Entering Week 11 of 'Hitting the Gym'

the gym week 11

Today launches week 11 of my fitness regime. I've had a small hiccup....my gym has launched a new timetable table. 

This means I won't be able to maintain my current routine and that has definitely panicked me somewhat. It means this week I'll be trying some new classes, and I won't be able to attend my favourite three times a week as normal. But I'm just trying to go with it. May be good to mix it up.

I'm also suffering with my joints, in my knees and wrists. I've spoken to all of my instructors and an osteopath, and will now be foam rolling and taking supplements. I'm hoping for an improvement in a few weeks.

Why do some bloggers get all of the campaigns?

I've been thinking about writing this for a few months, but yesterday I saw the lovely Rhianna of Robowecop tweet this:

This gave me the nudge to finally sit down and write!

I've been a blogger for what feels like a million years, and I've worked with many brands, including TK Maxx, Specsavers, Dorothy Perkins, Veet, Dolce Gusto, Freya etc. I've received items for review, items that I've been paid to feature, I've been to blogger events (both paid and unpaid), and I've watched the influencer market grow and flourish. I've had collaborations arranged privately and through an agency.

I am now perched right in the middle, with a toe in the outreach market, so I now chose influencers for brands to work with, and arrange collaborations from the other side. 

There isn't a single method that outreach managers use to identify influencers to reach out to, but I'd like to imagine my method isn't wildly out of the park from how some others do it. So here I am, about to share how I select influencers to work with. Hope it helps!

1. It's who you know. I start with who I know first. The fit still has to be right, but of course it makes for a smoother journey if you're not complete strangers. I love having opportunities to support people I've known along the way, but if I don't know anyone suitable (or no one I know feels the project is right), I'll have to expand my search.

2. I may use google, twitter, instagram or personal recommendations to broaden my search.  I may use data bases if the client has paid for access to them, however I tend to prefer a more organic approach. Clear bios are great, as are easy to find email addresses. I'm also surprised at how many people don't easily link to all of their social channels.

3. The judgement call. Each collaboration may have different desirable outcomes for the brand/client:

  • SEO goals - for this sort of campaign I may look at DA scores (Domain Authority) as well as just judging the general quality of the blog itself.
  • Sales goals - here social stats come more into play, as well as who your audience actually is. For example people who are 'compers' on twitter may have a larger twitter following, but just other compers. I'd be looking for genuine audiences who engage well. I may look at the audience on each platform, or stats like bloglovin etc.
  • Content goals - quality of content matters too. I may want some beautifully written reviews to promote, or some lovely photos the client can share. For this, hard stats don't matter at all really.
  • Growth goals - if a client just wants social growth, then we're back to looking at numbers again. This is particularly valid on instagram as money doesn't even help with growth (I'd never work with a brand buying fake followers), and growth needs to come organically. 

So it's really true that sometimes it's about stats, but it certainly isn't always. And a focus on stats doesn't mean just people with 150k. Smaller campaigns with smaller budgets are sometimes a great fit for those with smaller reaches too. Not every campaign can afford (or needs) influencers managed by agencies).

Week 9 - still smashing it at the gym

I've now completed week 9 of my new gym routine (4 classes a week) so figured I'd keep up with my weekly check-ins.

I had a lovely chat with my favourite instructor, and was amazed to find out she is a teacher full time, and teaches fitness in the evenings. That's someone with a lot of dedication! She also said she had noticed my lunges were improving. My lunges are my weakest element BY FAR, and progress is tiny but definite.

I'm struggling with my body image still, I still don't fit into a lot of my clothes, and have been looking back at photos where my body was much more where I enjoy it being. But I'm being strict with myself, and just getting on with it. I'm focusing on my strength, and my progress. I do feel progress, and I try and celebrate the small wins. I just need to trust the progress, and keep turning up. My body will catch up. 9 weeks isn't really that much anyhow.

I know that the scientific proof of weight gain on birth control is pretty hazy (weight gain is usually relationship related, rather than hormonal it seems) but I am currently on a double dose of birth control and I feel it is impacting my womanly weight in a small way - boobs and belly. But it doesn't matter, I'll just keep showing up for class and see where I get!

My favourite pasta-alternative (and my new favourite take away)

explore cuisine pasta review

I've finally discovered my favourite faux pasta! I've tried lentil based pasta but hated the texture, and I'm a regular fan of courgetti and squashetti. However, I've always felt the vegetable versions mean my meal lacks substance somehow.

This is from Explore Cuisine, and is 100% bean, which means its a protein, which is fabulous! It holds a springy texture, much more like a pasta, and doesn't become mushy. It's a new staple.

In other news, B often complains that I'm hard to order take away for, and we do order quite a lot of take aways. So we were pleased discover this little gem near me:

farmer js review

Farmer J proves that take away doesn't need to mean making sacrifices in the food you want to eat. It was delicious and cheap. Get in.

End of week 8 - a massive non scale victory

body pump week 9

Today marked the start of week 9, and I'm just checking in with how I'm doing. I don't weigh or measure myself, and my body hasn't visibly changed yet, so these check ins are crucial for motivation.

My major non-scale victory was shocking myself and B with the very best push-up I've ever managed. I've never been able to do one, and I've fiercely wanted to. Due to my back issues my core strength is pretty limited, and I've just never seemed able to make any progress. However, after a jokey challenge from B, I impulsively gave it a go in the kitchen. During Body Pump classes we do push-ups, but I do them on my knees and leaning on the step. So I hadn't really tried an actual official push-up. As I sort of made it down, and back up, we both squealed, as it was clear I was very almost there! I proudly high-fived and felt ready to start week 9 with a bang.

To stay committed and to create motivation, you need to find these noticeable changes and make note of them. I know I'm in the motivation danger zone, as it could feel like I should be seeing more noticeable changes by now, and the novelty of going to the gym 4 times a week wears off.

But as I've said, you just need to just stick it out. Change doesn't take 2 weeks, it takes months. So finding joy in my first almost push up matters, finding joy in how firm my legs feels matters, finding joy in experiencing less back pain matters, and finding joy in my ability to commit matters. The rest will follow.

New wig review - ISIS Nadia Celeb full wig

blonde wig with dark roots review

On the left, is how the wig arrived. Rather long, and very thick. You can take a peek at it here.

As I always say, most wigs need some attention when they first get home. On this one I added more of a fringe, reshaped some of the flicks, and cut some length off.

I have been really impressed with the texture of this wig, it isn't real hair, but it's much softer than most of my other wigs, and pretty matte, I didn't need to powder it at all. If I was being really fussy I'd take some time to pluck the parting, which I may still do.

It's an amazingly dense wig, lots of hair!

I'd definitely buy from this range again, perhaps trying a full lace wig to see if I prefer the part and hairline, but really impressed!

Week 7 of the gym and it was much better than week 6!

reeree week 7

After a pretty rocky week 6 at the gym, I've now crossed the finishing line of week 7 and it's all turned around - as it always does right?!

After accepting that last week that my weak and damaged back feels the worst when I do exercise that requires twists, I gave up my boxing/martial arts class. There is no point risking injury and negative exercise experiences. It's important that we make the gym a positive experience as often as possible if we want to keep returning!

Last week sucked a bit, but this week I smashed my two weight lifting classes. The first, I was late, and all flustered, and I feared I'd get off to a bad start. But once I got going, I felt I did my best ever clean and presses. Whoop.

It's one of my favourite Body Pump moves, but I can sometimes feel my back twinge with it. However this week I lifted my heaviest weight and didn't twinge at all. It really proved I'm making progress and it felt great.

I also noticed that I sometimes lift heavier than other people (sometimes men!) and this reminds me of my progress. Don't get me wrong, I'm not brilliant, and I'm not always lifting the best, but in the moments I notice it, I'm proud of sticking with it, as I started with the smaller weights too. Progress happens if you stick with it!

I definitely needed a better week than last! Roll on week 8!