Steal Her Workout Style: Elle

 

 

 

Steal Her Workout Style Elle Linton Keepitsimpelle

 

Welcome to the second edition of Steal Her Workout Style, a series of interviews with amazing women who have their own unique sense of fit-style and put their fashion choices through their paces by wearing them during real-life workouts (complete with real-life sweat!).

My subject for this month is the lovely Elle Linton, a Personal Trainer, Sport Development Professional and Health & Fitness Blogger at Keep It SimpELLE  and the creator of the London Bloggers group. Inspirational is a word that gets thrown around a lot within blogging circles, but for me, Elle really is inspirational. She seems to live at a million miles a limit (I love reading about all her fitness adventures and vicariously getting my fit-thrills!) and yet she is always a bundle of positivity and is incredibly generous with her time and energy.

 

Elle Linton Keepitsimpelle

Photo Credit: Georgina Ellis at Fitcetera 2015

Describe your workout style in three words
Simple, classic, tight

What is your favourite piece of fitness apparel and why?
Has to be my footwear. I always ensure I’m wearing the right footwear for the workout whether it be running, gym, CrossFit etc. Footwear is designed to work with your feet – so for running, the shoes will support you in a forward motion only. This means if you wear your running shoes to go to Zumba you won’t be supported for the sideways movements and all the jumping. The right footwear ensures you get the most out of your workout and can perform to your maximum!

What one item/accessory has made your workout life easier?
A huge bag with compartments! My bag needs to fit everything I need for the day, from clothes to extra shoes, my lunch and snacks, my diary, laptop …then for when I go swimming or have a particularly sweaty workout, it needs to hold all that gear and protect my dry stuff! Having a bag that can fit all this makes my workout life so, so very much easier!

How does your training routine affect your fashion choices (if at all)?
I basically live in sweat wicking, fast drying clothes! I try as hard as I can to mix it up with a few normal pieces every now and again! So my training routine definitely affects my fashion choices! I need to know that the outfit I chose for that day can get me through work (either in store or in and office at a studio) through to teaching, maybe my own workout and then socialising (casually) at the end of the day! I think that’s quite a lot to ask for?! Sometimes I just have to swap / add a layer and maybe change my shoes and it works!

If you could only wear one fitness brand for the rest of your life, which would it be and why?

This is a tough question! I think I would pick either lululemon or Topshop! If I had to choose an athletic wear brand it would be lululemon based on the fact that they have an awesome ‘to & from’ range which are “normal looking” clothes made with technical fabrics. If it wasn’t a sportswear brand that I had to choose but to wear for being active it would be TopShop – they always have great simple pieces in that you can sweat in and look like you walked straight out of the trendiest studio in East London!

Where is your favourite place to shop for fitness clothing and why?
One place I think that is a hidden gem for shopping for fitness wear is NEXT. They have quite an extensive range of stuff both branded and their own label! Sometimes they even have exclusive stuff you can’t find on the high street!

Function or fashion – what drives most of your fitness clothing purchases?
FUNCTION. Every second, of every day!!!

Complete these sentences:
I splurge on …. bags and jackets!
I save on …. tops and vests!
I always have …food and snacks… in my gym bag
You will never catch me wearing …. the colour red!

Massive thanks to Elle for being such a fabulous Steal Her Workout Style interviewee. You can catch up with Elle’s adventures at www.keepitsimpelle.com or follow her on Twitter and Instagram

Shopping: Black & Gold Winter Outerwear

Black and Gold Winter Outwear

I’ve been shopping. I was hoping that I could squeeze another year’s wear out of my old winter coat and boots but they are fairly knackered when you look at them in the cold light of day. Then I optimistically wondered if I could put off the purchase until the pre-Christmas sales (or ask for a couple of things for Christmas) but last Friday I spent an hour shivering in my seasonally inappropriate mac and Converse while waiting for a delayed train collection so I bit the bullet and tried not to think about my credit card balance while shopping.

The Coat

Ted Baker Lorili Long Wrap Coat I wanted something really smart for work that was also a little bit stylish and could be worn over the top of party dresses without being too obvious looking like I only have one posh winter coat. I picked this one because the shape is very flattering to someone with boobs and a bum (I spent all my teens and most of my twenties wishing that my boobs were bigger, they went through a growth spurt in my late twenties and now I find that I wish they were smaller – some of my favourite styles, like a double-breasted military style coat or a classic trench coat, look a bit matronly on a larger bust). I love the fancy lining and the gold hardware, it comes in several other colours including a classic taupe and a gorgeous bright purple – if I had the money I would buy it in a few different colours. Sadly I don’t, so classic black it is.

(This is the most expensive winter coat that I have ever bought, but on the basis that I’m going to wear it at least 5 days a week, 5 months a year for the next 2-3 years, I think I can justify the cost-per-wear).

Ted Baker Lorili Long Wrap Coat – £299

The Boots

Steve Madden November Black Leather Ankle Boots Ordinarily, biker boots are my go-to choice of winter footwear. I’ll buy a pair every couple of years and wear them to death (5-7 days a week, 5 months a year) and then have a period of mourning when they really become unwearable and I can’t find an exact replacement. This year I have decided to invest in two pairs of winter boots – a replacement pair of biker boots (also Steve Madden and available here) and the November boots – a posh pair of leather ankle boots with a low heel to wear to work. Apart from ticking all the boxes for practical ankle boots (low heel, leather not suede for durability) I chose these because the gold zips and trim on the heels mirror the gold accents on the Ted Baker coat.

Steve Madden November Black Leather Ankle Boots – £99.99 (but reduced to £59.99 at the link above)

The Bag(s)

Gymtote Sophia Tote Bag This is a bit of a cheat as I’ve had this bag for a good few months but haven’t had the occasion to use it. I bought it specifically to use on days when I need to carry a lot of stuff with me (including my gym kit!) abut where carrying a rucksack would be a bit of a fashion faux pas – meetings with clients, conferences, checking into posh hotels.

I used it for the first time this week when attending a Social Media & The Law conference followed by two yoga classes at Good Vibes. I was really impressed with the practicality of the bag, everything I needed for yoga fit nicely in the large ‘gym’ compartment and all the stuff I’d normally carry around fit in the ‘handbag’ compartment on the top, with a bottle of water and a selection of snacks in the side pocket. I was also impressed with how nice it looked, particularly in combination with my new coat and bag (gold hard wear on the bag matching those on the coat and bag – I’m sure nobody apart from me notices this but it adds a little spring to my step). I am going to use this as my handbag on business trips as it is very spacious and a sneaky way to get extra storage in hand baggage.

If I could make any improvements to the design of this bag, I would have it remade in leather – it is made of polyurethane and the handles are really, really squeaky (I discovered this when trying to quietly get something out of my bag during one of the key note speeches). I would also add a cross-body strap, because I can happily load it up with a multitude of gym and work items until its really too heavy for me to carry on one shoulder.

GymTote Sophia Tote Bag – £135

Osprey London Leather Across Body Bag My second bag is a small, leather handbag with a cross-body strap and just enough storage space for my purse, Oyster card, iPhone, Blackberry and Kindle. It is also black with gold accents and the cross-body strap is skinny enough not to spoil the line of the coat. I bought it from TK Maxx a couple of weeks ago, they had a good range of colours then but only seem to have it in bright red and khaki online.

Osprey London Leather Across Body Bag – £39.99 Black (in-store at TK Maxx) or £29.99 Red (online at TK Maxx via link above)

Zenning Out

Zenning Out

 

I am on a bit of a yoga and relaxation kick at the moment. I used to think that I was just too fidgety and impatient to get any of the benefits of those activities that are supposed to relax you; yoga classes, meditation, even soaking in a long, hot bath – I couldn’t switch my mind off for long enough to enjoy it. I always had a sneaking suspicion that I could be better using all that time doing something more useful and productive than ‘just’ relaxing.

Gradually, the lack of time for myself crept up on me. I was getting stressed out by things that I would usually take in my stride and at the end of one long, hard week when I was feeling particularly sorry for myself, I realised that I had been overloaded and exhausted for months. I was burning out, living for my days off (which I then spent pretty much comatose because I was too exhausted to do much else) and spending a lot of time fantasising about spa days and long, lazy holidays.

It was actually while I was taking a not-very-long-but-extremely-lazy holiday that I had time to think about this properly. In the run up to the holiday I was seized by fear of missing out and spent hours on Tripadvisor researching the best activities and must-see destinations, but after spending the first couple of days doing nothing more strenuous moving between my sun lounger by the pool to my sun lounger on the beach, I realised that my normal attitude to relaxation is extremely stupid. I don’t need to wait until I’m completely knackered to have a rest, or until I’m injured to enjoy a yoga class – time spent relaxing has an intrinsic value, it’s not all about putting up with a boring activity so I can do something more energetic in the near future and it is definitely not a waste of time.

I also realised that I don’t need to spend a lot of money on a spa break or expensive treatments to relax – it is surely be much more effective to build this time into my normal routine, making relaxation a simple and sustainable habit rather than a big production every few months. With this in mind, I am consciously building time for myself into my schedule every week. I have been attending restorative yoga classes twice a week and although the first class felt more like being guided through an hour long nap than any kind of exercise, I was feeling the positive effects for days afterwards. I’m also trying really hard not to follow my normal pattern of behaviour, which would be to rush headlong into a time specific challenge with a physical goal at the end (like 30 Days To Advanced Wheel Pose! or something similar) and start feeling stressed about achieving it. Of course there is nothing wrong with having a target in mind and following a structured plan in order to reach it, but I have so much of that in other areas of my life that I want to keep my yoga practice as free and easy as possible. I’m also looking for other smaller ways to bring the chilled out holiday vibe into my daily life, perhaps doing a DIY digital detox or at least unplugging for a couple of hours every day.

What part does rest play in your work/life balance? What do you do to relax and do you find it easy to switch off?

#CookWithNeff and The Great Office Bake Off

Cook With Neff and the Great Office Bake Office

Along with a few million other people in the UK, I am obsessed with the Great British Bake Off. I love nothing more than curling up on the sofa on Wednesday nights to watch the action and tuning in again on Friday nights for An Extra Slice. There is a small but hard core Bake Off fandom at work and we get together on Thursday mornings to discuss the latest dramas over a cup of tea. I have never made a genoise sponge in my life and I didn’t know that flaounes existed until a couple of weeks ago but that doesn’t stop me critiquing the bakes every week and wishing that I had a dedicated baking work station, fancy sliding door oven and proving drawer in which to construct my own masterpieces.

So of course I said YES! when I was offered the opportunity to visit the Neff showroom in Milton Keynes and try out those famous sliding door ovens for myself. I spent the week before the event in a state of near frenzied excitement, something that was lost on my colleague when I tried to explain why I was taking a day off work. “So it’s just … an oven showroom? Well, I’ll think of you opening and closing oven doors while I’m hard at work on Friday.” However, opening and closing the oven doors was only part of the attraction. I was also hoping to pick up some insider baking knowledge to put into practice at my Office Bake Off the following month. As far as I was concerned, there was a Star Baker wooden spoon with my name on it and Neff were going to help me win it.

#CookWithNeff

Bright and early on the morning of the trip, I headed over to the rendezvous point at Marble Arch to meet up with my fellow London-based bloggers and take the coach out to Milton Keynes. We were all bright eyed and bushy tailed (or, at least in my case, heavily caffeinated) and hugely excited about “having a go with the baking show ovens” and the journey flew by in a blur of blogger chat and Bake Off predictions (as it turns out my early favourite contestant, Tamal, didn’t win but he did get to the final, so I wasn’t too far off!).

We were greeted at the Neff showroom with coffee and freshly baked cookies (seriously, they were still warm from the oven!) and then settled down to hear about our itinerary for the day (cooking and eating) and to learn about Neff’s current social media campaign – the Cookaholics – six ordinary people who love to cook, and their online community Bake It Yourself which features recipes, how-to guides, tips and cooking inspiration across Youtube, Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook.

We were given a demonstration of the ovens in Neff’s current range and talked through all their technical features. I have to admit that I wasn’t paying quite as much attention as I should have been because my fingers were itching to have a go with the slide and hide oven doors, however, we were then handed over to Lyn – Neff’s Senior Home Economist – for a hands on cooking demonstration which showcased some of the cleverer points of the Neff range.

Under Lyn’s tuition, we split into several small groups and each prepared one dish for lunch: Wild Boar & Pork Patties; Flatbreads; Smoked Salmon & Asparagus Tartlets; Goats Cheese & Caramelised Onion Tartlets; Vegetarian Tart; Grilled Vegetables and Giant Cous Cous Salad; with Chocolate Dipped Strawberries & Marshmallows for dessert and as though that wasn’t enough – scones for our afternoon tea!

Wild Boar and Pork Patties

Flatbreads

Giant CousCous Salad

Griddled Vegetables

Salmon Tartlets and Veggie Tart

Chocolate Strawberries

 

As well as being delicious, mostly healthy and very easy to cook, these dishes had the added bonus of showcasing some of the cleverer technical points of the Neff range, and I think that getting stuck in and actually using the ovens while preparing a meal was probably the best way to learn about them. In my opinion, the best features of the ovens (obviously apart from the amazing doors) are :

1. Circotherm Technology (basically, the way the air circulates around the oven). Not only does this mean that the oven needs little pre-heating, which lets face it is a bonus for a bunch of bloggers because we were far too busy taking photos of everything to bother with fiddly little things like preheating the oven, but also that there is no transference of flavours so that you can cook a variety of dishes at the same time. This was put to the test as we cooked salmon and asparagus tartlets at the same time as scones and there was absolutely no cross over of fishy taste. Another great point about Circotherm is that you can grill without needing to use a grill setting – Helen and I were in charge of making Wild Boar & Pork Patties and we ‘grilled’ these with the oven door closed which was a lot tidier (no spitting meat to deal with) and also kept the smells contained.

2. VarioSteam – (think the water tank on your iron, but for an oven) this adds moisture to optimise the baking process. If you remember the Technical Challenge in Week 6 of the Bake Off, Paul told the bakers that this is essential for baking proper baguettes – how much easier is this drawer than faffing around with trays of water?

3. Induction Hobs – these use electromagnetism to create a magnetic field between the hob and the pan, only the bottom of the pan heats up so they are more energy efficient and also safer because they won’t heat unless they have a pan on them. The hob keeps the pan at a constant temperature and this was demonstrated by melting chocolate for dipping strawberries and marshmallows directly in the pan rather than using a bain marie (check out Sophie’s blog about the event – she was in charge of the delicious desserts). However, a drawback to induction hobs is that you do need special pans to work with them, so do take this into account if you are thinking of buying one.

4.Pyrolytic cleaning (self-cleaning system for ovens). I didn’t test this feature personally because the fantastic Neff team cleaned up after us, however, I am fully in support of appliances that clean themselves. I can imagine that my mum is reading this and shaking her head in disbelief, so in the interests of full disclosure, I better admit that I have never cleaned an oven in my life – I’m perfectly happy to sacrifice in other areas to save money so that I can pay someone to do it for me. Life is too short to be scrubbing ovens!

Our day finished up with a Tear & Share Bread baking demonstration from Lyn, followed by another round of munching – this time Afternoon Tea. I rolled myself back on to the coach and spent the journey back to London dreaming about the amazing things I was going to make for my Office Bake Off a few weeks later.

The Great Office Bake Off

My office has been planning a charity bake sale for months and it turned out to be very simple to organise. Three weeks ahead of time, we sent an email out asking for volunteers to bake and gathered a list of 10 people who were willing to all make different things. We publicised the event by email every week, to get people excited about it and also to jog their memories that they would need to bring in cash on Bake Off day (and perhaps not plan a big lunch).

We set up a table in our canteen with all the cakes from 11.30 – 3.30 and asked everyone who was tasting to make a cash donation, try the bakes and vote for their favourite. We didn’t set a minimum donation amount but most people gave around £5 (although I did notice a few £20s and even a £50 when we did the cashing up – someone really likes cake!) and we ended up raising just under £400.

Office Bake Off

As it turned out, I didn’t use one of the Neff recipes for my entry into The Great Office Bake Off because I didn’t plan very well and ended up not having enough time to practice ahead of time. Instead, I used a tried and tested favourite of mine – Ancho Chilli and Chocolate Brownies. Sadly, I didn’t win the much-coveted Star Baker Wooden Spoon but I had a great time baking and tasting and am already plotting my entry for the next event!

Ancho Chilli and Dark Chocolate Brownies

Did you go to the #CookWithNeff event? Add your blog post to the link up below!


Aspire Channel Swim 2015

Aspire Channel Swim 2015

I am taking part in the Aspire Channel Swim 2015 challenge.

Earlier this year I started swimming lessons at my local leisure centre and I even took part in Swimathon back in April (although I did the team challenge and I made my husband swim most of it). I returned to lessons this week after the summer break and while I was talking about what I’d like to achieve this term, I realised that I might need something to keep me motivated to go to the pool on those dark, cold winter nights when the idea of trekking home from the leisure centre with wet hair is distinctly unappealing.

Less salt water, more swimming pool

The Aspire Channel Swim is a 12 week challenge that involves swimming 22 miles (the length of the English Channel) and you can enter individually or as a team. I’ve chosen the team option because a ‘good’ swim session for me is about 20 lengths and I calculated that I’d have to do about 120 lengths every week in order to cover the distance by myself. My husband, my mum and my aunt will be joining me on Team Turtle Power and you can keep an eye on our fundraising efforts via our JustGiving page.

Team Turtle Power Logo

Team Turtle Power logo designed by Ravna-Resta for The Workout Life

 

Although I signed up to this challenge with the hope that I’ll improve my swimming technique from ‘flailing and frantically trying not to drown’ to ‘quite competent, all things considered’, I’m also doing it to raise money for Aspire. Every eight hours someone is paralysed by Spinal Cord Injury. It can happen to anyone at any time, and there is currently no cure. Every pound that Team Turtle Power raise means that Aspire can provide practical help to a spinal injured person, allowing them to live a more independent life, every single donation can help make a difference. You can find out more about Aspire from their website and if you fancy taking on the Channel Swim challenge you can read all the details here.

Steal Her Workout Style : Becca

Becca FromSnickersToMarathon Steal Her Workout Style

Steal Her Workout Style is a brand new series of interviews with amazing women who have their own unique sense of fit-style and put their fashion choices through their paces by wearing them during real-life workouts (complete with real-life sweat!).

I get a lot of inspiration from my fellow bloggers. Whether I’m looking for a delicious brunch recipe, a new workout plan, help deciding which race I’d like to enter next and especially when it comes to purchasing a new pair of leggings, there is a small circle of great bloggers whose opinion I trust far more than any advert on the tube or magazine article. My first interviewee is Becca, who blogs at From Snickers To Marathon, and as well as having an awesome sense of fit-fashion (I think of her as the Queen of Cool Leggings) she is at the very top of my list of trusted bloggers.

Becca describes herself as a former couch potato turned marathon runner and general fitness enthusiast, she’s run two marathons, completed a Tough Mudder and most recently smashed her first weight lifting competition. I love From Snickers To Marathon because it is totally honest and genuinely inspirational, if you want to see what hard work and dedication can achieve then forget about Instagram and take a look at her blog – but first, keep reading to find out how to get her workout style.

Becca Fromsnickerstomarathon

 

Becca wears Sweaty Betty Mermaid Capris and Athlete Vest during the 2014 London Marathon

Describe your workout style in three words
All about leggings!

I love a pair of bright statement leggings and over the last couple of years have built up quite a collection. So much so that I have a little corner of my blog dedicated to sharing the legging love!

What is your favourite piece of fitness apparel and why?

I can’t choose between my many pairs of leggings so I’m going to say the piece that I most regularly wear with them – the Sweaty Betty Athlete Vest.

I love the fit, it’s cut long so it covers up my ‘problem area’ and I don’t have to worry about it riding up. It comes in a multitude of colours and patterns; I’ve got it in at least 10 different colours. It’s also great for layering, washes well and is durable- I’ve had some of mine for years!

What one item/accessory has made your workout life easier?

The ring cozy. I do a lot of lifting and this little piece of material slips over the top of my rings to protect them. I wouldn’t want to take my engagement and wedding rings off for fear of losing them and this keeps them safe from getting scratched or covered in chalk. Unfortunately it doesn’t stop the callouses but it does help the pinching you can sometimes get. Mine were from the US but definitely worth the shipping costs.

Ring Cozy

How does your training routine affect your fashion choices (if at all)?

Quite a lot. If I’m running my leggings need drawstrings and preferably a pocket. If I’m lifting then I’m more concerned about coverage and not showing off things I don’t want to. If I’m flipping tires or carrying things on my back then I don’t want to be wearing my most expensive leggings or a delicate top in case they get damaged. So I definitely make different kit choices to suit what training I’m doing.

Becca fromsnickerstomarathon Leggings with coverage for lifting

 

Leggings with extra coverage for lifting

If you could only wear one fitness brand for the rest of your life, which would it be and why?

This is a difficult choice as there are loads of great brands but it probably has to be Sweaty Betty because of the range of clothing and accessories they offer. I’d wait for the sales though, much better value that way.

Where is your favourite place to shop for fitness clothing and why?

Again there’s a few contenders here but overall I’d say the Active in Style website. They stock some of my favourite British brands such as Lexie but they’ve also introduced me to some new brands which are now favourites like Dharma Bums – an Australian brand that make amazing patterned leggings.

Function or fashion – what drives most of your fitness clothing purchases?

A combination. If clothes look great but are annoying to workout in then I won’t wear them and it’s a waste of money. Equally I can’t remember the last time I brought a black pair of leggings regardless of how functional they may have been!

Lastly, complete these sentences:

I splurge on … leggings and occasionally jackets/hoodies that I’ll get a lot of wear out of.

I save on socks. They’re just a layer of material to stop your feet from making your trainers smell disgusting. I see no reason to spend £15 on technical socks when a £2 pair will do the same job.

I always have lots of hair bands in my gym bag. I seem to misplace them really easily and there’s nothing more annoying than having one snap and not having a spare one handy!

You will never catch me wearing …  A runsie. They might look good on the tiny ultras but for size 12 me with my slightly wobbly belly? I don’t think I need to say any more!

Huge thanks to Becca for being the very first Steal Her Workout Style interviewee! You can catch up with Becca’s latest adventures at www.fromsnickerstomarathon.com or via FacebookTwitter and Instagram