Reviewed by Louise Totton
As the mum of two girls, aged 7 and 9, it concerns me just how much time kids seem to spend indoors, staring at iPads, Xbox screens and the TV. We have recently been lucky enough to move out of the urban area where we used to live and into a semi-rural village in Yorkshire, where we find ourselves right on the edge of open countryside and only a couple of minutes’ walk from woods, waterfalls and some fabulous cycling routes so I am doing my best to encourage the kids to take advantage of their surroundings, and am leading by example.
A few years ago, it’s fair to say that I was a bit of a fitness fanatic and would be at the gym 6 days a week and would also run 5km every evening after work. Since then, my personal circumstances have changed, and I simply don’t have the time or freedom to dedicate so much of my time to keeping fit and it’s fair to say that I’ve put on a few pounds and am nothing like as fit as I was. Having said that, I do believe that we can all do something and just getting outdoors and walking in the fresh air is a good start and will help me to instil the importance of activity into the kids.
I was lucky enough to recently be asked to try out a small selection of products from a company called Sundried – a company who, to be frank, I had never heard of before, but who have a very compelling and intriguing brand identity. Sundried identify as an ethical fashion company and they sell high-end, high-quality activewear, for both the serious athlete and for those who just want to keep active, but who want to do so whilst minimising their carbon footprint and impact upon the environment. Two of Sundried’s ranges are made from 100% recycled materials – the Eco Charge range is made from recycled coffee grounds and their Eco Core range is made from recycled plastic bottles. I was sent three products to try out:
The Grivola Tee is part of Sundried’s Eco Charge range, which rather bizarrely means it is made from 100% recycled coffee grounds – what could be more eco friendly and efficient than taking the waste product of something that has already been used, and making a brand new product? Now, when I read that this t-shirt was made in the way it was, for some reason I had expected that it might be brown or heavy or have some kind of coffee aroma, which in retrospect, makes no sense at all! I certainly didn’t expect that it would look and feel the way it does – it is an absolutely gorgeous light grey colour and is possibly the softest and lightest fabric I have ever felt.
I would describe the t-shirt as a yoga-fit as on me, it was reasonably tight around the hips but had lots of room in the arm, bust and abdomen. I found the fit to be very flattering and I loved the way it looked and felt when I way wearing it – I did not feel constricted in any way couldn’t feel that I was wearing it at all, which is exactly what you want from activewear. The styling of this t-shirt is lovely and subtle – it doesn’t look overtly like gym-wear which means I am really happy to wear it if I take the kids walking in the woods or out to ride our bikes. I love that because I am able to benefit from the brilliant performance and comfort of activewear whilst still looking stylish.
If, however, you are doing something a little more energetic, the properties of the fabric mean that you sweat less, smell less and the material dries around 200 times faster than cotton. So when you do work up a bit of a sweat, it is far less likely that those around you will be able to see (or smell) any evidence!
I machine washed this top at 30 degrees (in keeping with Sundried’s Eco ethos), and it has washed perfectly with no bobbling, shrinking or stretching of the fabric. Because it dries so much faster than cotton, it is dry in no time at all and certainly doesn’t need to go in the tumble dryer. Whilst I hung it on the line because the weather was so good, it would even dry very quickly on an airer in the house.
We were also sent the Grande Casse Running Jacket to try out, which is a lightweight, waterproof running jacket in black and is part of the Eco Core range at Sundried, meaning it is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. The jacket is a unisex packaway jacket, ideal for using in the summer when it can be both warm and raining at the same time.
I loved this jacket – it is so lightweight that it doesn’t feel remotely constricting when you are wearing it, and the vents that it has at the back means that you can stay cool, and your body surrounded by fresh air at all times. The jacket folds away into its own packet and zips to form a little pouch that you can then attach to either your waistband or backpack via the strap and clip.
The Grande Casse is perfect for use at either dawn or dusk as it features several reflective strips to make sure the wearer is visible to traffic and cyclists. It is completely waterproof too, and I have so far found the waterproof claims to be completely true.
The jacket has a zipped pocket which is ideal for keeping your phone or iPod in whilst running and means they will be kept safe and secure. It is ideal for days out walking when we can sometimes experience all four seasons in one day and we can find ourselves wondering whether to take a coat out of shorts and t-shirts!
The final product that we tried out was the Sundried Water Bottle. The water bottle is a good sized bottle, with a 750ml capacity and I think is quite distinctive in its look.
The water bottle is a clear, slightly concave cylinder shape, making it easy to grip and hold – the narrower part is the perfect size for my hands. Unusually, the lid is also clear, which means that the orange removable silicone mouthpiece is visible and becomes part of the design.
In keeping with the eco credentials of Sundried, the water bottle is made from Tritan plastic and is 100% BPA free, meaning no nasty chemicals can leach into your drink and therefore into your body. This bottle feels slightly flexible, so is not brittle and is much less likely to be damaged whilst you are exercising. My kids seem to have taken a bit of a shine to this drinks bottle and they are not the most careful and it has shown no signs of damage whatsoever.
The silicon mouthpiece also acts as the leak-proofing, forming the seal between the bottle and the lid. What I loved about this bottle is that it is completely removable so I can get the bottle much cleaner when I am washing it – there are no crevices where germs can hide! We have taken the bottle on a couple of walks since we received it and I have taken it into work with me on a daily basis to encourage myself to drink more water during the day. It has so far remaking completely leak proof and has even attracted compliments from several of my colleagues at work!
The Sundried range is not cheap, but when you consider the quality of the products and that you will not need to repeatedly purchase replacements, the value for money improves hugely. Eco friendly and ethical products most often do attract a bit of a premium price-wise because they do cost more to produce. For those of us who value the ethical and eco-friendly ethos of Sundried, these products represent fantastic value and are a great, conscientious choice to make. One point that I would make is that in common with lots of activewear brands, Sundried do not subscribe to vanity sizing! I am 5’9” and wear as size 12 and the Large is a good fit. I would normally order a Medium in most clothes but ordered the Large to be safe and I’m glad I did – I would suggest checking the online size guide!
I would rate all of the products as a 5/5 and I think they are fantastic for getting outdoors in the British Summer. They make a great choice for the fitness fanatic (check out their website for some seriously cool cycling, running and triathlon wear) and for the more casual outdoorsy type like me.
For more information or to buy visit www.sundried.com.