31.8.16

The Wash & Go with Afrocenchix

A couple months or so ago, I shared my first real post talking about my hair. In fact, to bust some of the myths surrounding natural hair.  The post was well received and it inspired me to share a little more about my hair care and how I look after my hair when I sweat so much (this is a big deal for black women with relaxed / straightened hair, and natural hair!).



Around the same time, natural beauties, Joycelyn and Rachael, the creators of the Afrocenchix brand sent me over a few of their products to try out and share with y'all should I like them! ...now it's been months, and I've yet to post anything and that's not because I haven't liked the products; it's because they've just become a part of my daily routine and I never got around to filming anything worth sharing! ...Sometimes I think the best reviews are the ones that take months...when you get lost in actually using the product!

Anyway, I made a little video to show that The Wash & Go Is Real (as I wrote about in my previous post), which Afrocenchix products I used and how:


The wash and go is literally how I live my life - once or twice per week. If I do wear my hair in another style (besides the puff in the video) it always starts the same way anyway! Onto the products...

Making Natural Simple || is the strap line for the brand. And I think they've done a pretty good job. First up was the SWISH shampoo which they sent me in a travel sized bottle perfect for carrying to the pool or gym when you need to wash your hair afterwards. I wasn't too sure about using the shampoo initially as I typically don't use shampoo but this one was actually moisturising as per the label and didn't leave my hair feeling dry and stripped.

I wash my hair with regular shampoo (sulphate free if possible) every 1 wash out of around 4 - 6. The other 3 - 5 washes are co-washes (using conditioner only). I then rinse the majority of the conditioner out but not fully so the residue can act as a leave in conditioner.

SMOOTH || has to be one of my favourite products from the range. As per the video, I use it after a hair wash but I also use it on a daily basis on dry hair to help re-moisturise it ready for the day. On the occasion that I plait my hair at night I would also use this before to help condition the hair overnight.

SEAL || I'm obsessed with oils, so having one specifically for my hair makes me happy! I especially use it after washing my hair to help seal in moisture and keep my hair looking shiny and healthy.

If you have any questions about my natural hair care routine, please don't hesitate to ask! I'd also love to know what products you use to look after your hair (if you also have natural afro hair) and any recommendations for products / styles to wait my hair down or just not in an afro puff!

Elle :)

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Photos by Lolography

29.8.16

How To Juggle A Busy Life With Your Training Plan

{This post was written for, and originally published on The British 10km Blog} 

Image Credit: Lolography

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person out there who in their head is Super Woman; I'm lucky enough to have a life crammed with work and social commitments plus the odd event sprinkled in to keep me motivated to stay active. I've found that when I sign up to events months in advance I even end up forgetting to train as it always seem so far away!

With a question like, "how do I juggle a busy life with a training plan?!" I do what I always do when I need inspiration - turn to my friends on social media!

Here is what they shared with me:

Find a plan that works for you
The longer you have, the less intense your training needs to be. You'll have more time to build up your base fitness before focusing on more specific training (which will feel a lot easier once you're more physically prepared!). You can usually find suggested training plans on the event website which you can then tailor to your own specific needs and situation.

Use your training plan as a guide
At the start of each week, take a look at your training plan to see what sessions are suggested for the week.; "that way you know what you're doing when the day comes and this could make it a little easier to commit to" says @vik_c on Twitter. Then put all your sessions for the week into your diary like you would a meeting or appointment.

Image Credit: Lolography

Make the most of your day
The one suggestion that we never want to hear, is to start your day earlier! It could be just 30 minutes earlier - short, high intensity sessions can be just as effective as longer ones. Maybe get out the door to run 5km with intervals before breakfast?! My friend Megan told me that it's also kinda in your mindset too; "My wake-up time isn't 'usually 7:15 but 6:15 because I've got to cycle'... I say '...it's 6:15 because I've got to do stuff and better myself before work each day'".

Then Gareth on twitter (@beoutrunning) blew all our excuses out the window with this quote he had come across -You can always make time at the start of the day but there is never more time at the end of a day".

Be flexible
Georgina of @fitcetera reminds us that "if your plan says do a 6 mile run try doing two x 3 miles (one in the morning, one in the evening) or however you can fit it in"! Run commuting (running to / from work), running to meetings, or home from events ...or to go and pick things up on your days off were all suggested by Julie (@fattymustrun).

The biggest takeaway from being flexible though is not to panic if you miss the odd session, or have to cut one short - the occasional missed session won't make that much of a difference to your progress. Just make sure you prioritise the important sessions.

It also wouldn't go a miss to have a contingency plan in place too. Ever booked in for a class and then it gets cancelled?! Or your meeting overruns and you can't make run club?!

Your training time can be productive
When I'm out running on my own, and particularly for long runs, I love listening to podcasts or audiobooks. @speedybecsruns says that "you may even find you're more productive in the afternoon as it gives you the chance to refresh and refocus your priorities as you work out". Bethan (A Pretty Place To Play) added that "The other thing to remember is that exercise is particularly good for you in busy times, it gives your head space to rest and lifts that foggy cloud we all get when we're super busy"


Do you have any other tips to share with us?! 

Elle :) 


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26.8.16

Like The Wind Magazine




The perfect amalgamation of creativity and physicality.

Because, who defines what form art takes?!

Maybe running is an art and I just didn't know?!

Every story comes with a paired illustration.

A magazine by runners for runners, and all contributors being runners.

Issue 8 focused on "why you run" - a thought provoking question for me.

I don't know why I started running; I think it's because I knew it was a good form of exercise. I'd run all through my school years but my speciality was sprinting.

I was good at running for the bus and that was about it so I think the challenge of running 5km (at first) teased me. I wanted something to push me out of my comfort zone.

Then I upped the distance, 10km followed by an unexpected half marathon. More half marathons but that's as far as I'm willing to do now.

I've only twice found the commitment needed to feel the joy of running but it still resulted in me wanting the joy of achievement (the first time to PB 10km and the second time to PB half marathon). But I felt joy; I enjoyed getting out for a run, running felt comfortable, running made me smile even when it hurt.

So it's tough when I know how good that feels and then I run a race underprepared.

Me and running are on a little break right now it seems. Until we make up again.

I'd love to share Like The Wind Magazine with you, for the opportunity to experience everything that's gone into this independently published collection of words.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Elle :)

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Photo's by Lolography

24.8.16

#TrainYourStyle with XINX Activewear

Photo Credit: Lolography

A few months ago, I was gifted a few pieces from the then current range of XINX, pronounced “ZINKS”, activewear so this post has been a long time coming! In that time, the pieces have been worn to death so that's one excuse for not getting around to writing up my thoughts! 

In all that time XINX even had a pop up shop in West London (which I did make it along to briefly), have held some awesome workouts and events and have recently launched a new range along with an awesome campaign with photos to match! 
"Personal Trainer, Nick Jelley, created XINX for women and men who train by their own rules. As a fitness professional for over 15yrs, Nick has competed in many fitness competitions, triathlons and runs his own gym in Leicestershire. Nick developed his first collection of active wear in 2014 for his personal friends and clients at the gym, and from there his passion for creating performance wear has grown to what we see today."
"To create an activewear brand which extends beyond the mat. All our products are created using the highest quality performance fabrics to ensure maximum comfort against your skin when working out and getting sweaty. The design of each garment allows our collection to be worn out and about, running errands or having coffee with friends; we strive to create effortless style to fit into your day."
The stand out (and functional) piece in my collection for me has to be the leggings. I love a full tight and these are no exception. I've worn them to run in multiple times, teach in, do Pilates in, cycle in and just hang out in (these activities actually sum up my life as a whole, so I've pretty much done everything in them!). 
"We believe that by creating a strong body, it leads to maintaining a healthy mind for the future. The release of endorphins into your body is an unparalleled feeling, whether you complete your first headstand in yoga, or lift that final rep of weights, the lighter feeling in your body stays with you all day. You eat better, you sleep soundly and you play harder. Staying fit is a lifestyle choice, and it’s a way of life available to us all."

Although they do have a snakeskin print, it's pretty discreet in a world of loud print leggings but still fancy enough to make you feel 'dressed up' in your athleisure. I love the branding in neon yellow located just over the ankle on one leg. My only feedback for these tights would be to improve the drawstring on the waist; the currently use the old school method we once found in baggy jogging bottoms which should they escape through the hole may never be recovered again (or at least not without effort). It also doesn't make for a great silhouette if you wear a tight top and could possibly be a little uncomfortable depending on what activity you get up to. 




The matching tank top in black with snakeskin side panels compliments the leggings perfectly. The fit of the tank isn't tight, it's more body skimming and sits just above your hips (not a length I'm a huge fan of); I'm used to tight, stretchy tops which can be pulled down over my butt or pulled up higher (and stay there) should I desire but I think it's a flattering length. 

Another favourite of mine is the neon Logo Sports Bra (£40). You literally cannot miss this when scrolling down your Instagram feed of a morning. It comes with removable cups and a contrast pink band branded with the XINX text. We're all for sports bras that look good enough to wear on their own so this one matches the criteria of you like them bright. I'd class the bra as a medium support (compression style) bra which is great for most activities if you're below a B cup. 

Their newest collection features a mix of print (with a caribbean twist), grey and blue maintaining the flashes of neon you can see in the items I featured in this post. Go check out their range and let me know your thoughts! 

What fit kit are you loving right now?! 

Elle :)

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22.8.16

Getting Active in London with a PlanetPass Walking Tour

Perusing Instagram one morning (as you do!) I read someones post about how now it's summer she's spending less time in the gym and more time enjoying the outdoors and this really got me thinking?! How could I stay active without sweating buckets every day indoors, at classes or the gym?! So it was a timely opportunity to be able to review a walking tour in London with PlanetPass.

It really was as simple as downloading the PlanetPass app and having a scroll through the options before I settled on the Street Art Essentials Tour. With plenty of days and times to choose from, I opted for a late Thursday afternoon after a photography workshop I was attending in the morning. The booking and payment process were clear and easy (I did have to leave the app for a while whilst it confirmed a guide for us) but was notified as soon as that was completed.

Our meeting point on the day was in Liverpool Street station where we met our Guide, Fabrizio, carrying the PlanetPass tote bag to identify himself ready to set off on our adventure.


For two and a half hours, we meandered through the streets of East London, taking in works by the likes of Banksy, ROA, Shock, Otto Schade and many more. There was so much to take in and Fabrizio was so knowledgable; even as seasoned Londoners there was plenty to keep us interested. As my friends over at Hey! Dip Your Toes In said, "taking a guided tour of your own city is like taking the back seat in your own car and letting someone else drive".

I don't want to give too much away about all the art that we saw but I thought I would share a few of my favourite images with you here in this post:




If you do want to see some more of what I saw along with other street art from around the world, check out my travel IG account - Elle_About_Town over the month of August.


Considering I did minimal walking before the tour, and not much more after I racked up 17,483 steps on tour day (the recommended goal is 10,000 steps per day) so it certainly was the perfect alternative to the gym! We were famished by the end so retraced a few of our steps back to Brick Lane to treat ourselves to a curry.

You can book the tour for just yourself, or take along up to five friends (there were 4 of us, and the puppy) which would help you to spread the cost and make it a little more affordable. The Street Art Essentials tour costs £109 which includes your personal tour guide.

The PlanetPass app is currently only available on IOS so can be downloaded from the App Store. They've only recently launched in London but are planning to extend their walking tours to other cities in the near future.

Have you ever taken a tour of London?! What's your favourite thing about London or the one must do thing you have on your list?! 

Elle :) 

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All of my photos are taken on the Olympus PEN EPL7* purchased from John Lewis and the 45mm lens purchased from Currys*. Some links are affiliate links which means I will receive a small payment should you purchase, however, it doesn't affect the cost you pay.

p.s I received a complementary walking tour from PlanetPass, but you know me, all opinions and views expressed are all mine ;) 

17.8.16

There’s Always a First Time – A Fun Night at ZIMA

There’s always a first time for everything; whether it’s your first pair of trainers, your first smartphone, the first time you saw the Grand Canyon or even your first kiss. The one common factor between all those first time events is the fact that they are mostly unforgettable. 

Photo Credit: HDYTI

There was an opportunity to notch up another ‘first time’ on my CV recently when I visited the brand new ZIMA Russian Street Food & Bar on 45 Frith Street, Soho, co-founded by chef, food magazine editor and serial entrepreneur, Alexei Zimin. ZIMA’s location itself is iconic, being situated next to the popular Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in Soho. Everyone knows that Soho is one of the coolest places in London to hang out! 

I was in the company of food bloggers Hey! Dip Your Toes In, the couple behind UKBA 2016 award winning blog and Ronke Lawal of Who’s For Dinner to sample Russian cuisine in the heart of London. The event was part of a social media campaign promoting the power of food as a catalyst for cultural awareness and an appreciation for London’s rich cultural diversity. 

The food concept behind ZIMA is Russian street food; food that is accessible, easy to prepare and great for sharing. The perfect way to celebrate after an intense gym session some may say. Never having before tried any notable Russian cuisine in the past, I was unsure of what to expect. 



For starters, we were presented with a colourful array of home-infused vodkas. The infusions featured interesting ingredients including horseradish, fennel and tarragon, cranberry, bilberry and basil. If there is such a thing as ‘healthy vodkas’, then we had found the perfect place for them! The first few shots of vodka certainly made an impression, dispelling any notions I may have had of Russian food being boring. 


To accompany the vodkas, we sampled tapas-style plates of venison, beef and herring tartar, infused pickles and a modern twist on the classic borsch soup. Our main courses were also presented in tapas style and included short-rib beef stroganoff and potatoes. There was also slow-cooked lamb tongue and buckwheat with an oyster, mushroom, horseradish, garlic tomato sauce, salmon and corn-fed poussin (chicken) plates. Side dishes included potatoes, fenugreek cabbage, cucumber and radish salad. 

We rounded off what turned out to be a fun and memorable evening with some traditional Russian pancakes, a round of teas and a quick chat with chef Alexei. Street food is a great way to be introduced to new cuisine, usually in a fun and engaging way. From all indications, ZIMA does this well and in doing so, underscores London’s reputation as a great city for cultural diversity. 

First times are always memorable. Even better is when a ‘first time’ becomes a ‘next time’. 

Elle :) 

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p.s To book a table at ZIMA, 45 Frith St London W1D 4SD, call 020 7494 9111. Walk-ins are also accepted

15.8.16

August


My Goalify challenge last month kinda got me into the swing of things. So much so, that somehow, I've ended up challenging myself to get up to so much more in August. I thought I'd do a quick post to share what I'm up to this month:

1. I've started my next Whole30. It's been well over a year since my last one and I think I'm ready for the challenge again! The sugar dragon has creeped back into my life and sometimes it's just ridiculous! I never got around to trying any recipes from Thug Kitchen so maybe that'll be a goal this time round!

I've also coincided this with taking on a fizzy drinks swap challenge with Ugly Drinks; I had been back on diet coke for a while after I got sent a free case with my food shopping one week. The Ugly drinks are perfect for Whole30 as all they are is carbonated water and natural fruit flavours. They contain no nasties, no sugar, no calories... yup.

2. Long Ride Sundays. I need to go for a long ride each and every Sunday until I complete L'Etape on  Sunday 27th September 2016. I have about 5 or 6 weeks to go so it's my only opportunity to build up my endurance. I'll be going to the Olympic Road track in Stratford unless I happen to have friends / organised ride to attend starting with 20 miles.


3. Training Goals. The plan is to do my Sunday Long ride, an upper body session, a spin class session, one run (speed work) and maybe a yoga / stretch class per week. I'm not sure if it's too ambitious or not, but the best I can do is try.

4. Strengthen my core with Slendertone. I picked up a Slendertone Connect Abs at the most recent HBCxMeet event and have already started the Essential Toning programme which consists of a 25 minute session, 5 times per week for 6 weeks. Keep an eye out for my full review once I've completed the programme!


5. Body Confidence, Boobs and Bra's. I've been to a few events this year all about sports bras and getting the right support. This month, I took delivery of a Bra Box from Moving Comfort by Brooks which contains three different bras all suited to the activities I've mentioned I will be getting up to. I wanna show off all these sports bras and the ones I already own, so I'm making an attempt to care less about what other people think and work out in my sports bra if / when I want to!


You can follow my goals day to day over on Instagram - let's follow each other so I can see what you're up to in August too! 


Elle :) 

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9.8.16

The Wellbeing Power Hour With Liz Earle x BRITA

A couple weeks ago, I put my lunch break to good use as a wellbeing power hour. Sixty minutes was all it took to be inspired, learn and go away feeling empowered with a notebook full of ideas. This particular event was hosted by BRITA and their ambassador Liz Earle.


Fifteen Minutes With Liz Earle
I started my hour with Liz herself and we chatted about everything from the usage of throwaway plastic bottles in the UK, her living on a farm, how I came to be using Liz Earle products (I'm a convert to Cleanse & Polish) and our skincare routines!

Liz's Top Three Tips For Skincare

1. Cleanse & Polish - well, I kinda knew (and hoped) she would say this, as I am a huge fan of the C&P kit. I first tried if after picking up a sample at Bestival in 2015 and have been a fan ever since. Liz recommended not using gel, foaming or soaps to cleanse your face, but to use a creamy based product as to not upset the pH balance of your skin.


2. Cleanse, Tone, Moisturise - I used to be really, really good at this when I was growing up. These days, I just C&P and then moisturise. I guess the extra steps help to remove any dirt residue and allow your skin to breathe.

3. Supplement With Evening Primrose Oil - again, something else I used to do when I was growing up. Liz said to ensure you buy the best quality as you really get what you pay for; you want a supplement which contains the GLA to help boost the skin. Liz also recommend Bone Broth for collagen.

"Beauty is a two way street; what we put in and what we put on" Liz Earle

Other Top Tips For Boosting Wellbeing
I was lucky enough to also get to chat to chat to Abigail James, who is a 'facialist'. It was a great opportunity to ask her all my skincare questions and chat about things that affect your skin such as the London air, the air in the underground, hydration of course and sunshine. Here's some of what I took away from my chat with Abigail:

1. Start your day with a glass of lemon and cayenne water

2. Use alcohol free toners

3. Skin absorbs products better when it's hydrated

4. In an ideal world you should workout without wearing make up; in the real world, you could wear just eye make up and lipstick and cleanse your face after your session.

5. Deep clean your face twice per week to remove any build up of oily / creamy products

6. SPF isn't always necessary; it's recommended that we get 20 minutes of sunshine each day to aid with vitamin D levels. The darker your skin tone, the more exposure you need to reach the required levels of vitamin D production.


Top Tips For Mindfulness
Last but not least, I got to spend some time chatting to Nina Samuel-Campbell who is a Mindfulness Expert. We chatted lots about meditation - it's something that I've only recently explored but Nina made me realise how we can actually over complicate meditation. She shared with me three simple tips to help you 'be in the moment':

1. Focus on your breath

2. Be present

3. Try studying your hands to get into the moment


One conversation that got me thinking was with Abigail about our ancestral diets and how it affects our bodies. I myself was born in Barbados and the majority of my family heritage is from the Caribbean. In the Caribbean, we eat a lot of carbs... for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Living in London, and following the 'trends' has meant I've tried to follow a high protein, high fat diet when this may in fact not be the best way to fuel my body. It was timely, as I then got in touch with Fitness Genes and am currently awaiting my results to find out all about my DNA and how this affects me in a fitness sense! So stay tuned for those results!

How do you stay mindful on a day to day basis?! How do you look after your skin??


Elle :) 

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4.8.16

Elle About Town: Lunching in London

Sometimes, a brand just comes up with THE best marketing campaign and you shouldn't fight it. Right now, its Uber Eats in London. Since the original "taxi" service launched, Uber have been in the headlines non stop and now they're looking to take over the food delivery market in London.

I downloaded the app last week, and since then have used it four times. The first time, I ordered from Vita Mojo (who I wrote about here), then I got the chance to finally try out GymBites (who are a fellow Princes Trust supported business):



Then, my friend and I used the app to have Snog Frozen Yoghurt delivered to us on a sunny day after a killer workout while we chatted in Starbucks. Yeah, I did. So you don't necessarily need to be in your office to have food delivered - you could be chilling in the park, or at the gym!

On my fourth use of Uber Eats so far, I got lunch delivered from Leon Restaurants. Each time it's been super simple, quick and such a good deal I don't see why EVERYONE wouldn't try it once, because:

When you download the app, you can get £10 of free food if you use my code: eats-daniellel1928ue - (add it in the promotions tab before you order). When you order, I also receive £10 of credit, but then you get your own code to share with friends and earn free food too! It's a win win situation and there is no obligation to use the app again!

I'm now keen to try the chicken and waffles from Absurd Bird, Pizza from Sodo Pizza Hoxton, bubble tea from Bubbleology, WeGrill and Crosstown donuts ...just to name a few! So y'all need to get your free food, so I can get some more and keep this going!

So, let me know what you choose for lunch?! 


Elle :) 

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p.s incase you're wondering this post isn't in anyway associated with Uber Eats, I simply just love the campaign, y'know, the value of word of mouth so am sharing it with you!
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