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Fact + Fiction

Charli_Black_Front01 LOWRES

I am not your normal gym bunny. Sweating it out in the gym with several others is not my idea of raising my endorphins or keeping fit. Since finding Spin a few years back thanks to my New York bestie I was hooked, since then I have bought my own spin bike and visited numerous spin studios. I have also sweated it out at Duo Chelsea with private PT sessions and at CYC:D in Haslemere at Barre, HIIT and Pilates. However with all activity how does one get from A to B with all ones kit and still look stylish? I have never been a fan of the “gym bag”, usually a rather ugly mode of transportation where usability always trumps style. I have in the past favoured using my LFW Tote or an oversized handbag to stuff my gym kit into but these all have their downsides. I then came across Fact + Fiction on social media, a rather unique concept that takes the humble gym bag to a whole new stylish level and I was intrigued.

Fact + Fiction started life as a revolutionary gym bag brand GymTote founded in 2012 by gym junkie Helen Searcaigh and designer and mum of two Nicola Kearney. Fed up (like many women) in carrying two bags to the gym, having an ugly gym bag that she could not accessorise with non-gym clothes, or stuffing all her kit into a smart tote only for a sweaty sports bra to fall out in a meeting, she was convinced that there was a better way, and there was! Fact + Fiction is the first brand on the market to offer stunning handbag designs built around clever, and totally functional, compartmentalised designs that are smart enough for meetings, work or a date and NO one would ever guess you were carrying a gym bag.

When I took a look at the range the Charli Backpack spoke to me, not just as it was my namesake but because I could see the added benefits of the backpack in terms of use. The Charli is the first in a series of a new breed of backpack for days when you need to carry those all important essentials like a laptop or tablet but do not want to compromise on style and comfort. There is a separate shoe and water bottle pocket, a laptop pocket that is foam padded, a large interior compartment for whatever you please, multiple mini pockets for all your key items plus the bonus of two straps to keep the weight nicely spread. I chose mine in ebony black with polished light gold hardware but there is also a quilted version available.

As a seasoned traveller I always find it tough to chose the right carry on, I want something that fits all the necessaries (laptop, flight kit, passport, change of clothes for long haul and a pile of fashion magazines) but allows me to access these quickly without having to rummage through like Mary Poppins in her kit bag. The Charli Backpack looked like it could be the answer to my prays, with several compartments that are easily accessible, wipeable/washable, secure and well proportioned I could organise all my flight necessities in easy to find locations and compartmentalise according to what I needed and when. I used the backpack on trips to Thailand, New York and Austria and it functioned perfectly, even when I experienced an unscheduled overnight stop in Doha I was glad for my Fact + Fiction Backpack and that it had room enough for a change of clothes a small wash kit!

Charli_Black_Bottom Trainers LOWRES
Charli_Black_Gym Top LOWRES

I have also hiked through Gastein in Austria with the backpack and it was great, I could fit in my waterproofs and extra layers and in separate compartments, I was also thankful for the water bottle pocket so I could keep hydrated on the hike. Finally, and as the name suggests, I have used my Charli Backpack to go to the gym (well Spin) and I loved that I could fit all my change of clothes and my cleat spin shoes into the bag and that I could organise them according to all the handy pockets. But what I think is the biggest win with the Charli Backpack is the fact that after your sweaty workout you can store aware your kit in a separate pocket thus protecting everything else in your bag; genius!

The Fact + Fiction range are not only great designs that are stylish and sleek but the functionality of the bags are phenomenal. Whether it be on the plane, in the airport lounge, in the gym or at the bar drinking cocktails these bag have it all.

Fact + Fiction is available in selected retailers and online.


  • Lady Charlotte Lynham

    Lady Charlotte was born into a world of luxury; brought up in the treasure troves of the National Gallery she later went on to work for some of the most prestigious luxury houses in the world including LVMH and Christies. A self-confessed Francophile, her signature tipple being champagne, she is rarely seen without a glass (or bottle). As an international Lady of mystery she jets from continent to continent sipping cocktails and, BRICS in tow, refuses to travel anything but 1st Class. Lady Charlotte is also an avid skier, horse rider and adventure seeker.

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