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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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