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Thursday, 7 September 2017

What Makes A Good Day Off (Preya & Shreya)

Nothing Planned

Today I have a day completely free of scheduled work. It seems like the first one in ages! It got me to thinking about what makes a 'good' day off? What's the best way to feel like you've recharged your batteries and made the best of your time? 

peaceful cat
my sleeping tutor

An Interpretation

The Upanishads teach us about the concepts of 'Preya' and 'Shreya': Preya being what is pleasurable, and Shreya is what is necessary to our wellbeing. That's not to say that necessary things can't be pleasurable, but I've been pondering these two a lot recently, and so when it comes to a day off I need to ask myself what I want to do (for pleasure), and then check whether this is actually what I need. 

What I wanted today was to stay in bed watching costume dramas on Netflix and knitting. But what I actually need, I think, is to feel like a functioning human being, with an identity outside of my job. So, I did have a lie in with my knitting, but then I actually got dressed in real clothes (not sportswear, gasp!). 

seasalt organic cotton people tree
organic cotton is so soft! 

What Else Makes a Good Day Off?

So, congratulations me, I am up and dressed, but what else shall I do today to make the best use of my time? 

Well, good eats are a must (thanks darling):

veggie lunch
mmm avocado

A Mindful Time

Then I'll spend some time getting organised for my classes through the rest of the week, and I also have some pondering to do about the direction of my career overall. Quiet time to think is super important to me. 

Once I've done my work-related jobs I'll most likely take some time away from screens and just see what happens- perhaps a walk by the sea would be a good idea? We all need fresh air, and to just watch the world go by. If you practise mindfulness then a walk outdoors can be a great time to do it. 

finding peace by the sea
sea air


Tonight it is my pleasure to be going to a yoga class. As a teacher myself it has become a rarer privilege to be able to do this, so this feels like an appropriate treat on my day off. And it is definitely what I need for a whole bunch of reasons. 

yoga practice
to the mat!


Rest is so important. I will certainly be having an early night tonight to wake up refreshed for my early morning bootcamp tomorrow. 

finding stillness
sleep guru strikes again

Finding Stillness

It's tempting to fill up all of our down time with activities: socialising, shopping, entertaining ourselves, going on trips, and dare I say it even sports. All these aspects to life are really important, but what I'm seeing from writing this is that all of these things can be displacement activities- where we shift the focus off what is important (and potentially difficult to face) and onto the task at hand- any task. 

So next time I find myself with time on my hands I will definitely try to think about what I need to be doing right now: not doing what gives me pleasure necessarily, and not doing what I think I should, but trying to still all of the mind-chatter, take a step back, and contemplate the preya and shreya. 

Sunday, 3 September 2017

New Class Announcement

yoga piyo class bodmin

I'm delighted to be offering a free taster session in this beautiful little dedicated yoga & pilates studio. The postcode is PL30 5DQ, but if you'd like any information please just ask, thank you! 

Monday, 28 August 2017

Sundried Jute Yoga Mat Review & Discount Code

Sundried Yoga mat review
new yoga mat

Why buy a new yoga mat?

Sometimes, it is just time for a new mat. For whatever reason your old one might not serve its purpose any more- it might be smelly beyond rescuing, the cat might have put so many claw marks in it that it is pretty much a cat toy, you may have lent it to someone and it doesn't feel quite yours anymore, it might not be thick enough to serve you, or it might just be time for a change. In my case, it was all of the above, so I was looking to invest. But without actually spending a lot of money. 

Sundried Yoga mat review
it's pretty!

Sundried, the brand:

I have bought from Sundried before- I like them because they are an ethical brand who are responsible to the environment an to the people in their supply chain. I really loved their leggings and wore them until they wore out. They are also UK based.
textured natural jute

The Eco Yoga Mat:

This mat is actually made from jute, with a squishy blue foamy substance pushed through it. The jute is obviously natural, but I am unclear what the blue substance is. With Sundried's eco credentials I would expect it to be either or both recycled or biodegradable. I will ask them and let you know if I find out. 

First impressions were that it is very pretty! I'm aware that sounds pretty shallow, but actually I think I would be much more likely to want to spend time on a mat that I don't find visually jarring. The yoga mat can be a place of sanctuary so for me it has to feel like a mini bit of home, and this cobalt blue ticks all the boxes for me.

natural yoga mat
love blue!

How did the mat perform?

I took to the mat for my practice this morning. I really like the texture and natural feel of it. It was a tiny bit slipper that I imagined, but this seemed to decrease as I went on- I either got used to it or as things got warmer and possibly sweatier there was more grip. The texture did imprint onto my skin, which I'm not really bothered about, but if I was at a class I might have something softer handy to prevent getting an embarrassingly jute-textured face. It smells new, but I imagine this will wear off. And on a similar note I am not sure how you would clean such a textured mat. 

eco yoga mat review
the bobbly underside

The underneath is bobbly, so I think it would have loads of grip on a smooth floor. I did my yoga inside, but when I took the mat outdoors to photograph it I though I'd put its thickness to the test on our lumpy gravel courtyard. Although I could feel minor bumps through the mat, it would definitely be comfortable enough to practise outdoors, which I am delighted by. 

Sundried discount code
yep, definitely thick enough

The Verdict:

The Sundried yoga mat comes with a substantial cotton carry strap (not all mats do), which can also be used in your practice, so this is an added bonus. Provided that the blue backing is as eco as the branding makes out then it is reassuring to have a yoga tool which will not be littering the planet for ever. It is stylish and in my experience so far performs well. 

The list price is £50, which is not cheap, but Sundried offer a 30 day free returns service. 

In addition, I have an extremely generous 50% discount code (valid across the Sundried online store), which makes this very reasonable (especially when you factor in that a yoga strap can cost upto £15 by itself).  Just type in FITPIXIE at the checkout and your discount will show up. 

I'll be bringing mine to class if you want to take a look.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

What is Piyo?

When I first tried Piyo a couple of years ago I was just toying with the idea of becoming an exercise instructor, and I wanted to try everything! I had to google 'what is Piyo', when I discovered that it was on offer locally (by Tara, who is totally awesome). I loved it, but then the sessions moved to a new venue and I drifted... 

Fast forward to just a few weeks ago when some of my clients asked me if I could teach Piyo, and a whole load of excited connections fired off in my brain: Could I..? Should I...? Dare I...? 

Short answer: yes! I've done my training with the gorgeous Abi (and that was a totally fun day!), so here we are! 

But, you might still be wondering 'but what is Piyo...?"

What Piyo Is:

Designed by Charlene Johnson of Beachbody, it is a low impact (no excess pressure on your joints) yet dynamic workout, building both strength and flexibility. It is choreographed, so every Piyo class will have familiar movements, plus a series of interchangeable tracks so the workout can be modified to suit you. 

What it is above all though is fantastic fun, set to a backdrop of great music. 

What Piyo Isn't:

Yoga. Piyo makes use of some yoga poses (some pretty loosely), and it does strengthen, stretch and improve balance, that's pretty much where the similarity ends. If you are a yoga fan then it's probably wise to accept that Piyo is a completely different animal and leave your asanas at the door! And (spoiler alert), there is no Savansana! (well, there might occasionally be in my classes depending on who comes). 

Equally it is not Pilates. It does employ a couple of the principles, but you wouldn't recognise much from a Pilates class.

It is also not just for women. I can see why we ladies like it, but there is absolutely no reason why a man would not benefit from all of the moves. Having said that, if you are thinking of taking your shy and inhibited man-friend who has no sense of timing and no enjoyment of moving rhythmically and no sense of humour, then... I can see that perhaps they might not be thrilled. 

What to expect at your Piyo class:

Piyo can be done in trainers, bare feet or non-slip yoga socks. A yoga mat is useful but not necessarily essential. If you're going to a class for the first time you should wear gym clothing (e.g. leggings and a supportive bra), plus light layers you can easily remove- as you would with any exercise class. Water is also essential- I have heard people say they have sweated in more in Piyo than in any of their high impact classes. A small towel might also be a good idea. 

You will start with a warm-up, end with a cool down, and between those might be sandwiched sections to work your lower body, your whole body at the same time, sections which are more flowy and dance-like, sections for your core... much will depend on your instructor, so if there is something you particularly want to improve I'm sure they'd love to hear about it. 

Leave me a comment and let me know how you enjoy Piyo. Or, use the contact button on the right hand side if you've got any questions that I can try to answer!

Monday, 13 February 2017

Healthy Food on the Go

Healthy High Street Options:

Picture this: you're travelling. Sitting on trains has left you wrung out and exhausted, you have no facilities to cook, you don't fancy the ambience or the price tag of a restaurant... so what do you eat? 

Usually when I'm in this situation I find myself in some sort of quandary: I want to eat healthily, but I also want comfort, so more often than not I end up with a half-hearted compromise like a salad and some chocolate. And guess what: I never feel good! 

So, on my latest jaunt I decided to photograph my meals, as a way of holding myself accountable and eating more mindfully. I wasn't counting calories or thinking about my macros, my main goal was just to not eat junk. Here's a summary- hope it helps you find some on-the-go-eating inspiration:


This is what I ate for breakfast every day: porridge pots and raspberries. Wolfy's brand is the tastiest I've found and also seems to have the fewest ingredients, with no added sugar too. I didn't even think about food again until lunch.


I do love Pret a Manger. There isn't one where I live, so it is a treat for me. It's not hard to choose something wholesome yet filling. 

That's an avocado wrap and veggie miso soup on one day, and a felafel flat bread and coconut latte the next.  

The 'Hot Shot' was also amazing: orange, turmeric and cayenne pepper: wboohoo!! It certainly warmed me up on a day when snow was flurrying outside the windows. 


Evenings after a long day of concentrating are when I usually reach for a sugar hit. I managed to stave this off with fruits and juices, and the heavenly delight that is Coyo. 

I really hit Waitrose salad department too: my favourite was bulgar wheat, sweet potato and hummus, but also lovely were the broccoli and buckwheat noodle, and quinoa and greens. Costing between £2 and £4 these were not only filling and nourishing, but really cost-effective too. 


I did snack on fruit and nuts, and there was no way I was going to try to live without coffee, but in moderation and with plenty of water I know this works fine for me. 

I had plenty of energy and focus and I will definitely try to eat like this when I'm traveling in future. 

How do you eat healthily when traveling? Why not let me know your tips the comments!

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Ethical Brand Sundried: Review & Discount Code plus free Water Bottle

What is Sundried?

Ethical brand Sundried describes itself as selling 'premium ethical activewear'. You can shop here, using code FITPIXIE for a really generous discount, plus free water bottle (worth £10) until the end of November.

Sundried comes recommended by athletes, personal trainers, by the press (and now me!). When a brand comes this highly recommended there is a lot for it to live up to. I've checked out what's on offer:

information and image belong to

The Products:

This was the outfit I chose from Sundried: the Breithorn Bra, Ruinette Tight and Tour Noir Tank.

image from

image from

image from

Both bra and leggings are just available in the one colour, and although the tank also comes in white I again opted for black- it's always safer with a brand that's new to you as it doesn't show sweat or become transparent (although I don't think I really needed to worry in this case).

Their range is quite small meaning that there is not a huge choice, but I think this is a smart move, as we all need good basics which perform well. The classic style choices mean that these can easily become workout wardrobe staples- good for any workout in any situation, and worn with any other brands if you want to mix and match. It can be exciting to look for next season's freshest colours and most dynamic prints, but actually when you are shopping for gym wear that will last a few seasons then basic block colours are a much smarter option. They are also pretty classy!

Their designers have also come up with products which evoke serious training. I love that the women's range is every bit as powerful-looking as the men's, and apart from the sexy cut-away in back off the the top, nothing is overly feminized. I like this partly because of my personal tastes, but also because I wear sportswear to work, and whilst sometimes I like to have some fun with it, other times I want to look like I mean business.

First Impressions:

My Sundried products oozed quality. They felt substantial and well-made, and a brief check of the finishing techniques confirmed this. 

A quick try-on also showed that they were sleek and elegant, with fantastic attention to detail: see for example the draw string on the leggings- a lovely and useful touch, but also unobtrusive, plus the flattering contour lines which run down the legs are also reflective.

The fit is good, and I didn't feel like I'd have to be adjusting things as I began to move. I really like a racer-back top, so this one ticks those boxes. I am short waisted, and so the cut-away on the back of the top sits quite low on me, but that's not a disaster. 

If you're bold enough to wear just a bra top in the gym then this one would be ideal- it's completely opaque and fits nice and snug, and a brilliant energetic red.

image from

Putting Sundried to the Test:

When you're teaching the last thing you want to be doing is worrying about your clothing and having to adjust things, especially as your class participants are all watching you, all the time. 

Happily, everything stayed in place and continued to feel comfortable through my workout. Sweat didn't show on the black fabric, and I'm pleased to report the leggings are completely opaque (I have a trusted method for checking this!). 

As the Sundried fabric seems a little bit thicker than some other brands, it did feel the tiniest bit hotter than some other sportswear, but I'll take the quality and security of more substantial clothing than cheaper pieces anyday. 

Sundried seems to be a no-nonsense brand that isn't really about looking good at the gym, it's about knocking out those reps. You will look amazing in Sundried, but that's a by-product. 

information and image from

Ethical Credentials:

Or, why should you buy Sundried?

Here's what Sundried have to say about their fabrics:

"We want our fabrics to work towards a better impact on the environment and do this by producing our fabrics in Portugal with the mitigation of harmful substances, pollution and other environmental hazards. We are audited by The Low Carbon Innovation Fund to ensure we minimise the carbon footprint throughout the full lifecycle of our clothing through its design, manufacture, distribution, use and disposal"

That's pretty impressive- it's great to find actual specific information, rather than the bland positive statements you can see on some 'ethical' brand websites. I'll be returning my Sundried products to them for recycling when they (eventually) wear out. 

And here's part of what they say about their ethos:

"We believe you cannot be a health and fitness brand without promoting health throughout your company, from production to purpose. Sundried’s factories are based in Portugal where our staff are paid fairly and respected. We take pride in our partnership with Portugal which allows us to bring our products to you"

You can read much more about this here- it's well worth a click. They also donate to Water for Kids

They are pretty impressive ethical credentials! 

Price & Value:

Shopping ethically usually costs a little more, and that is probably true of Sundried, depending on where you shop (there are plenty of regular sports brands who are more expensive). However, from a quick glance through the online market in activewear it is clear that they are not at the top end of the pricing. 

Price, though, is different to value. Given the quality of these fantastic products, and the ethical policies of Sundried, I would say that it is well worth investing in these items which benefit from being classically styled and of superior quality. 

Once you have taken advantage of my generous FITPIXIE discount, the prices look even more manageable. 

Any downsides...?

For performance, style, and quality my Sundried products score pretty highly, but are there any downsides?

Packaging...? My items came in beautiful zipped pouches. These are lovely quality and definitely add to the feeling of luxury. They may be useful for storing damp clothing in for travelling perhaps, or keeping delicates away from other items in a hold-all, but apart from that they seem a little superfluous. I'd rather not have these in future so it would be nice to be able to opt out.  

In Conclusion:

From my experience putting Sundried to the test, I would thoroughly recommend them for great gym basics that you can feel good about. Their ethical policies do them credit, and their well-designed pieces function well. 

Don't forget you can shop with this special discount code: FITPIXIE

Is it just me... ... ...?

I'd just like to add one thought as a little post scriptum: these black designs with a touch of red take me back (courtesy of The Language of Things by Deyan Sudjic, p66) via the original Golf GTI to the Walther PPK handgun. Powerful imagery indeed! Whether we consciously know it or not, we respond to the designs around us with all sorts of intrinsic and learned responses, which I am sure the Sundried design team were well aware of when they chose black with red accents for their serious,  no-nonsense designs, meant I am sure to inspire us to respect our bodies as astonishing pieces of engineering, and to be the strongest, most efficient athletes we can be. So, if you thought the Ruinette was just another pair of black leggings, perhaps think again?

Friday, 11 November 2016

Thoughts on a Yoga Weekend (plus discount code)

I'm thrilled that I've recently begun my Yoga teacher-training. This feels like an achievement in itself, as there are so many providers out there that it's difficult to know what course to enrol on- what will give you the right tools to be the best teacher you can be? 

This is me fired-up for my first day of intensive face-to-face teaching in my Tibetan-orange top, from Asquith (N.B. Discount Code at Asquith for you is FITPIXIE20). I felt like I ticked all the right boxes for a thoughtful outfit, but how would I fare when it came to being a thoughtful student? 

asquith london
Use code FITPIXIE20 at Asquith xx

I was a little nervous- I hadn't completed all of the pre-course study (there's a lot of it!), I haven't been doing yoga for the recommended 5 years, I don't yet know all the Sanskrit terminology, and there's not a single asana in my yoga repertoire which I don't want to improve... 

But, I needn't have worried: all of us students seemed to be feeling the same way, but the best part was when we started the first morning not with introductions, but with yoga. That was Liz (the tutor)'s ingenious way of putting us all into the right frame of mind.

yoga studies
Just Some Entry-level Reading!

Of course, over the intensive weekend there was far too much to take on board for me to summarise here, but here are the key things I've taken away from my weekend: 

1) I know nothing. This is said not in self-deprecation, but because I feel the way for me to get the best out of my studies is to acknowledge the huge gaps in my understanding. This statement becomes a permission to ask the obvious questions, and to be open to the answers. 

2) Being good at yoga and being a good teacher of yoga are two entirely different things. This is also a pretty obvious and yet entirely liberating thought. Of course you have, as a teacher, to know what you're talking about, but you don't have to always be the best in the room at getting into the splits- or whatever it might be. Your rôle is to inform and guide your class through their own practice: it's about them.

3) It's my interpretation that a lot of what people teach in classes called 'Yoga' is not yoga (I can hear you gasping at the controversy here!). Do you have thoughts on this? I'd love to hear them, so leave me a comment if you want to weigh in! 

yoga teacher training
Namaste Kitty

And one further thought: I'm learning to trust the process. So, when Her Furriness decides it not study time for me by sitting on my book, then that's OK!

Namaste xx