SETTING UP YOUR BLOG

If you are thinking about starting a blog, this post is for you.

When I first started my blog, it was to act as a diary for my marathon training. I had no clue about design templates, writing, or any of that techy stuff! It’s all stuff I’ve picked up along the way.

Good news though: the tech side of blogging is easier than you think – here are a five steps I wish I’d known sooner!

1. Set Up

There are so many sites you can start your blog on nowadays – but I’ve only ever used WordPress.

When I first started blogging I used WordPress.com and I am now on WordPress.org – the difference? The .org version gives you more control – so I found the .com version easier to start with! Plus, switching is easy.

I started with the free version – so my URL was livelyel.wordpress.com – but you can buy your domain name per year (I think it’s about £15) to get rid of the .wordpress part.

2. Theme

Finding the right theme is key to show off all your great content that will undoubtably come (I believe in you!. And I also think it’s the most fun part of creating your blog – what it looks like!

WordPress.com has a lot of great (free) options that are easy to implement and customise, and with WordPress.org you can use themes from other designers (I use pipdig who install it for you and have a live chat to talk you through anything you need to do)

3. Design

Once your theme is in place, it’s time to make it your own – here’s where you get to customise your blog in terms of your homepage, font colour, hyperlink colour and even your site design. Do you want people to click through to your homepage or do you want to display your recent posts? Think about the structure of your menus – a good place to start is with your About Page and Contact Page.

Do you have a logo? If not, have a think about what you might want. Then upload it as your header and thumbnail.

4. Plugins

Another fun bit – think of them as little extras! Do you want your Twitter feed to be viewable on the side of every page? Do you want links to your social pages at the top or at the bottom of your home page? Will you include a contact form so people can email you easily? Have a play around with the customise – widget tab and see what works for you!

5. Content

So this is probably something you’ve had in mind before you even started step 1. What are you going to talk about? Running, recipes, fashion, interiors? How often are you going to blog (I would recommend starting with once a week and building up if you can!)

Remember, this can change over time! I started off purely with running content but now do anything from homeware to fitness trackers – go with what your heart desires, write about whatever inspires you!


Ask me any questions you have in the comment box below or drop me an email using the contact form on the right hand side of this page (at the bottom of the page if you’re on mobile!)

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TRY THIS: VEGGIE SAUSAGE CASSEROLE

Looking to cut down on your meat consumption but don’t know where to start? Get ready for a delicious, warming, meat-free and cheap meal that can be made with products you’ve likely got in your cupboards!

Serves: 4

  • Olive oil
  • 2 large onions
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1 x 400g can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 x 400g can of red kidney beans
  • 1 x 400g can of chickpeas
  • 1 pack Linda McCartney / Quorn sausages
  • Salt and pepper

Peel and roughly chop the onions and the garlic, put them in a saucepan with the olive oil and fry until they are soft. While this is happening, cook the sausages in the oven as per the instructions on the pack. Once the sausages are cooked, cut into quarters and pop in the saucepan with the onions and garlic.

Add the cans to the saucepan and then bring to a simmer. Season with salt and black pepper, I used chilli salt and chipotle paste as it gives it a little something extra (and I’m obsessed with chipotle at the moment!)

Partially cover with a lid and leave to cook for 30 minutes or so. Serve on its own or with some wilted spinach / steamed cabbage.

TIP: if you have a slow cooker, this is a brilliant one to prep in the morning and leave to cook all day on low (I would also add 100-200ml of water to stop it drying out and leave you with a lovely thick casserole!)

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MY 2018 RESOLUTIONS

I find that talking about New Years Resolutions can be quite touchy – but I find that resolutions to be a great way of motivating myself.

I thought I would share with you some of my new years resolutions for 2018 (to be completely honest I’ve not really thought about them, I’ve literally just sat down to type them out!)

They’re quite broad (as I said – I’ve not really thought of them) so they will be refined / shaped at some point, but here is my starting point:

Get Fit

In 2017 I ran 2 marathons. And neither went to plan. Although I’d ‘trained’ for both, I’ve been lazy with my fitness, kidding myself into thinking that I’m doing more than I am and ‘treating myself’ too often (usually days at a time!)

Next year, I want to get back to as fit as I was before I started a full time office job (or attempt to at least)! I’m back on Kayla’s BBG workout plan and I’m determined to feel fit and confident again!

Going Vegan

Calm down – I’m not going completely vegan, I just want to try it at some point! Either for a two week block, or a day a week. Even though I’m almost exclusively pescatarian (no meat, just fish) at the moment, I do want to continue cutting down my meat / fish consumption. I think it would help me be more creative with my meals, but also I know it’s good for the planet – which is important to me. I will still eat meat occasionally (about once a month or if I go to someone’s house and they’ve cooked me meat I won’t refuse it!)

Digital Detox

I’m going to set myself the goal to stop scrolling first thing in the morning (my phone is usually the first thing I look at in the morning and the last thing I look at at night). In 2018 I will also be challenging myself to really make an effort to put my phone away when I’m with people! Hopefully I’ll sleep better, become more connected on a personal level with those I love, and generally more switched on to what’s going on around me (pun intended).

More Pictures

In a slight contrast to the above, I want to make sure I take more pictures next year – I want to be able to look back on what happened / where I was / who I was with. Both Dom and I have cameras and iPhones, so really this shouldn’t be a problem – but I have this thing where I just enjoy what’s going on (which I love) – but then I can’t look back / share it!

Planet Friendly

As everyone who knows me knows, I am obsessed with David Attenborough (as most people are!) so I fell in love with Blue Planet 2. But it also broke my heart. The damage we are causing to the environment is ridiculous. I studied a bit about environmental impact of humans during my degrees, but I’ve always turned the other way when it comes to my own / my work’s practice! in 2018 I will be eating a more plant based diet, reducing my plastic consumption and making conscious decisions. I also want to expand this consciousness to cleaning products and beauty products! Any tips, please drop them below! I am also going to ensure that I try new recipes using local and seasonal ingredients.

Family Time

Living away from home has really opened my eyes to just how much I love and value my parents. They are hilarious, brilliant, kind and have done so much for me. I always make them my priority when I come home – which usually means missing out on social occasions, but it’s worth it! I want to continue doing this in 2018 – aiming to see them once a month, and calling / FaceTiming them a couple of times a week!

Do More

This year, I feel like weekends have been a blur – they’ve whizzed past with all the marathon training I tried to do!

This year, I’m not doing a marathon, for the first time since 2013 – and I’m going to make the most of my weekends, visiting friends / family, exploring London with Dom and trying out new restaurants. Essentially I want to spend more time with those I love.


Hopefully these resolutions have inspired you to make some changes in the upcoming year!

Elin x

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WINTER WEIGHTLOSS

Okay so I’ll kick this off with a little straight up fact – there is no magic cure for weightloss. It’s down to consistency with diet and exercise. That said, if your goal is to lose weight, then I think firstly you need to think about why you want to lose weight – is it for health reasons? So you can run faster? For aesthetic reasons? Any of these are completely fine. What you want to do with your body is up to you – just make sure you’re doing it for you.

Okay – to the fun bit: tips for weightloss over Christmas…

1. Target your glutes by squeezing them nice and tight every time you bend down to pick up a decoration for the tree

2. Then reach up high on your toes to hang said decoration on the tree (keeping your core tight as you go)

3. Work those biceps by curling quality street chocolates to your mouth from the tin – 15 on each arm should be plenty

4. Get an ab workout in by taking it in turns to tell bad Christmas cracker jokes and rolling around laughing

5. Up your cardio by dancing around to Christmas songs

6. Target your shoulders by doing lateral raises with prosecco – make sure you bring the glass right up to horizontal before you bring it close to take a sip!

7. Get that heart rate up by taking a nice brisk walk (preferably finishing at the pub)

8. Finally, work your chest by throwing Christmas presents to recipients (gently)

In all seriousness, if you do want to exercise (I find it helps clear my head and it makes me feel great at all times of the year) then please do go ahead. Just don’t exercise because you feel guilty about how much you’ve eaten / how little you’ve exercised. Take this time to enjoy yourself and be with family.

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PAIR IT UP

Okay so I’m prepared to face the facts here – what I’m about to share may not be groundbreaking… a lot of people already (probably) do this. But this is a new style of workout I’ve stumbled across and I find it very exciting!

When I go to classes, I leave absolutely exhausted, but I find it quite hard to push myself when I exercise on my own. I’m not a personal trainer so I’m not trained in creating and developing workout plans and schedules, so I usually just go with what I feel like on the day, or I’ll throw a BBG / FBG workout in the mix if I want to follow a structure.

However, this style of workout really works for me – I can give it my all and it gives me little time to think so I just get on with it!

What to do:

Do a quick all body warm up first (5 minutes)

Pick two exercises that target the same body area – alternate the exercises for 30 seconds each for 3 rounds

Blast your music out and just go for as long as you want!

 

Here is an example of some exercises I may do:

Legs

  • Squat jumps
  • Lunges
  • High knees
  • Star jumps

Glutes

  • Donkey kicks
  • Glute bridges
  • Squat pulses

Abs

  • Mountain Climbers
  • Sit Ups
  • Reverse crunches
  • Ab bikes

Arms

  • Shoulder press
  • Shoulder taps
  • Bicep curls
  • Lateral raises

The best part? I can do it anywhere, anytime! Give it and go and let me know how you get on!

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