste. Return to the boil, then lower heat and allow it to simmer partially covered for 10 minutes. 

Have a quick peek to check how your rice is doing. When it is tender, remove from the hob and allow to stand. It should have soaked up all the water that was added. 

After ten minutes, add the butternut squash to the pan and stir so it is submerged. Recover and allow to simmer until the butternut squash defrosts, softens and cooks. 

To Serve: spoon the rice into the bottom of a soup / pasta bowl. Spoon some of the liquid around the sides and then top with the butternut squash. You will need a spoon to eat this! I then topped off my bowls with a few sprigs of kelp noodles; mostly for decoration but they're actually a really healthy, raw food! 

Add 1/4 wedge of lime with each bowl to be squeezed into the dish before eating! 

All that's left to do is share a couple extra pictures for us to dribble over...

I hope you give this recipe a go; most of all I hope you enjoy it so please let me know how it goes!! 

Elle :) 

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Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com


Autumnal Walks with OS Maps

I'm the biggest fan of a day spent in my pyjamas. Feet up on the sofa, laptop on my... lap. Cups of tea, television and comfort food. Chatting with my friend and colleague Lex, we realised (and I'm almost ashamed to say) that I have lived next door to Epping Forest for the last 7 years and have never been. So we put a date in the diary to go explore.

Now I kid you not, on the morning, I kinda hoped Lex would bail on me so I had an excuse not to get dressed. But Lex isn't that kinda friend so before I knew it, I was running to catch a bus to Loughton station to meet her. I was so intrigued; as far as I was concerned the station was the door to the high street full of coffee shops, a couple bars and the supermarkets. But just off one road... up a hill... some chatting...

In the few hours that we were out, I learnt so much more about the great outdoors! I spotted crab apples, ate wild blackberries, sucked nettle nectar, foraged for eating apples (took a stash home), kicked leaves, threw leaves, sang songs...

When we started out, it was unusually warm although very windy. Then, how embarrassing when I sync my fitness tracker and it basically says "CONGRATS!! THIS IS YOUR MOST ACTIVE SUNDAY EVER!!!" ...hahahaha! I have plans to go back (mainly to cut some holly for Christmas!) and to enjoy all the fresh air, grass & mud on my own doorstep!

To INSPIRE YOU to get active as the days get shorter and colder, Ordnance Survey (OS) Maps have given me a 12 month subscription to giveaway to one lucky person as part of my weekly advent feature in the lead up to Christmas! ...I know ...THIS (below) is how happy I am!

Entries are via the rafflecopter widget below! I can't wait to discover some of your favourite places to explore on foot (be it running or walking) or on your bike!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

See you on the trails! 

Elle :) 

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Peanut Butter, Chia & Cacao Layer Pot with Hi-PRO

EPIC BREAKFAST ALERT PEOPLE!! ...when you get sent two jars of the newest high protein peanut butter on the block - created by Hi-PRO Nutrition - what else can you do except create an epic recipe to go with it?! Especially when it's been set as a challenge to create a high protein recipe using the peanut butters!

For more information check out Hi-PRO on Facebook || Twitter || Instagram || Pinterest 

Peanut Butter, Chia & Cacao Layer Pot
Dairy Free | Refined Sugar Free | 15 mins advance prep 
5 mins to prepare | Serves 2


optional toppings: blueberries, cacao nibs, shredded coconut


For the chia pudding layer, stir the chia seeds and vanilla extract into the milk. Stir well and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir again and then place in the fridge (up to overnight) until the milk has been absorbed by the chia seeds.

For the peanut butter & cacao layer place bananas, avocado, cacao powder and peanut butter into blender / food processor and blend until all are combined well. Place in the fridge (up to overnight) until well chilled.

To make the layered pot, start with the granola at the bottom. Add a layer of peanut butter & cacao, then a layer of chia pudding. Repeat with a layer of peanut butter & cacao, then a layer of chia pudding.

Add toppings to finish and serve.

About Hi-PRO Peanut Butters 

Containing all natural peanut ingredients, each 30g serving contains 9.9g of protein! It comes in both smooth and crunchy versions so there's something for everyone!

What other peanut butter recipes do I need to try?! 

Elle :) 

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Getting Back On Track After A Fitness Break with TPW

Unofficially, I went on a fitness break. I haven't dared to check but I suspect that for around 6 - 8 weeks (during August, September & October), working out took a back seat to life. What's the big deal I hear you ask?! ...Well! Up until this break, I'd been running pretty consistently, swimming regularly in addition to completing various events each month, a spin class here and there along with whatever else took my fancy. This schedule allowed me to EAT WHATEVER I WANTED. Therein lies the problem. I continued to eat what I wanted, yet was expending minimal calories. We all know the basic equation for energy right?!

calories in > calories out = increase in weight 

...and it seems for me that equalled approx 4 - 5kg.

So in stepped The Protein Works (TPW). Right at the moment, I decided I needed to do something about my "situation'. I spent an evening perusing their website to decide what would work for me - what could I use to seriously make a difference, but keep things balanced at the same time.

Here's my "shopping list" of products I needed to get my hands on: 

Zero syrup - Maple / Dark Choc / Cherry
African Mango Extract
Protein Porridge&
Coconut Chips
Natural Almonds 
Diet Protein Truffles

Number one on my list to try were the zero syrups. I become a fan of waffles since I bought my waffle iron but I know that the syrups I've been using have added a fair few extra calories which would be a good place to start to cut down. I tried the cherry syrup first on some low carb waffles (not trying those again! gimme all the carbs!) which basically was the saving grace of the dish! It's not as thick as expected so you can't make out the syrup very well on the image below but it tasted pretty good for  like, no calories, no fat, NOTHING. I had waffles again (of course) and tired the dark chocolate sauce which was an amazing addition to the strawberries and (actual) 85% dark chocolate toppings.

While we're here, let me digress just a little bit. So part of my master plan to get back to my previous weight, I've been making an attempt to cut out snacking and cutting down portion sizes especially on days when I'm not particularly active. My stomach and I had come to believe that I MUST EAT EVERY 2-3 HOURS. This was very real for us both. Y'know?!

African Mango Extract. A natural extract which is (supposed to) reduce appetite, reduce hunger and control spikes in blood sugar levels, all in turn supporting fat loss. Sounded like just what I needed. The instructions say to take  1 - 2 tablets per day (60 minutes before a meal). I've mainly taken one table before lunch and / or before dinner. I don't know if it's in my mind but my snacking plummeted, I don't suffer from HANGER, and I eat 3 sensibly portioned meals per day. I keep track on various days using the My Fitness Pal app which used to be a firm favourite of mine a few years back! Add to that, the reviews say that this supplement has done wonders for their skin too so surely that is an added bonus?! 

The almonds got baked (10 mins at 200 degrees) and then blitzed into almond butter! I use almond butter as an extra protein & fat hit in porridge or smoothies. With absolutely nothing in it but almonds, it's the epitome of clean eating! I did also nab a few to add to a mini pot of pecans, medal dates and dark chocolate pieces which I had as a snack on workout days / low calorie breakfast days. 

The Protein Porridge comes in handy individual serving tubs which are great for portion control and also to pack in my bag if I need to have breakfast on the go / at work. The oats used are gluten free too which is always an added bonus for those who need to avoid that ingredient. Simplicity at its best, you just add water and consume! 

...keep an eye out for recipes coming up in which I use TPW products! You can try out this Protein Acai Bowl using the TPW Paleo Protein which is flavoured and sweetened with fruits and vegetables!  

Have you ever taken a fitness break?! Did it set you back?!

Elle :) 

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You can check out my thoughts on the Diet Protein Truffles in my Elle Loves, May 2015 Post


Elle About Town, November 2015

November - We're well on the way to winter and all things Christmas are starting to pick up pace! I've been busy creating a new routine for myself with my workouts recognising the need to get back into running, swimming (increase my cardio) whilst keeping balance with yoga and pilates. 

Here's what I've been getting up to recently around "Landan Tawn"! 

Events / Classes: BRITA Winter Wake Up Workout with Madeleine Shaw

I dragged myself out of bed (so grateful for my Lumi clock) for this early morning yoga class. Madeleine developed a 360 workout in partnership with BRITA that rejuvenates and helps to improve productivity as the days get darker and colder. The workout also encourages us to remember the importance of hydration throughout the winter months.

"How we spend our morning is key to setting us up for the day and shifting that sluggish feeling.  After 8 hours sleep, your body will be dehydrated, which is the biggest cause of fatigue. Yoga and hydration boast so many of the same health benefits – increased energy, brain power and alertness – so I’ve designed a workout that incorporates both and that everyone can follow."

"The workout features key poses that defend against winter bugbears like dry skin and hair or the winter bulk. The horse stance strengthens the entire hormonal system leading to more energy and healthier hair, skin and nails.  The Warrior II pose aids digestion, which stops you feeling bloated and tired."

"Your mind is a muscle too so completing these moves and staying hydrated will ensure that you feel physically and mentally ready to be the best that you can be during winter. With it’s easy sip straw, I find using my BRITA Fill&Go is perfect for drinking whilst in a yoga position and it also means I can keep it on my desk for the rest of the day – a perfect reminder to keep drinking!" says Madeleine.

Location: Fitness First, Tottenham Court Road 

Fitness First, Team GB’s Official Fitness Partner, has begun the countdown to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with now less than one year to go! I was lucky enough to get my hands on a pass for my nearest Fitness First and decided to pay Tottenham Court Road a visit for a post workout swim. 

I haven't been to "the gym" in such a long time that I made a few epic fails. I forgot a padlock (combination locks are not everywhere it seems) so had to pay to borrow one. Then they have a one towel rule which doesn't work well for me when I want / need to wash my hair (note to self - take spare towel). Once I got over all that, I had a quiet swim (in a very chilly pool) pretty much all by myself for the majority of the time. I was too hungry to hang around to check out the sauna's etc but I'll be popping back for sure soon! To find your nearest Fitness First Club {visit their site}

Wanna find out which Olympic Sport is best suited to you?! Check out this Sport Profiler built by Fitness First! 

Events: Samsung BlueHouse 

I popped along for breakfast at the Samsung BlueHouse for a talk around technology in health & Fitness. On the panel was Ben Fogle, Tim Weeks and one of the Hemsley sisters! It was an interesting conversation where they shared that they go from one extreme to the other when it comes to health, fitness and technology. I'm pretty much in agreement; I love tracking my runs and my progress but sometimes its great to just be free and be active for the sake of being active.

The "house" contained a ton of other gadgets too including the VR headset which I'm wearing in the picture above. It literally transports you into a 3D world of whatever you are watching! I'm absolutely loved the smart home system where you could hook up everything to your phone (including your kettle which you can programme to boil so its ready when you get out of bed!). I think this system would be great for saving money (i.e you can control your heating so it only turns on 30 minutes before you get home or using the system to turn off gadgets / lights when you are out). 

Classes: Trapeze at Gymbox, Westfield Stratford 

I went along to check this class which is one of the latest additions to the GymBox class timetable. I've not really done any trapeze before so had little idea of what to expect or how tough a workout it would be! My number one recommendations having done this would be to wear pants that cover the back of your knees and be prepared for some sore hands after!

I found that it was a challenge on the core especially when you're essentially sitting on what I can only describe as a stick! But it was a full body workout having to keep your legs engaged the whole time and using your upper body to get you up onto the stick and hold yourself up! We had a go at some swings using different leg positions as well as practising how to get onto / off the trapeze and then some "poses". Would I go again?! Yup!

Coming Up....

Next Bloggers Network Event 
It's been a couple of years since I've been to an event by Next (which was awesome!) so I'm really looking forward to this one next week! There'll be a mix of talks from industry experts as well as the opportunity to network with fellow bloggers. 

Blogfest is a conference put on by Mumsnet; you don't need to have children to be a part of their network nor to go to the conference! It's a day packed full of speakers and workshops all on topics surrounding blogging!

What fun stuff is coming up for you in the next month or so?! 

Elle :) x

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Sport'n Style: Brooks Running Urban Jungle Collection

When I got to work on Saturday afternoon, some of my colleagues asked me what I had been up to all morning. I shared with them a little about my adventure in London Zoo with Brooks and they responded with "who are Brooks?!". So I guess that really hit home for me what the brand are trying to do here by building awareness.

A few months back, I went along to meet the Brooks team and check out their Autumn Winter '15 kit and was pleasantly surprised! There are pieces that I still highly covet!

This weekend, we got to put some of that kit to test in the actual typical autumn / winter London weather. Say hello to a dull, drizzly, rainy morning! But we were there specifically to check out the Ghost 8 and Ravenna 6 in the new Urban Jungle Pack with cheetah and zebra inspired prints.

Opting for a balanced, cushioned and lightweight neutral shoe, I was gifted with the Ghost 8 (pictured above), whilst Bethan's rocking the Ravennas below.

At the zoo, we were split into teams; I was teamed with my running / blogging buddy Bethan and also Tess who I had yet to meet before but knew of. In our teams, we had to solve a series of questions and share the content on Instagram with the hashtag #brooksrunwild.

Points were awarded for the best photos and videos taken in the 60 minutes we had to complete the challenge with bonus points being awarded for getting the shoes in the posts too! Me, being me, ran with an umbrella (yup) and took most of my photos on my Olympus PEN E-PL7.

image credit || BrooksRunningUK on Twitter

Jacket (Women's LSD Jacket) || Trainers (Ghost 8) 
Pop over to Instagram and Twitter to check out posts from the rest of the crew who were here with me using the hashtag #brooksrunwild.

Unfortunately, my team didn't win the challenge (we were just 3 points behind the winners!!) but so much fun was had that it really didn't matter! A great breakfast, a long overdue catch up with everyone, a run around the zoo ...a great way to start my Saturday! Thanks Brooks!

Personally, I'd always opt for function over fashion, but I'm certainly not gonna complain when I can get both in a running shoe!

How'd do you feel about running shoes mixing function and fashion?! 

Elle :) 

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Cacao - The Happy Superfood!

I'm over here trying to eat well and be active but I'm human. And most humans fancy a treat every now and again, right?! Firstly, I never buy junk food as that'll just be my downfall so instead I had to create something using just what I had in the house. I scoured the internet and Pinterest for ideas and found a recipe I felt I could adapt. 

And there was born the Dark Chocolate and Almond Butter Cookie Cake

Dark Chocolate and Almond Butter Cookie Cake
Dairy Free | Gluten Free | Wheat Free | Vegan | 5 mins to prepare 
8 - 10 mins to cook | Serves 6 - 8

  • 1 egg 
  • 1 cup of almond butter 
  • 3 tbsp agave nectar 
  • 3 tbsp milled flaxseed 
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder 
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1/3 cup cacao nibs 

Method: Preheat oven to 175 degrees. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients until they come together evenly. Use approx 1.5tbsp of the dough for each cookie. I used a whoopie pie tin, hence the half cake / half cookie creation! Use the back of the spoon to flatten out the dough then pop in the oven. 

Bake for 8-10 minutes. I baked mine for approx 10 minutes which made them come out more cake like than brownie like in the middle. 

About Cacao 
Cacao Powder is rich in antioxidants, high in protein and fibre as well as an abundance of magnesium and iron. It also allows us to create chocolate recipes which are dairy free, vegan and low in sugars. 

I enjoyed a couple of these cookie cakes with a warm mug of Spiced Hot Chocolate! So go ahead, have a go and...


Elle :) 

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Behind The Screen: October 2015 Report

Well, Hello November! Let's talk all things blogging and statistics for the month of October!

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 you 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; October 2015 

Google Analytics

October 1st - October 31st
Google Analytics (GA) statistics seem to be the benchmark for blog statistics so I moved away from trusting what Blogger says and use these statistics. I realised this month that I probably could learn to use GA a little better so that is something I will look into in the near future!

October vs September

Users 2,029 vs 1,866  (-163) 
Page Views 3,866 vs 3,865  (-1) 

After a bigger fall in stats last month, I had hoped for an increase or to stay steady as a worse case scenario; but again this month there has been a decrease. I'm not wholly sure that this is down to posting less but who knows?! But my social media stats were the silver lining on this cloud...

FB page likes - 679 vs 691 (+12) 
IG followers - 1121 vs 1163  (+42) 
Pinterest followers - 531 vs 563 (+32) 
Twitter followers - 2531 vs 2605 (+74) 
BlogLovin' followers - 238 vs 243 (+5) 

Amazon Associates
- 1st October - 31st October
- £0.56

This month again,  I didn't do anything different with Amazon. Last month I found the best way of sharing amazon links was via twitter when I am shopping myself and just sharing what I am buying / loving! This month I got approx 158 click throughs and 2 products purchased.

Affiliate Windows
- £4.18

I've been working on sharing links as authentically as I can over the past couple of months as well as when REALLY GOOD offers come through! Last month there seemed to be a lot more great deals which accounts for the higher click through rate even though this month saw two purchases as opposed to just one last month. As I shared before, purchases are down to whether people want to shop or not and that's not really something I can personally affect.

Affiliate Window (AW) also have a facility where you add an opportunity for brands and then they reach out to you if they are interested. I tried to use it to organise a mini advent calendar for November but I feel the timescales are now too short to make it as big as I wanted. I did hear from a couple of brands and I guess I really should chase them up if I want this to work!

If you're interested in joining an affiliate scheme it costs about £5 to join AW but you can make that back really quickly (if you try!).

Other Advertising
- 1st October - 31st October
- £3.21
- unpaid

Kayla Itsines Affiliate Program
- $A0

I'm still considering leaving this programme as it's not actively contributing to my blog goals and is a lot of work for no return. However, I really want to give the programme a proper go before I pack it in! I anticipate that I could attempt the 3 month program at some point in the New Year so stay tuned to see if / when that happens!

Collaborative & Sponsored Posts
- £75

Last month I made the decision to increase and standardise my fee for such posts. I anticipated that it would mean a reduced income to start with but I'm happy with that. I was approached twice this month for sharing infographics that I would have found useful however only one agreed the fee. One per month is enough anyway; I don't want KISE to be full of infographics even if I do think they are useful!

I used the money for this and my other work and consulting income (below) to pay for some products to test trade for my new business venture! 

Other work and consulting
- £35

I did some writing for an external blog this month. The post didn't take me very long to write and I had agreed the fee a few months ago so couldn't very well ask for more. I'm able to say yes or no when I'm offered a piece so I can prioritise other work if need be. 

Costs / Outgoings
- iCloud storage upgrade - £0.79
- PayPal fee's
- Blogfest ticket - £79.84

Thank You - While You're Here
I just want to say Thank You to those of you who popped me a vote in the MyProtein Fitness Blogger Awards! I didn't win, but I'm very proud to have been shortlisted amongst a fabulous group of bloggers some of whom I would even class as friends! Congratulations to everyone else shortlisted and to each and every one of the category winners! 

What Worked Well Last Month

I cut 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's meant I've said no to posting about a lot of things when I have been approached and caused me to not over commit to things I then cannot do. 

I just cleaned up my PR & Features page! I got busy on my free trial of Canva for Work and created some "on brand" graphics to get the page looking more sleek and tidy! I did a quick google search on my blog too to update my features list! 

What I Did New Last Month

I went out on a little Street Style shoot with a couple of my London Bloggers crew! I've been using some of the shots on social media and in blog posts! All of them were taken on my Olympus PEN E - PL7. Here's another one of my favourite shots from the afternoon: 

Jacket (Topshop) || Scarf (lululemon) || Bag (Grafea at ASOS)

I bought myself a ticket to Mumsnet Blogfest for later this month! 

I rearranged my Pinterest a little. All this time my boards have just been in alphabetical order; they now are in order of relevance to my blog with my most personal (but still public) boards found lower down. 

I created my first official VLOG - you can catch it { here } 

I added quick links for following on social media platforms at the end of posts. I'm unable to tell if this has any direct affect on my social media stats but I like having the ease of accessibility to connect with me on other platforms right there at the end of each post. 

What I Will Try Next Month 

I never got around to this last month; 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. 

On the photography side of things, I kinda fell out of the swing of taking photos so I want to get back on the case! I need to ensure I arrive early at events, don't feel shy during and don't need to rush off afterwards. 

I'm considering creating some content around Black Friday and Cyber Monday; I have so many products hanging around which I could use as a giveaway, I just need to finance the postage of it all. 

Posts On Blogging You Have To Read: 
6 Quick Tips For Sharing Affiliate Links
- A Beginners Bloggers Guide To Google Analytics 

Goals For The Next Month

GOAL - share one workout on the blog with images and 'pin-able' title image (carried over from last month)

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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