It's January. Ergo it's the law.


It's a blog I'm not sure I've ever done before.  Actually I think I may have done - once.  

And in fact that's the one I remembered when Matalan asked me to have a look at their new ranges in store and see what I thought.  Being January, the one thing I knew I should try out was their gymwear. 

I have flirted with exercise all my life.  Don't get me wrong, I do do it but I'm not one of those people who are a gym junkie.  The opposite.  To me, it's a necessary evil.  And I know, from numerous conversations with people over the years, I am not alone.  However I will acquiesce that I do feel better when I've done it (as far as I'm concerned that's because I'm pleased it's over with but according to others, it's the adrenalin.  Whichever, I DO feel better). 

And I know I look better if I continue with it.  Let's face it.  Gravity is not our friend.  He (as it couldn't possibly be a she) is a mean, sag inducing, dimple giving, elasticity zapping git that has a go at all of us.  But exercise is his nemesis.

So I made the decision to up my game.  It coincides handily with being given an Apple watch for Christmas (ok seriously - I never thought I'd get remotely hooked on beating my daily targets but I cannot be the only person who has been known to go up and down the stairs willingly and for no reason to get their step count up?) and trying out the Matalan activewear.

One thing is for sure.  As with everything we wear - if we feel better wearing it, our mood is improved.   If we look better wearing it, we're more likely to put it on.  And once it's on - well, you may as well go and do something in it.

What am I looking for in activewear?  I'm not going to lie - it's the price.  To me - spending money on gym clothes is up there normally, with getting the boiler fixed.  So when you can get a couple of amazing sets for pretty much the price of a takeaway, I am definitely listening.  

However, I also want it to be flattering.  Actually, scrap that.  It has to be flattering.  If I put it on and feel rubbish, frankly I'm not inclined to keep it on and I am certainly not going to "get active" in it.  The stretch has to excellent.  And speaking of stretch, when we're talking performance, it also ticks the boxes for fabric that has moisture wicking and is anti-bacterial.

So starting from the bottoms up.  I am going to be breaking myself in gently with an increase in my Pilates.  For which I wear two sorts of bottoms but first up are the ones that I have been living with every morning and evening.  

Joggers.  If anyone has seen me on the milk run (in the car at the moment - it's probably about 3km away..) to the garage, then you will have spied me in these.  Absolutely perfect for Pilates, Yoga, Power Walking and general sofa surfing (which should be a sport).

Souluxe Relax Fit Active Trousers £14

With the matching top (obvs...).

Souluxe Hoodie £14

But what makes this that bit different is the back detail.  Someone in the garage did actually comment on it the other morning.  

But getting down to the serious business, these are fantastic.  When I say flattering - almost tempted to wear them out out.  All trousers should be made out of this fabric.

Souluxe Sports Leggings £12 (I got the Medium which is a large 10)

Also bought these ones.

As they have a matching top.  Which is an outdoor top for when I start running.  When.  I WILL.  Which alas I can't find online.  I think it's new in - they definitely had them instore. 

Souluxe Sports Leggings £16

And then the tops. 

First up - a must.  Even with my fried eggs.  

Souluxe Crop Bra Vest Top £7

Ok.. .you may want to scroll swiftly past this - especially if you're eating...

BUT I wanted to show that the leggings are all superbly high waisted - even on a tallie like me (these are a Small) and the top is fantastically fitting.  This is a Medium.

There is no body building career for me any time soon - that's for sure.  Not exactly abs of steel.  But maybe I'll do another in a couple of months to see the improvement?  We all have to start somewhere...

And to go over the top.  This is simply perfect.  Hides the muffin without being an all over saggy tee.  Genius.

Souluxe Active 2 in 1 T-shirt £10

Seriously, head to foot in Matalan here. Honestly, it is as good as any of the more expensive brands I have tried (and then refused to buy...).

Then whilst I was choosing things, well obviously I was going to get the shoes to match.  As the 12yr old said "they are lush".  Which is praise indeed, seeing as she's a "brand only" girl usually. "Can I have a pair?".   Hell yes, for £15 you can, as opposed to the branded equivalent which is significantly more.  I'm not sure you'd want to run a marathon in these, but for my couch to 5k, these are perfect.  When I say comfortable - think slippers and as light as a feather.  Plus they match my outfit.  Win win.

Souluxe Knitted Trainers £15

The other thing I have to give a mention to, is their homeware.  The number of gems that I have picked up from here over the years - candlesticks, bathroom accessories (over the door bath hooks in black and white enamel which I won't mention in any more detail as they no longer stock them), blankets and cushions. 

From their current range, I picked these for the 8yr old's bedroom.  That tricky age (particularly being number 3), when you don't want baby things and your mean mother refuses to buy you cartoon bedding (in my defence he has a double bed and all character bedding is for single beds.  Do not disabuse me of this notion...) it's hard to get something that's cool.  

Except - errr hello.  Cue moaning from the 10yr old that he wants new bedding and "new pillows" (cushions to me and you - I couldn't be more proud) and a new lamp.   The cable knit cushions by the way, which I found in store are identical to some significantly more expensive ones that the 10yr old has in navy.  In fact, one of his cushions cost the same price as the four cushions and the fleece throw.  Speaking of the fleece throw - think cotton wool.  It would be like being wrapped up in angel's wings.   

All links shoppable below apart from the cable knit grey cushions (SORRY!)

Giraffe Cushion £10 
Elephant Cushion £10
Cable Knit Cushion £18 each (not online - instore only)
Grey and white striped duvet set £25
Throw £20
LED & Light £15 (online only)

Lots of these I ordered through the Matalan website, but as I'm putting together a page for their website, I popped into a store today.  And managed to come home with this. 

Slogan Jumper £16

It comes up big, so I sized down to a small.  Perfect for my love of all things monochrome.  Plus, what you can't see is the quality of the embroidery of the white lettering.  50% cotton.  For £16.  Amazing. 

So I am now sorted for activewear (if you'd like to see it in action - well, actionish... there is a tiny video over on Instagram @doesmybumlook40)  And not that I do hang about all day in it, but I would be more than happy to in these sets.  Are you a designer gymwear girl (and by that I mean any of the more expensive high street brands) or can I convert you to a less costly way of kitting yourself out at the gym. 

And if anyone else is thinking of starting couch to 5k, I will be starting after the 26th (my birthday and I want to start WHEN I am 44.  Oh my lord, that's painful writing that down), let me know as I will be charting my progress over on Instastories (complete in my new gym gear). 

Finishing as per usual with outfit from today. 

Black trousers - M&S
Black thermal polo neck - M&S
Je Ne Regrette Rien Jumper - Orwell + Austen
Black patent trainers - Woden
Mustard coat - Warehouse

Spent all day working and doing research (and Pilates).  I am now off for a dog walk IN THE DARK (weeps) but tomorrow, a lovely day in London which I will be reporting back on later.  Wish me luck on my first evening exercise venture (dog walking, in the dark - I have too many steps to make up today to not go out.  Darned Apple watch.....)

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38 comentarios:

  1. Completely off topic so sorry to hijack thread but I know you are a scented candle fiend and I was wondering what your favourite brand is? Some of them (even the more expensive ones) are rubbish x

    1. ha ha! Well. I have to say my two favourites are Brown and Drury (and from that, the Restoration is my fave bar none) and the candles from hush I have had Neom ones in the past and I do rate their potency BUT I am so sick and tired of them stopping lighting half way down. Complete rubbish. But hush (large one) and the Brown and Drury ones (normal size) are AMAZING for a big open plan space. And believe me, I have tried a lot! Hope that helps xxx

    2. Since I am already your notorious candle stalker, which Hush one do you prefer. I didn't even know they did candles and now I fancy the pomegranate and peppercorn and the rose and cassis. It's January, I'm meant to be going good :D xx

    3. They are all amazing. Honestly, I like them all for different reasons and can't say that I prefer one or the other!

  2. Kat, I've got the grey leggings that you're wearing in your 'guns out' photo and have recommended them to EVERYONE!! They are honestly the best sports leggings I've owned (and I trained as a sports instructor so have worn a LOT over the years!) and they're so comfortable, I want to live in them, basically!
    And yes, I've bought things from their home range for many many years.....brilliant value!

    1. They're amazing aren't they? It's really hard to convey the quality of them in a photo. But I went into a certain gymwear shop on the high street to compare (SB!) and honestly - HONESTLY - I couldn't tell the difference between the more expensive (£16??!!) ones I've got on above and the £65 pair in there. SIXTY FIVE QUID??? I completely get if you're an instructor or one of those people who wears their gym gear all the time (and I do know a lot of people who go to the gym or whatever in the morning and then just stay in their gym gear all day) Whatever floats your boat. But considering I mostly do exercise in mine, maybe go the garage for a pint of milk and some bread and maybe a dog walk, but I then change!!!! Plus I don't do it 6 days a week (dear god I'd want to die) BUT again, I Do know lots of people do.

      However I still maintain, it's worth trying these even if you DO live in them!!!! They are SO flattering! Great thickness, detailing etc etc.

  3. Hi Kat

    I have the Matalan vest top and trainers and I've got to say they are better quality than some of the really expensive brands my friends wear to our yoga class! I really grudge paying a lot for gym wear as it means more money for bags and shoes! M&S have good items too at a good price.


    1. High five sister! Complete music to my ears and you are preaching to the converted. This is me EXACTLY. Up until now though, I didn't realise it was possible to look so good in the more reasonable gear!! That'll teach me!

  4. Kat, you look fab at baseline - you would be the after not the before pic!

    1. Well you are very kind!! I've always been so busy (I'm one of life's rushy people) so am always quite active and I do watch what I eat! But there's a lot of toning that can be going on!!!

  5. Hi Kat- you look awesome in the black wide leg trousers from M&S- are they the 'panel detail wide leg trousers' for £25 that are on the website? I've been considering getting them- how do they fit?
    Thanks! xx

    1. Oh god I'm so so sorry they're not. They're a £35 pair that were from M&S Collection.. They're on this blog. Hope that helps!

  6. The gear looks good! Just be careful with lighter (ie non Black/navy) tights... Many show sweat marks so it can look like you've peed yourself. Lol ( or cry!). Also, if you are going to do C25k get proper shoes. Find a running store and get fitted. It's cheaper than physio/treatment if you injure yourself. At the start always run at a pace where you can talk in sentences, if you can only spit out a few words you are funny Ng too fast. Good luck! For gear, I like all the major running brands - good Tech fabrics and features like zip pockets. Aldi gear is awesome, h&m looks great. My ultimate - lululemon. It is so flattering, so comfortable. I can't tell which of my tights are 6yrs old and which are 6mo, they wash and hold there shape that well. Of course it's horrifically $$$ but worth it. I'm Marathon training over summer (I'm in Australia) and they are the shorts and Tops I reach for.

    1. Oh alas, I already have "proper" shoes. I did the Moonwalk a couple of years ago (marathon at night) and I have them from then. I will say, these are a hell of a lot more comfortable!!!

      Just a point as well - these do have features like zip pockets, breathable fabric, all the other shizzle that the more expensive brands have, I promise!! It's horses for courses. Some people want to spend more on branded products - I"m the same with shoes and handbags!! But I would honestly say, the difference in performance for the activewear is negligible. It may look different (I don't think it does) and it may not be your bag - same with all fashion. high and low end - often (not always but often!) the difference is the price, slight detailing (which may or may not be useful depending on what you're using it for) and the brand name.

      I, for one, would rather save my money for shoes, bags, leather and cashmere!!

    2. I actually have a mix of high, low and in between. I don't go on Brand name alone, rather on Brand performance. I have worked out the brands I trust because the gear is comfortable, doesn't fall apart in 6months and doesn't start smelling funny after a few months. Some cheap, some not. Hard to know how performance wear will actually perform until you have put it through its paces, I've learnt that the hard way. So I'm guessing if you have done a marathon you know the drill on gear and the importance of the right shoes for your particular gait and biodynamics anyway. Good luck with C25k

    3. My crazy marathon running husband always buys his running shoes in the sale, so he gets top quality (maybe last seasons colour) for about half the price. It's worth getting someone to test how you run to see what type of shoe you need.
      Good thing about hubby's running is he has a collection of running shoes that beets hands down my shoe collection. Especially as mine are for assorted functions while his are only for running! So he can hardly complain if I happen to buy another pair of shoes. 😀

    4. My crazy marathon running husband always buys his running shoes in the sale, so he gets top quality (maybe last seasons colour) for about half the price. It's worth getting someone to test how you run to see what type of shoe you need.
      Good thing about hubby's running is he has a collection of running shoes that beets hands down my shoe collection. Especially as mine are for assorted functions while his are only for running! So he can hardly complain if I happen to buy another pair of shoes. 😀

  7. I last visited Matalan about 8 years ago and didn't ever consider returning. Until now! Going to have a nose at the weekend...

    May join you in the couch to 5K mission - I turn 44 the day after you, so feel your pain!

    1. YES - I'm starting next weekend. Come over to Insta stories!

  8. Replies
    1. The one that's tucked into the top of my high waisted leggings!!

  9. Just got the M&S drawstring trousers from a few blogs ago and love them, I would not have given them a first or second look either in store or online so thank you, also just got back from Matalan with some great new bedding... great blog :)

  10. Great post Kat, I love grey & black exercise clothes. What size did you get the hooded top in? Did you get the leggings in M for width or length? I'm usually a 12 top 10 bottom.

    1. I got the hooded top in a medium although I could have gone the large.. I go the leggings in the small which is perfect. hope that helps! I'm a 10 usually, sometimes a 12....

  11. Great post, i am looking for some leggings I can wear on the school run, I will look at these before the Sweaty B ones. I would agree with the worry about sweat and grey tights though, that said i still have some as they were half price and I thought that out weighed paying more for something to run in. Good luck on the 5k training I am forcing myself to go out running again, vanity and the extra weight is the only reason I do it. Lucy x

    1. So refreshing to hear someone else who says they only exercise because they have to, as opposed to because they love it!

  12. I've had some great gym leggings from Tesco and was eyeing up some patterned ones in Sainsbury. I may even join you with the C25K, I've done it before but knackered my knee but a year of reformer pilates and I might be ready to try again.

    Oh and enough with the 44 year old woe. I'm older than you 😉 *shakes walking stick*

    1. Now THAT is something I really want to try - reformer pilates....

  13. I started C25K last year, bit on & off, thought I was going to actual DIE after running for 5 mins but.. I now go out & run 5k 2-3 times a week. Not because I want to, but because it's good for the bones & means I can have a glass of vino without worrying too much. I don't enjoy it when I'm huffing & puffing (v attractive) but I do enjoy the smugness at the end...! Good luck- if I can do it, literally anyone can!!!

  14. Love, love, love your blog. Thanks for your style inspiration. I bought the leggings and couldn't agree more they are so comfortable.

    Please could you tell me where you got your sons bed and bedside table from? Currently doing up my spare bedroom and blatantly want to copy your style.

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  19. Oh my goodness! These workout apparels look just outstanding. I am totally in love with each and every pair. I started working out in the gym so have also bought new clothes. The colorful pattern leggings and the neon tank tops are just wonderful that I have bought online.

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