Kitchen Empties #2 - The Snack Edition

I follow a few beauty bloggers / make up artists and one of my favourite style of posts they do is their "empties" where they chat about all the products that have finished in their beauty cabinet. I'm not a beauty blogger, and even so, I don't have enough "smellies" to create such a post ...but what I do, do, is eat a lot of food. A LOT. So I decided to save some my my kitchen empties and share them with you if I especially loved them. Here is #2... also known as the bottom of my gym bag. 

Wild Thing Organic Paleo Bars* 
So these bars carry the tag of being organic, gluten free, paleo, vegan and raw. That's a lot to live up to when you add tasty, right?! But they did. They come in 4 different flavours -  Berries and Seeds, Coconut and Chia, Cacao and Almond or Nuts and Seeds with Coconut and Chia being my personal favourite. I used them as mid morning / mid afternoon snacks on days I was feeling particularly ravenous! They all come in under 200kcal and as a Whole30 fan, I would keep these on hand! 

Aduna Baobab / Moringa Bars* 
I was lucky enough to spend an evening with Aduna a couple weeks ago when they launched their new Super Cacao. In my goody bag, amongst other things, I got these two bars made using Baobab and Moringa. These bars are also 100% organic and raw! I loved the tanginess of the Baobab bar as it was mixed with pineapple, apple juice, almonds, dates and raisins. I'm currently busy getting creative in the kitchen using their Super Cacao - it's the first cacao powder with an EU-approved claim for heart health!

Squirrel Sisters Cacao Brownies* 
I was lucky enough to meet the Squirrel Sisters themselves at the same Aduna event I mentioned above and received a packet of their Cacao Brownies in my goody bag. I opened them out of curiosity one evening and found the packet contained two bars. I thought to myself, I'll just eat one to try it, and when I did, it was so damn good, I ate the other! I now need to get my hands on the two other just as delightful sounding flavours to try.... You can find them at Planet Organic here (and they're on offer at the moment!)

The Protein Works Luxe Flapjack* 
This one is a treat, no matter how much protein you put in it! A square of oaty, chewy milk chocolate pistachio yumminess. But you need to remember it's still 273kcal / 18.4g protein / 34.2g carbs. So realistically, this isn't an eat every day kinda treat. I do however love all the protein snacks you can find on TPW site (and you would've seen a few featured here on KISE).

FireStar Energy* 
These little sachets contain a crystal form of caffeine to provide you with energy to keep yourself alert whatever it is you might be doing! You literally just tear open the sachet and pour it onto your tongue! I tried a cherry favour and a mint flavour with both tasting like sweets yet only being 10kcal! There are also two types - 2 hours and 4 hours - the amount of time they sustain you for. What I like about them is that I never felt "high" nor did I have any "come downs" (yes, caffeine is a drug in my life!). I used a 4 hour sachet when I was falling asleep after eating lunch and sitting in lectures; it made the world of difference. I also used them before classes, taking them 30 minutes in advance to allow myself to feel the benefits! If you want to find out more info, you can check out their website - http://www.firestarenergy.com/

What snacks have been keeping you fuelled lately?! 

Elle :) 

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p.s products with a *, I received complimentary either for review or just by chance (like in a goody bag, which I probably have said!) but as always all opinions are my very own! ...and the biggest testament to these products are that I ate them and finished them! lol ;) x


Elle About Town, January 2016

People! Welcome to January!! ...what I can only describe as a month full of ups and down, physically, mentally and weather wise! 

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

Events / Classes: The Gym Is Everywhere with Reebok 

I got my butt whipped at the launch of this Reebok Campaign on the weekend! 

“For Reebok, the Gym is Everywhere. We encourage people to break free of their routines and use their surroundings to work out; whatever the apparatus or environment, your gym can be anywhere that you’re willing to put the work in."

I say, damn right! I had so much fun completing an AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) workout in my team! Just 20 minutes of intense work, and I could feel the burn for days following! You can catch me doing the tyre flip over on IG too...

Events / Classes: Runble with Sweaty Betty and 1Rebel 

Sweaty Betty have teamed up with the London studio, 1Rebel to create their latest Get Fit 4 Free campaign - a weekly class led instore as well as an online workout which can be done at home. I got to head down to the SB Head Office for the laugh and try out the workout myself; it was a tough one - a mixx of MMA (mixed martial arts), boxing and other exercises in rounds lasting 3-5 minutes. The music was loud, the moves were intense and the energy was high. 

Check out the video {here} and get your sweat on! #ItsAKnockout 

Food: VitaMojo  

If you work in the Bank / St Pauls area in London, you have to check out the newest food venue on the block! It seems that Vita Mojo is a new concept in food... you can either order a "box" which is a combo of foods or customise the box yourself. I went for a customised box of chicken, sweet potato mash, red cabbage, kale, a tiny piece of polenta and a spicy thai dressing. When you choose which foods you want you can also adjust the quantity (y'know, so it fits your macros!). Mine came in at 595kcal, 35g fat, 37g protein and 33g carbs. You also choose a collection time when you order online and just pop along to get your food. 

The food tasted AH-MAZING. I literally got to sample the ENTIRE menu for the day and have no favourite! ...it was all so flavoursome (food without flavour is my worst nightmare!). 

Coming Up....

The London Winter Run, the launch of a new studio FitMiBody, Urban Movement with Pure Gym ( a day packed with different types of workouts), getting back into cycling ...and February. Basically, it's February already. How.

What's on your agenda in the next month or so?! ...been to any good classes / events?! 

Elle :) x

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Sport'n Style || New Year, New Gear with NX Sport

Waiting for January payday seems to be so painful. Every year. Reading all the posts about how to find your fitness motivation again and they're telling me new kit will get me back in the gym. I know this. But they clearly haven't seen my bank balance lately! Ha! ...So right now. I'm all about some affordable new kit for the new year to help me feel great.... and I think I've found just that at Next with their updated sportswear range, NX Sport, for 2016.

Kit For My First 2016 Miles 

I have no shame in being honest about the fact that I haven't run outdoors in probably more than 6 months. I've done interval training now and then at classes but with my first race for the year coming up, it was time to get outdoors and remind my legs what they need to do! I picked the perfect outfit from Next to get outside... 

Black Tech Full Leggings, £20 || Khaki Tech Vest, £10 || Fluro Yellow Tech Jacket, £30 

All the pieces are made from moisture wicking fabrics and have the essential features (i.e a back pocket in the leggings and jacket, mesh panelling). The leg length is perfect for me (29" and I'm 5' 5"). The vest is super long, as you can see in the images but you can pull it up or down to a length that suits you! In this dull weather, there's nothing a little neon can't put right! 

Way back in the day, when I had all the fitness qualifications (science-y ones) but not really any of the active experience, the Next catalogue was my go to for workout gear! They've always had a great selection and I am loving the fact that you only have to order before midnight to have your pieces delivered the very next day! No excuses now, eh?! They also sell all your typical big brands if you need a swoosh or 3 stripes ;) 

It only made sense then, that when I started blogging, I joined the Next Bloggers Network. Not being a fashion, home decoration or overly lifestyle (other than fitness lifestyle) blogger means I don't get to share too often but this time, Fitness is at the top of the agenda (...erm, it is January, THE month that everyone declares they will get fit!). 

If you're searching for your running mojo too, switch up the game! How about you...

...ditch the music for podcasts! I've blogged about 3 series you should download, right now

...get back on track with a little treadmill masterclass

...add some yoga to your routine with these 6 poses for runners

With the mild weather back (for only a short time I'm sure), there's no time like the present to get back to pounding the pavement! I'll be at the London Winter Run on Sunday 31st January, getting prepped with my 6 day countdown guide which effectively starts today! 

What new kit have you bought recently?! How have you motivated yourself to get back into running?!

Elle :) 

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p.s incase you're wondering, this post is not sponsored / I was not paid but I was provided with the kit. But you know me, all opinions are my very own ;) 

p.p.s Before I go, just wanna say thank you to Georgina of Fitcetera who took all the awesome photo's in this post! 


Your 6 Day Countdown Guide To Pre-Race Preparation

Time to lace up your trainers, kick that fear of running to the kerb and get ready for the first races of 2016! - I'm mostly speaking to myself here, but from conversations I've had and blogs I've read, I know I'm not alone. I also fear I have forgotten how to prepare for a race... What should I wear, what will I eat, what do I run with?! 

With just over one week to go till race day for me,  I'm ready to put a plan in place! So this is my ...or this is our "do one thing a day" task list to get us ready for race morning!

Do it...

Monday: Pick Your Kit (and get it washed)

Pick your race day outfit. Something tried and tested (I know you've heard it a thousand times). Find everything from socks, underwear, rain jacket (it's London) to water bottle, headphones and your favourite pair of run tights. If anything needs washing, get it done tonight. And don't forget to store your wristbands / paperwork with your kit so it's easy to find on Sunday morning!

Tuesday: Plan Your Journey 

Check transport to find your fastest / easiest route; keep an eye out for tube line closures or if the start line isn't too far from home you can consider hiring a Boris Bike and use it as a warm up! Leave enough time in your journey plan to allow for delays and give you time to get to the bag drop (where there potentially will be queues) and for a bathroom pit stop before the start! 

Wednesday: Race Day Breakfast / Race Fuel 

You know what works for you before a morning run; it's another one of those "stick to what you know" times. Good options are porridge, a banana or a bagel with peanut butter. Pack a snack bar in your bag for post race too! I've also put race fuel in this section too; if you use hydration tablets then make sure you have them packed. Usually you won't require gels etc for a 10km race so that's one less thing to worry about. Check you have everything you need in your cupboard at home! If not, order a food delivery or pop to the shops in your lunch break today!

Thursday: Check The Weather 

Double check the weather for race day (it can still change) and make sure you have options in your pile of kit for sunshine (hat / visor, suncream, shorts), rain (rain jacket, change of clothes), cold (extra layers for post run, bin bag for start line) and everything in between!

Friday: Start Getting Hydrated 

Try your best to increase your fluid intake from today onwards. This will help your energy levels in the lead up to race day and keep you well hydrated! You have plenty of options including water (love me some sparkling), Vita Coco Water plus your tea and coffee counts too (although they can be dehydrating in large quantities and try to keep sugar to a minimum).

Saturday: Shake Out Run 

Get in a little 2 - 5km run to remind your legs what they need to do! Then chill out, rest your legs and catch a movie :) This is also a good time to update your GPS watch so it connects faster to the satellites on race morning (tomorrow)! I'm always the one shouting "wait, my GPS isn't ready!". Then all that's left is to get a good nights sleep (if you can!).

Sunday: Let's Do This! 

You've done all the preparation now its time to enjoy the race itself! Then you wear your medal with pride ALL DAY LONG ...because race day is basically the only day you can!! 

Got anything on your mind?! or have any other preparation tips for us?! 

Elle :) 

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Kitchen Empties #1

I follow a few beauty bloggers / make up artists and one of my favourite style of posts they do is their "empties" where they chat about all the products that have finished in their beauty cabinet. I'm not a beauty blogger, and even so, I don't have enough "smellies" to create such a post ...but what I do, do, is eat a lot of food. A LOT. So I decided to save some my my kitchen empties and share them with you if I especially loved them. Welcome to #1. 

MyProtein* (USA / UK
I got a little MyProtein haul delivered a few weeks ago and one of the first things to finish was this packet of beef jerky. I've tried (and loved) turkey jerky in the past but this would be my first time trying the beef version. I munched this 50g bag as a snack at only 133kcal and 25g of protein per packet.  Absolutely loved the flavour and chewiness of it; at £2.49 per bag (plus MP always have good offers on) you can't really go wrong! 

Exante are a brand that I had seen around but thought they weren't for me because I saw the word diet. They're actually under the same umbrella company of MyProtein so I had a little read up about them to find out that they're not just about weight loss, they also have products to support weight management and a healthy lifestyle in general. I tried out a couple of their ready meals (amongst other things) - 5 Bean Vegetarian Chilli (£3.50) and Tuna Pasta (£3.50). The meals were enough to satiate me (I used them both as packed lunches for work over Christmas while I was staying in the hotel) but I couldn't help dressing up the chilli with some protein cheese and a packet of crushed Popchips Mature Cheddar & Onion! 

PhD Woman* 
I wrote about the the two week starter pack from PhD Woman just a couple of weeks ago (The Protein Guide). This Caramel Crunch meal replacement bar was part of the pack and it got used in place of breakfast one morning when I was in a rush. It surprisingly did keep me until my next meal (I just didn't look at the calories as I think it's all in the mind - if I think the calories are too low I'll get hungry quicker?!). The second bar was used as a pre-breakfast on a morning I had a 5am alarm and kept me going for a few hours until I had my second breakfast around 9am. 

Rude Health*
In my quest a long time ago to find the silkiest almond milk, I discovered Rude Health. I did accidentally use this Almond Drink while on Whole30 once before realising it contains brown rice too! Rude Health have however recently launched their Ultimate Almond Milk made from just almonds and water so perfect for when I choose to do a Whole30 again and am too lazy to use my Vitamix to make my own! Rude Health were also awesome enough to support me for my first Borrow My // Blender event back in December which you can read about here

This little collection here is basically what got me through the holidays! There's now a little corner in my kitchen dedicated to empties and right now it seems to be getting piled high with snacks... therefore, you know whats coming next time, right?! 

What have been your favourite "finds and finished" products recently?! 

Elle :) 

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p.s products with a *, I received complimentary either for review or just by chance (yes, this happens!) but as always all opinions are my very own! 


5 Tips To Start A Kickass Blog From Scratch Today

So you're thinking of starting a blog.... you just have no idea where to start?! I recently attended a workshop on building an online business; I actually learn a lot about building a presence online in general and a lot of the information applied to blogging. I decided to write this post, based on what I learnt, as an easy guide about where to start... Basically, how I would do it, if I were to start again tomorrow...

1. Choosing a name and finding the URL 

First things, first; what are you going to call your blog?! Just as important though, you want to check if the corresponding URL (domain name) is available for purchase. It's also worth checking is the social media handles are available too - all of which you can do via...

- The Name App (www.thenameapp.com

I purchased a .com domain for keep it simpElle as I wanted my blog to be a global site rather than to just seem as a UK based blog with a .co.uk. The .com and .co.uk are the only domains with real authority which mostly matters if you are looking to start a business. 

2. Choose Wordpress (.org)

So this may come as a surprise from me considering I'm actually hosted on Blogger. I'm sure I had my reasons for choosing Blogger when I started out 4 years ago, but should I to choose again, Wordpress (.org, not .com) is the way to go. The main reason for this is that - you own your site! 25% of all websites are created on WP including Beyonce and Marks & Spencer's For Business. Wordpress is a fully customisable too which in the long term is a great benefit. And with such a large community, and 40k+ plug ins available someone will most probably have already thought of what you needed already! 

3. Pick your hosting company wisely 

Number one tip here is to not buy your hosting through a web designer as they are merely acting as a middle man. This means that should they not pay their bill, your website will go down. It also means they will have a lot of access / control over your site continually. 

Ask friends for recommendations and read reviews. A couple that have come recommended to me include United Hosting and Zen Hosting. Your hosting should cost around £4 - £5 per month.  

4. Set Up Google Analytics 

This is the industry standard for checking your statistics. It's not all about how many hits you get though. It's great to be able to know who's reading your blog - men or women, what age?, where are they located? and even, where do they go after landing on your blog? I've found with blogging, you end up getting a huge bounce rate (the % of people who leave your blog after the page they landed on) due to posting a single post at a time. I have used Link Within at the bottom of all my posts which suggests further reading after each post. 

5. When I first find a blog, I go straight to the About page

This is what I do. I love to know who it is I am reading about. I think it's a good idea to add a picture, a little about who you are, what your blog is about and how people can contact you should they wish to share feedback with you or want to work with you! I read somewhere that it's a PR's nightmare when they can't find contact details! Even if you just set up a new email account like keepitsimpElle@gmail.com (this isn't an actual account by the way so don't use it!) so you can keep your blog emails separate! 

Erm, so all that's left now is to decide what the hell to write for your first post?! Click here to read mine

Are you thinking of writing a blog?! What would you write about?! 

If you're already in the game, what do you wish you knew before you started blogging?! 

Elle :) 

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3 Podcast Series To Listen To Right Now

Somewhere on my running journey, I stopped listening to music. I do love music, but I found it was affecting my pace more than I wanted it to. When running with groups I tend to talk the whole time, and for long runs discovered podcasts. 

In the spirit of getting back into the swing of running again, I've got 3 podcast series that I'm loving / loved to shared with you! 

My Dad Wrote A Porno (Funny, Addictive)

If there was a top spot, this one would have it. It basically delivers what it says on the tin. I don't want to spoil it, but it's hilarious. Leave your prudeness at the door when you exit for your run and be thankful this isn't your dad! With short 30 minutes episodes it's perfect for your tempo runs (or like me, for your commute, spending the whole time hoping that no-one can hear whats being said in your headphones!)

Serial - Series 2 (True Story, Political)

Although, if you haven't listed to series 1, I'd recommend you start there. In the first series, they re-earthed the story of Adnan who was jailed for killing his teenage ex girlfriend way, way back. I think we all then assumed the second series would come back to continue his story but instead we're learning all about an American Soldier who ran away and got caught by the Taliban. I'm still getting into this one and I know that when I do, I'll be enthralled no doubt!

How To Be A Girl (Emotional, True Story)

I have no idea how I found this one but I love it. It's from the Mother of a child who was born a boy, but from a very young age identifies himself as a girl. The Mother accepts the child's feelings so now identifies as the mother of a "happy, confident little transgender girl" and the journey it took to get to this point.

I'm pretty sure I will make a podcast one day, I just need to work out what it'll be about and how to do it! But for the time being, this is what I'll be up to when I have my headphones in! 

Do you have any podcasts that you recommend for running or commuting?! 

Elle :) 

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Behind The Screen: lululemon X BM//B

Last month, on the 20th December, I ran my first event with Borrow My // Blender (BM//B) in collaboration with lululemon Covent Garden. Each Sunday morning, the stores holds a complimentary yoga class for the community. They host the best teachers from across London; this particular morning class was taught by lululemon ambassador Katy Bateman of Red Panda Yoga. 

lululemon athletica were pushing their "Fuel Happiness" campaign for the holidays and when the idea struck me that I could bring the "fuel" and they could bring the "happiness" I put it to the store team immediately! With about 4 weeks to plan my first ever event and source all the ingredients and equipment, it was definitely a challenge! 

I spent a little time choosing the menu and settled on 4 of my all time favourite smoothie recipes. Using an amazing spreadsheet which was a template in Numbers (the equivalent of Excel on a Mac) I inputted all the numbers to work out how much of each ingredient I would need to make 20 servings of each smoothie. 

I then reached out to a few of my favourite brands to ask for support with this event. I owe a huge Thank You to Sunwarrior (all the way in the USA), VitaCoco and Rude Health who were all so supportive, friendly and helpful. VitaCoco and Rude Health are two of my "go to" brands in my own kitchen, however, Sunwarrior was new to me but came highly recommended. 

Before the yoga class, I had the chance to speak to everyone and give them a little introduction about me, my background and how BM//B came about. It was then off to the kitchen whilst they got their flow on, to get the 80 smoothies prepared in the 60 minutes. I was very fortunate to have my friend, Alicia supporting me on the day. We soon got into our groove - me blending, Alicia pouring. We just about finished with enough time to get everything carried upstairs and presented on the table with the help of the store staff! 

The feedback from the event was awesome and I absolutely loved seeing all the photos people had taken on Instagram! I also learnt a lot about event planning, sourcing suppliers, and gained valuable experience in the sector.

I'm now busy completing my business plan whilst working on the logistics of the rentals side of BM//B. My goal for 2016 (until the official launch) is to host one event per month (I do need to get my butt in gear for January or worse case scenario I'll have to catch up in February!); hopefully I will see you at one of them! 

So again, Thank you to Sunwarrior, VitaCoco, Rude Health and also lululemon Covent Garden for trusting in my entrepreneurialism to run this event! And of course to everyone who came along (intentionally or unintentionally supporting me!) that morning! 

Elle :) 

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The Protein Guide

It's January people, and I think my head is back in the game! I'm eating well (thanks to The Body Coach and the Lean in 15 book) so now all there is to add to the equation is exercise! I have my first race for the year coming up on Sunday 31st January and by no means am I looking to PB but I want to be comfortable enough to enjoy the 10km of beautiful London cityscape! 

In walks the PhD Woman Two Week Starter Pack (well, it was the postman doing the walking, but you get the picture?!) which was developed to introduce you us to sports nutrition and give us a head start to kick off a health and fitness plan. Although I'm no beginner, I'm not one to turn my nose up to a helping hand...


Protein is the body's building block. All of our organs are built from proteins, many hormones are proteins, the immune system, digestive system and blood all rely on proteins to work correctly. It is therefore an essential part of our diet. 

Every time you exercise, you break down muscle, so post exercise nutrition and protein intake is really important. Elite athletes consume about 2g of protein per kg of body weight; this is a good aim if you are taking part in an intense workout programme. Outside of that, you can aim for 1.2g - 1.6g per kg of your body weight

Chicken, turkey, lean red meats, eggs, fish and tofu are all great sources of protein. Supplementing with whey (or non dairy options) is a convenient way to get the protein you need. It is quickly absorbed and tastes great, perfect when we are on the go! 

...and NO, it won't make you bulky. 

The optimum time to consume your shake post workout is the 30 minutes after you have finished, keeping your body in repair mode. You should also look to include protein in each of your meals to help reduce cravings and stabilise energy levels. By all means, your first choice of protein should be "real" food but realistically theres nothing wrong with a little helping hand. 

The pack contains...

  • 10 servings of strawberry flavour "Exercise Support"
  • A 500ml shaker cup
  • Two meal replacement bars in chocolate peanut and caramel crunch 
  • Greens & Berries single serve sachet 

The plan...

I found last year that my nutrition failed post exercise so I'll be using the Exercise Support (basically a protein powder)immediately after my workouts mixed with water. On days I don't workout, I can add a scoop to my morning porridge or smoothie bowl. 

The meal replacement bars are perfect for keeping in my handbag and using in emergencies. because we all have them. They can be used to replace a balanced meal or as a snack. 

If you're looking for more information or support on your protein intake then check out the PhD Woman Academy which offers tools and tips to help you reach your goal! They have workout plans, meal plans and recipes to support you all categorised by goal (i.e toning, weight loss etc). 

You can pick up the Two Week Starter Pack from Boots online, and I presume in store too! 

Do you use protein supplements?! Any you recommend?!

Elle :) 

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*I was sent the pack for review, I didn't really express much opinion in this post as I'm still formulating one but I'm sure I will in another post, and when I do, they will be my very own opinions! 


REVIEW: Lean in 15: 15 minute meals and workouts

It's been a funny old start to the year for me, especially in my head. I had planned on doing a January Whole30 along with the rest of the world but once I got ill all plans went out the window. The most vital part of a whole30 is the planning and preparation; I just did not have the energy to clear out the kitchen, meal plan or do my shopping.

Then I caved in and bought the new book from Joe Wicks, The Body Coach; Lean in 15: 15 minute meals and workouts to keep you lean and healthy.

I've followed Joe on Twitter and Instagram for a while where he's become renowned for his 15 second recipe videos. On times where I've been low on inspiration and short on time, I've used a couple of his recipes after a good scroll through his account:

And this one which was whilst I did my whole30 back in April 2015:

A photo posted by keep it simpElle (@ellelinton) on

Here are my thoughts on the book so far: 

x this book is not suitable for vegetarians. Joe says in the book that he loves eating meat so I'd guess that 90 of the main meals include meat. There are a few vegetarian options but not enough to make it a worthwhile buy if you are! I like that he has stuck to what he likes as there are many other books out there to suit any other people and their way of eating

x I personally don't consume as much dairy as is included in the recipes. Joe uses greek yoghurt and mozzarella a fair bit. I have however also done so as I'm trying to include a little yoghurt in my diet to aid my gut health and luckily for me, cheese doesn't cause me many problems in relation to me being lactose intolerant 

x the meals really do take 15 minutes. If your don't need to wash pots and pots before you start. I tested this out on a day where I had 35 minutes to leave the house but still needed to put on my make up, pack my work bag, cook and eat. Usually something would have to be left out but I managed to cook in 15 minutes and then eat whilst packing my bag and doing my make up! I even had time to take the picture at the start of this post! 

x the recipes use minimal ingredients but have plenty of flavour. I'm a fan of few ingredients! Many of the recipes also share ingredients meaning you don't have to buy a million different things for one week of meals. Some stuff you will even already have (or at least I did?!) like oatmeal, chillies, olives and herbs & spices. If you're eating on a budget, I suggest you opt for store brands and look out for good offers. 

x the portions are pretty big. If you're a guy, thats prob fine! If you're like me and trying to maintain your weight, then I suggest you eat what feels comfortable and don't force yourself to eat everything. I'm yet to use any of the post workout snacks as I haven't been training in the last couple of weeks. 

x as with most other plans, planning and preparation are key. Joe included a little weekly planning template in the book but I can't find it online for the life of me and didn't get a response when I reached out on Twitter so I created my own little basic version which you can { download here }

x last but not least, the book also comes with some basic HIIT style workouts if you need them. Once I get back into the swing of things I'll be sticking to spin classes, some running, functional training and LISS. 

For £6.99 (less than you can spend on a lunch out!) from Amazon, you can't really go wrong with this book! 

Have you purchased this book too?! Any other books you would recommend?! 

Elle :) 

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Sports Luxe for 2016: Sweaty Betty x Topshop

Anyone else make resolutions like - I'm gonna make more of an effort with my make up - or - I'm gonna update my wardrobe for the New Year?? Yeah, me too. If I'm honest, I've always envied those girls who wake up looking stunning... or at least give off that illusion. Then I realised I could only be the best version of myself at anytime. And at this time, I love wearing lycra. And trainers. And being comfortable! 

I do love wearing "normal" clothes every now and again and when the occasion arrives I usually head to my favourite place, Topshop Personal Shopping at the Oxford Circus store. I first went there after winning a competition held by FRAME dance and fitness studio all the way back in 2012! You can see the post {here} - please forgive the awful quality of the photos! This was one of my very first posts for keep it simpElle! ...I still see the same Personal Shopper, Jo, from my very first appointment and after 3.5 years she knows me and my "style" well! My favourite thing Jo says is "oh, and this will go with trainers too!" ...SOLD!

Anyway, instead of vowing to wear more normal clothes this year, I think I'll just aim to dress up my sports wear every now and again in line with the Sports Luxe trend. 

I spotted a pair of culottes last year (wow, really?) at the Sweaty Betty SS15 preview and then happened to stumble upon them in the Boutique the very day they came out! I was even happier when I tried them on and decided they didn't look all that bad! I purchased them, then headed to Topshop to find a top to make the outfit (with the help of Jo). 

Culottes - Sweaty Betty || Long Sleeved Polo - Topshop || Trainers - Nike at Office Shoes

Photos taken by Georgina of Fitcetera, using my Olympus PEN E-PL7

So here's to wearing what I want, when I want ;) oh, and some more BIG HAIR || DON'T CARE in 2016!

Elle :)

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Behind The Screen: 2016 Goals & December 2015 Report

It's 2016 now and I'm entering the back end of my 4th year of blogging which I will have to celebrate the heck out of in July 2016! I've learnt so much in that time and all the while, so much has changed!

I see this blog as an extension of my profession, career and passion. It's basically my online CV, my online fitness diary and my creative outlet where I'm able to share what, how and when I like! ...who wouldn't want to make the most of such an opportunity?!

So I'm taking this opportunity to take you Behind The Screen to see what tools I use to create my content and what's been going on during the month preceding this report.

December 2015

Advertising Income: £3.60 

Affiliate Income: £0

Collaborative & Sponsored Posts: £0

Other Work & Consulting: £0

Costs / Outgoings: £23.74

Total December Page Views: 3270 

In December 2015, I posted just 10 times; the lowest amount all year! But I was conscious that everyone was busy and that I wanted to publish useful content that I was happy with! I've been posting 3x per week for a few months now and it is working well for me especially now that I am in the midst of starting a new business (Borrow My // Blender). 

My total page views did however increase from November (see Novembers report here) which I think is due to a) having a few decent collaborations / competitions for Christmas and b) deep and thoughtful posts. 

Read "Thoughts on Friendship: Why You Lose Friends When They Become Parents"

Read "Pamper Yourself During The Holidays"

I sourced my BIG competition prize through Affiliate Window (AW) in collaboration with Buyagift. It costs about £5 to join but you can easily make it back with a little effort and a couple of small sales.  Talking of money; it only took me like, 3 years, but I finally got my first Adsense pay out!!! Here's to reaching the £60 threshold in less than 3 years this time! 

My favourite post for the month was my Sport'n Style post featuring a Sweaty Betty workout outfit. I spent an afternoon with Georgina of Fitcetera shooting this in the City of London. I used some of the shots on Instagram too and have enough for another Sports Luxe post which will be coming soon! 

My costs and outgoings included my iCloud storage upgrade, a photography course with the Institute of Photography (which I got for just £15 with the NUS discount they had!), a charge for my Doddle Runner (see post here) and some marble effect sticky back plastic to use for backgrounds in photos. 

2016 Blogging Goals

Continue to work on my photography - I've enjoyed playing around with my Olympus PEN E-PL7 and am constantly learning! I'm enjoying the online course with the Institute of Photography and part of this goal is to complete that course. 

Post up to 3x per week - I'm happy with my new posting schedule and will aim to stick to it as best I can during 2016 but I'm not putting any pressure on myself! 

Social Media - with Twitter and Instagram being two of my favourite social media platforms for the blog, I'm gonna set a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) here and aim to double my current numbers. So that would be approx 3k Instagram followers and 5k Twitter followers by the end of 2016. 

...that really is it for concrete goals! I want this blog to remain something I enjoy doing; if I do think of anything else though I'll be sure to update my goals as the year progresses! 

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

Do you track your stats monthly?! 

Elle :) 

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Dear 2016,

Hi there, 2016! Let's be friends.

I spent last night in bed, with 2015, and we thought we should all have a little chat about the year ahead. We don't have an agenda though, we're just gonna talk, openly about what we've learnt together and if we forget anything, we can chat at anytime!

Just because it's 2016, doesn't mean that 2015 doesn't matter anymore. Just like when we get our tomorrow, our yesterday still exists.

Here's what 2015 and I realised:

Being In Your Thirties Is a Whole New Ball Game
I know I still feel like I'm in my twenties, and enough people tell me I look like it which makes me feel great but having spent 2015 firmly in my thirties I realised its a new chapter. In the Health & Fitness x Blogging x Social Media world, you can make it "BIG" at 17, at 20, at 25 years old. And I am none of those ages. I come with qualifications, experience and passion. I can't turn it all off, because it is who I am! It was my career before social media and it still is. I don't get to go to a 9-5 in a completely unrelated world. THIS, right here what you are reading is my 24/7. So, I've already made it big. I'm still here and don't plan on going anywhere!

My Body Goals
...are not the same as they used to be. I remember a particular holiday photo from when I was around 18yo - in a bikini with abs for days. I don't aspire to be that girl in the picture... any more. I aspire to learn about my body with each new day I am granted and I aspire to be the best version of myself at any given time. Because...

Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy
...and comparing myself to twenty something years olds will just prevent me from enjoying being a thirty something! So I won't be comparing my blog to yours, my goals to yours, my progress to yours or my results to yours but I will be your cheerleader if you will be mine?

The Mind Is A Powerful Tool 
...and if you think it, you can achieve it. Six months ago, I had no real intention of becoming an entrepreneur. Well, actually, that is kind of a little white lie. I had it in my ten year goals to run my own business and I had it in my five year goals to complete a Masters in Business Administration but I had nothing in my 1-5 year goals to actually make any of this a reality. Stumbling upon The Princes Trust just happened, and bringing Borrow My // Blender into the real world just happened and sometimes, allowing life to just happen is great! It's liberating in fact! I have no idea where 2016 will take me but as I posted on Instagram recently, "Uncertainty is key to creativity" (Danielle La Porte)

No Doesn't Mean A Thing 
Getting a no is nether good or bad; when you add meaning to it is when it becomes "something". You just got to believe that if you get a no, it just wasn't the right time!

Don't Waste Your Precious Time 
...on things and people that don't deserve it. Bad sh*t happens. I know. Allow yourself a specific period of time to sulk (we all know it makes us feel good, and yet bad at the same time) then make a conscious decision and effort to keep going. Don't beat yourself up if you fall backwards every now and again, just acknowledge it, you're human, and then keep climbing. I read a really lovely article about aging in The New York Times; when Mr. Mekas was asked if he was an optimist he said:

“I would say, that I am applying the ‘butterfly wing’ theory to my everyday life,” he wrote. “It’s a kind of moral dictum, moral responsibility to keep in mind that whatever I do this second affects what the next second will be. So I try not to do anything negative, which is my best insurance that the world will be better next second, or at least not worse. But of course, my positive action may be undermined by 100 negative actions of others and so it may mean nothing. But I still have to follow that dictum. You can call it optimism.” 

So dear 2016, not much will change but that isn't a bad thing, right?! I'm gonna keep doing what I did with 2015 and hopefully just do it "righter"!!

See you around! 

Elle :) 

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