café culture

café culture

I have always loved a bit of café culture & I’m fairly partial to a list too – so a list of cafés is perfect!

I miss the days when I used to drink black coffee because it was a great excuse to go out and find a café instead of making one at home. Now that I (literally) only drink green tea it seems a bit mad to go out when I can boil the kettle at home & drink my favourite variety (Tea Pigs) here.

On the plus-side, now that there’s no-one to eat with at home, I have a new excuse for going out to a café!

We are so lucky to have some amazing local cafés on our doorstep (some of which are on this list) but here’s a few more in case you want to explore further afield:

I’m thinking that I might have to work my way through the whole list…I might make start this weekend?!

Let me know which ones you’ve tried & recommend.

tmf stuff:

On paper I’m working shorter weeks over the summer but I haven’t been very good yet at not working when I’m off. Sadly I also haven’t been very good at doing any of the things I need to get done (curtain-making, decorating, wall-building, tax return completing…) so I’m going to give it another good go this weekend!

Next week is another short week. I have PT and massage clients on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning (and then a little trip to Grantham) so if I’m seeing you then, I’ll see you then.

If you would like to book a massage appointment next week I have spaces at 1.30pm or 3pm on Tuesday (15th) or 4.30pm on Wednesday (16th) – let me know.

retreat stuff:

Just a quick update about the take time retreat in November…

In response to a few enquiries I have now changed the booking page so that payments made up to 30th August, can be spread over 3 months. In order to do this I also had to round down a few of the numbers which means that the pricing now starts at £600 per person for the full 3-day, 3-night event.

I have also finalised details of the remaining workshop which has now been added to the list of activities included in the price. Vicky from Evelyn’s of Sussex will be hosting an ‘aromatherapy for you & your home’ workshop, which includes us making our own individual blend of hand/body lotion from natural ingredients, to take home with us. I was really keen to add an aromatherapy session so I’m delighted that Vicky is available to join us.

In case you’re not sure what aromatherapy is you can find out more about essential oils here:

Having made these final updates I have now put all the information in one place here:

I’d be really grateful if you could please share the details with anyone you know who might be interested. They can find all the details on the page above or find out more on twitter, facebook or Instagram so please spread the word and share the retreat vibe. Of course I’d love you to follow me on your favourite social media platform too…!

& finally:

just this…



feel the fear

“Feel the fear, and do it anyway” Susan Jeffers

Last weekend I sent out details of my take time retreat to those people who had registered to receive the information first. I was terrified! I very nearly chickened out and walked away from the hours and hours of work that I have already invested in this project, but then I remembered how I felt seven years ago.

Seven years ago I was in the process of setting up taylor-made fitness. I was getting ready to launch outdoor bootcamp sessions and fitness classes without really knowing if anyone wanted what I was planning to offer. I was so anxious at that time, wondering if I could earn enough to pay my mortgage, that I was having panic attacks and feeling pretty fragile. I remember being really scared but in spite of my fears I had just enough belief to get me started.

Not everything I tried at the start went according to plan – my first fitness classes didn’t really get off the ground as I thought they would, but happily the demand for personal training was much bigger than I had expected so I shifted my focus and changed direction a little.

Fast forward to today and tmf looks very different to the way I originally imagined it because I have changed and grown with it. I genuinely like the process of change and the challenge it brings, but of course that doesn’t mean that it isn’t scary!

But scary is ok. I love this short article from Susan Jeffers – especially #2 – ‘the only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it!’ – isn’t that so true??!

Someone asked me on Thursday how I’m feeling about launching my take time retreats ‘project’ into the world at large… and my reply was that I am ‘mostly nervous but also excited’.

I’m nervous because I care so much about this new ‘baby’ of mine and I want other people to love it as much as I do. I’m nervous because until now it has been mine and once I share it there’s no going back…

But I’m also excited because I believe in what I’ve created, and I have support from some truly amazing people, and I can’t wait to join them in delivering the take time retreat experience to those people who connect with what this is about and take a leap of faith & join us in November.

I know that this retreat will not be what everyone is looking for (which is great because there are only 7 rooms available!) and I know that it will not be financially viable for everyone (I really wish it could be, but of course it has to be financially viable for me to run it too).

My focus from the start has been:

  • offering a luxurious experience in a fabulous venue
  • providing the most amazing nourishment for body & soul
  • adding-in lots of varied content (yoga, pilates, creative workshops, food workshops and demonstrations, massage, stretching, walking, reading, sleeping…)
  • bringing in people that I believe in to deliver workshops, classes, massage treatments and movement sessions along with me
  • creating a space where guests feel supported, nurtured, heard, valued, respected & cared for
  • & most importantly giving busy women the chance to take time for themselves

This is not a one-off event for me. This is just the star. I’m sure it will change a few times along the way but the basic principles will still be there because I really believe these things matter.

Please don’t feel bad if it’s not for you. I’m totally ok with that – although of course I’d love to have you there – so I’m going to be brave & leave all the information below & then it’s up to you what you do with it!

You can look at it, share it, sleep on it, look at it again, decide if you are ready to invest in yourself by joining us, like/follow/share any of the social media links, send me any feedback or ask me any questions you like…but please keep in mind that this is my ‘baby’ and I’ve just put her out into the big scary world on her own, so even if she’s not your thing, please be kind to her!!

So there you have it. Everything you might want to know about the latest  ebb & flow in the life of tmf… I hope you love it – but even if you don’t it’s ok, because I love it enough for both of us!!

other (non-retreat!) tmf stuff:

Next week I am working a 3-day week!!

I have been very bad recently at taking any time for myself so on the advice of a very wise woman today, I am going to start following my own life goals. I will be away from my laptop over the weekend (trying to remember what I like to do when I’m not working) and then I’ll be working with PT and massage clients from Tuesday-Thursday.

I have had a few requests this week for massage availability so I have sent out details in a separate email. If you are not on the list to receive these updates, but would like to be, you can add your details here.

Many thanks to those who have already re-enrolled for Fitness Pilates and Kettlercise classes next term. There are still spaces available on Monday evening (FP) and Thursday morning (KB) if you haven’t yet booked. You will find all the information here.

& finally:

My last mention (for now at least!) of the word retreat…this is truly what it is all about for me (& what I will be practising this weekend)


neck pain

Do you regularly experience neck pain? Or headaches? Or maybe numbness and tingling in the hands and fingers?

Rest assured that you are not alone – neck pain is very common.

It is one of the common issues that brings people to me for a clinical massage treatment and I thought that I would write about it in this weeks’ newsletter because it is something that we probably all experience from time-to-time.

As luck would have it, during the week I came across a brilliant article from GMB Fitness about neck exercises, which also includes a video showing you all of the suggested movements which you can do as a short, effective daily routine to reduce neck pain and improve neck function. So instead of writing my own, I’m going to share theirs because it’s pretty cool! You can check it out here:

Try them every day for a week and let me know how you get on…I think you’ll feel the benefit.

There are other simple things you can try as well as these movement patterns:

  • keep your mobile device at eye level rather than going into an exaggerated forward flexion of the neck to look at your screen – sit at a desk or table with your arms supported to hold the device at a suitable height
  • reducing the amount of time you spend on mobile devices is even better
  • adjust your laptop or pc screen so that it sits at eye level
  • take time to stop and breathe for a few minutes when you’re feeling stressed or anxious to reduce tension in your neck and shoulders
  • avoid carrying a bag on one shoulder – rucksacks spread the weight better and reduce pressure on the upper trapezius muscles which often contribute to neck pain
  • play around with your pillow configuration at night – ideally you will use one pillow if you sleep on your back; two pillows if you sleep on your side; try firmer or softer pillows until you find what’s best for you
  • don’t get piercings in your outer ear or you’ll never be able to lie on that side again… #speakingfromexperience

One final thing – a little bit of noise in the neck is quite normal when you’re doing the exercises, so don’t panic! Try slowing the movements down or making them smaller and you should find that the noise lessens and goes away completely over time. If it feels too much to start with, concentrate on the movements/positions which feel best for you and gradually introduce the others when you’re ready.

I hope the article and exercises are helpful – I’ll be doing them too!

tmf stuff:

Following on from last week, just a reminder that remaining spaces on all courses are now available to book via the website. If you still need to secure your regular space ready for September you can do so here. If you know of anyone who might be interested in feeling better about their body please share the flyers below to encourage them to come along to your class with you from September.

Next week I am seeing PT and massage clients Monday-Thursday and I have just one massage space available @ 3.30pm on Wednesday 2nd August. If you are in pain and think that massage might help you (it almost certainly will) let me know if you would like to take that space.

take time retreat updates:

This project is rapidly consuming my every waking thought. I’m so excited to be finally doing this. I can feel it in my heart & soul.

[As I wrote that I burst into this song which made me laugh out loud so I thought I’d share the moment with you…]

For anyone who has added their name to the registration list I will be in touch very soon. I’ve had another play with logos today and I’m putting the finishing touches to the information you’ll need so I will get it all sent out shortly.

If you would like to get on the list you can do so here. You can also follow everything on twitter and Instagram as well as facebook!! I’m going for full-on social media coverage so just pick whichever platform works best for you!

If you’re not at all interested, I’m sorry for going on about it but you can always resort to the time-honoured trick of putting your fingers in your ears while singing ‘la-la-la’ every time I mention it!!

& finally:

Is this you?

Or just me?!

Have fun with your neck exercises over the weekend Jx



taking time

Today is the first day of my first long weekend of the summer…and I’ve been sat at my computer since 7.30am! But sometimes you just feel inspired to put down on paper all the ideas that have been formulating in your head for the past few weeks and once you start you find that you can’t stop…

Part of the reason that I’m working today is because yesterday afternoon I took time out to do this:

I’m a big believer in taking time.

It’s hugely important in a busy life to sometimes take time for yourself to do things which nourish your soul. I have done it for as long as I can remember – probably ever since I first became a single-parent (funny that, huh??!) – and although I’m not quite as good at doing it these days, I think it’s just because I’ve got better at creating a peaceful, soulful life for myself and most days include some of the stuff that I love to do.

Last weekend, for the whole weekend, I sat behind my sewing machine and although some of the process (ie making 32 metres of piping) was a tad tedious, it reminded me how much I love making stuff. My dining room still looks like a work-room because I haven’t finished last weeks’ project yet (and because I have two more sewing projects lined up) but even in all the mess I feel truly happy that I’ll be getting my sewing machine out again as soon as I’ve done this!

Today has been spent making up for taking time yesterday by creating some graphics for my take time retreat which takes place on 7th-10th November 2017.

I’ve had so much fun putting all my ideas on paper and getting a team of amazing people on board to help me deliver this event. Please check out the updates I’ve made to my women’s wellness retreats page and add yourself to the registration link if you’d like to be the first to receive details as soon as they are available.

I have also set up a new page on facebook which you can find (& like) here and if you feel inclined to share the link I would be very grateful.

Next week & beyond:

We have now finished all classes and courses until September so I would like to wish you all a restful summer break. I will write up some ‘homework’ sessions for Fitness Pilates and Kettlercise and share them here in the next couple of weeks.

Contrary to popular believe I am not having a 6-week break but I will be enjoying an extra evening off each week, some long weekends and some time to spend doing other stuff so I’m really looking forward to all of that.

I will still be seeing PT & massage clients throughout the summer so let me know if you would like to book a massage treatment. I have the following times available over the next few weeks:

  • Wednesday 26th July @ 12.30pm
  • Wednesday 2nd August @ 12.30pm, 2pm or 3.30pm
  • Tuesday 8th August @ 1.30pm, 3pm or 6pm
  • Wednesday 9th August @ 2pm, 3.30pm, 5pm or 6.30pm

For later dates or potentially different times please drop me an email. For details of what I treat refer to my clinical massage page.

Course re-enrolments:

Thank you to those who have already signed up for next term – I look forward to seeing you in September. I’ll send out course dates and confirmations nearer the start of term.

If you are a current participant and would like to continue in September but haven’t yet re-enrolled, please don’t leave it too late as priority re-enrolment has now ended and your space is no longer secure. You can sign up via the link in the email I sent you, or via the link below, but please note you no longer need to add the password given.

If you know anyone who might like to join you next term please share the booking link with them whilst there are still spaces available.

& finally:

I remembered this quote today when I was working on my retreat page and I thought it was worth a share here too:

“In a world where you can be anything, be yourself” Etta Turner

Great words to take into the weekend Jx

end of term report

As we head into the school summer holidays next week this is a bit of a ‘wrapping up after the current term & last weeks’ first aid courses’ and ‘looking ahead to the summer and my first women’s wellness retreat’ newsletter…

Firstly, a quick follow-up to last week’s first aid courses:

Thank you to everyone who came and participated and fully engaged with the two first aid courses last Sunday. I loved the enthusiasm you all brought to the room and it was fabulous to see your confidence grow as we practiced and practiced again. Learning this stuff for the first time is daunting and of the course the subject matter is pretty sobering, but by practising we all put ourselves in a much stronger position should we ever need to use this IRL.

Here’s a montage of pictures from the day just so you can get a taste of what the training involves:

I had some really great feedback from the course. In fact it was so positive that we’re going to run another course later in the year.

From this course there was a profit of £195.50 (thanks again to Benenden village hall for waiving the hall hire fee) so there’s already that amount set aside to put towards the cost of a new defibrillator (AED). Hopefully with more notice we can get more people on board and raise twice the amount next time. A defib costs around £600 so that’s my target.

Did you know that getting a defibrillator onto someone who is not breathing gives them an 80% chance of survival? But for every minute it takes to get it there, the chance of survival drops by 10%. So if it takes 5 minutes they are down to a 30% chance… Even though we are pretty well-supplied with publicly accessible AEDs in our local villages they may still be several minutes away when they are needed. The maths is simple – the more AEDs there are, the less time it takes to get one. I’d like to buy one before the end of 2017 so I’ll be posting up new training dates soon.

Secondly, a really simple but super-important thing we can all do with our mobile phone:

If you text (DO NOT CALL) the word ‘register’ to 999 and then reply ‘yes’ to the message you receive back, your mobile phone will be registered to the emergency services so that if you ever have to make a 999 (or 112) call where there is not a good mobile phone signal, you may be able to send a text instead and still get through to the emergency services. This registration service also enables deaf, hard of hearing and speech-impaired people to text message the emergency services. You can find full details at

I heard about this the last time I renewed my first aid qualification but then forgot about it again until we were told on Sunday. Please do it now. It only takes a few seconds and the service only works if you have pre-registered your phone.

Here’s screenshot from my phone so you can see what you need to do:

Thirdly, this is the last week for classes:

The last classes this term take place on Monday 17th (Fitness Pilates @ 8.10pm in Benenden) & Thursday20th (Kettlercise @ 9.10am in Benenden). There are no Friday classes this week as the hall was not available due to a prior booking.

If I don’t see you this week, I hope you have a great summer break and I’ll be in touch with some home workout ideas in the next week or so…

Re-enrolment details and links were sent out on Monday to all current participants. Please check your inbox if you haven’t found them yet and let me know if you can’t track them down. Priority re-enrolment lasts until 9am on Friday 21st July so your space is secure until then. After that time I will remove the passwords so that spaces will be freely available via my website. If there is any reason why you are not be able to book within this time frame (especially in the case of Fitness Pilates classes) please let me know as soon as possible because once the spaces are gone, they are gone…

As always, if you have any questions about next term or classes in general please drop me an email:

Fourthly, I am really excited to finally be able to share some details with you of my first women’s wellness retreat:

I have wanted to do this for a couple of years but until now I’ve not been brave enough to believe I can do it! And if I’m totally honest (which I always try to be) I’m still a bit scared, but I actually think that’s a good thing so I’ve taken the plunge and booked the venue before I chicken out!!

I have brilliant support from Leah who is going to create amazing food to nourish us. I have also arranged for two really beautiful souls to each bring their own incredible energy to the retreat, in the form of singing bowls, healing hands and yoga. And I have booked two wonderful ladies to run a fabulous creative workshop…

Of course there’s plenty more to do but I am really excited to see all the pieces coming together to create a truly restful and restorative retreat where women can ‘take time’ to reconnect with themselves and take that sense of connection back out into the world when they leave.

I have added a new page – ‘women’s wellness retreats’ – to my website so you can visit there for more details and register your interest if you would like to receive further information as soon as it is available.

Please feel free to share far and wide…

& finally:

Even though classes are stopping for the summer, I am still working and I will continue to offer massage treatments so please get in touch if you would like to book an appointment over the next few weeks.

If you’re going away on holiday I hope you have an amazing time, safe travels and lots of sun-cream…

If like me you’re having a staycation, I hope you also have an amazing time, that the sun keeps shining and that you relish the fact that you don’t have to travel anywhere at all!

#happysummer wherever you’re spending it




dear younger self

Dear younger self…

I saw an online meme earlier in the week which caught my eye so I saved it on my phone while I gave it some thought.

What would write in your letter to your younger self?

What would you thank your younger self for?

I’ve often used a letter writing format to tackle troubled thoughts and cope with difficult situations. Sometimes I save them, sometimes I burn them and let go of the pain they hold. Once in a while I send them, but only rarely. I have also sporadically kept a diary when I’ve needed to give myself a chance to dissect and make sense of the stuff in my head. But I don’t think I have ever written a letter to myself before, although I’m not sure why not since it makes perfect sense to do so.

To start with I had misremembered the question and spent too long thinking what advice I would give my younger self. And then I put on my reading glasses and realised that the actual question was completely different! So here’s what I came up with once I got back on track:

“Dear younger self,

Thank you for having the courage to know that you could do anything you decided to do. Your school reports were right – ‘Jane could do well if she applied herself’ – thank you for believing that in your heart and proving it time and time again. I’m proud of all the ways you have applied yourself to overcoming the challenges life has presented you with.

Thank you for being resilient when you needed to be – staying strong when it would have been easy to give up. Thank you for having the self-belief to make difficult decisions, rather than meekly following people who didn’t have your best interests at heart.

Thank you for having the strength of mind to understand that somehow everything would be ok, even when you couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully we’re both still a long way from the end of the tunnel but from where I’m standing I can tell you that everything is ok, just like you knew it would be.

Thank you for giving me the foundations to be me


Now it’s your turn!!

Go on – give it a try.

Obviously you don’t have to share, although you can if you want to, but even if you keep it to yourself it’s a great exercise in taking a moment in time to appreciate all that you are, where you started and who you have become. In a world where we so often pull ourselves down (or let others do that) take time to celebrate your younger self this weekend.

First Aid courses:

Thank you very much to those of you who have booked onto one of this weekends’ first aid courses (details below in case you missed them somehow) – I look forward to seeing you all there. I sent out a confirmation email yesterday so hopefully you have already found that in your inbox.

There is still time to book and still plenty of spaces available so please keep sharing the information with local friends and family. Bookings and information can be found here.

I have had several people ask if I will be running the courses again as the date/time didn’t suit this time around. Although I never say never (or not often anyway!!) it has been hard to find a time when the trainer and the hall space are both available at a time that is also ideal for a large number of participants, so I probably won’t be repeating the courses. In other words, if you would like to do it, this Sunday would be a great time to do so!

tmf stuff:

We are gently rolling towards the end of the current class terms (two more weeks for Mondays and Thursdays; one more week left on Friday mornings due to a prior hall booking) so get your fix now before the summer break. You know you’re going to miss your weekly sessions when we take a break!!

Now that I have finalised the dates for my Women’s Wellness ‘Take Time’ Retreat (more details very soon) I will be putting together all the course dates for next term over the next week or so and booking details will be winging their way to your inbox shortly.

There will be a change on Friday mornings from September as I will only be holding one FP class at 10.20am, but with the numbers as they are this term there will still be space for everyone who is currently booked. One of the advantages of being self-employed is that I can help my daughter while she is on maternity leave by collecting my grand-daughter from nursery on Friday lunch times, which means that I will no longer be able to run the later class. I hope those of you currently at 11.30am can make the earlier time and if not I hope you can understand my decision.

To celebrate the end of term on Fridays I have booked a table at The Walled Nursery for 1pm on 14th July so I hope that 10.20am & 11.30am participants can all make it on that date and sit down for an end of term FPF lunch together. Please let me know if you will be there.

Before all of that, here’s how next week is looking:

  • Monday 10th July – PT clients and Fitness Pilates @ 8.10pm in Benenden
  • Tuesday 11th – PT & massage clients plus seniors Fitness Pilates @ 10.40am in Sissinghurst
  • Wednesday 12th – PT & massage clients
  • Thursday 13th – PT clients and Kettlercise @ 9.10am in Benenden
  • Friday 14th – PT clients and Fitness Pilates @ 10.20am & 11.30am followed by lunch at The Walled Nursery

I have just two massage appointments available next week (Tuesday 3.30pm & 8pm) so please drop me an email if you are interested in booking either of those. If you’re interested but not sure whether massage will help you, let’s talk.

& finally:

Here’s a photo from my recent Jing graduation ceremony.

Just look at the smile on my face!

I don’t often see my smile – maybe it doesn’t even happen very often – but it’s almost always there inside me. It was impossible to keep it hidden whilst under the influence of Jing and Matilda…


Have a fantastic weekend Jx




first aid courses

This week it’s all about first aid because I have finally managed to pull everything together to run two first aid courses for members of the public (ie. you!!!)

Benenden village hall have very kindly discounted their fee for hall hire and my lovely trainer (Mary Matson) is giving up her Sunday to come and run the courses for me next weekend. After I have paid the hall hire and the trainer everything else will go towards funding a new local defibrillator so I hope that you will all support the training either by booking a space or by spreading the word to your local friends and family…scroll down for all the details and the booking link.

When are the courses?

Both courses are running on Sunday 9th July in the small hall at Benenden village hall. All equipment will be provided including a first aid book for you to take home with you. The training will be a mixture of theory and practical so please bring a pen and notepad with you and wear clothing which is comfortable to move around in. We will have access to the kitchen for making tea & coffee.

  • Essential First Aid (adults) is 9am-1pm
  • First Aid for baby & child is 1.30-5.30pm

Who can attend?

Both courses are designed for members of the public and no prior first aid experience is required. The courses are aimed at adults but young adults aged 12-16 are very welcome to attend with a responsible adult who is also booked onto the course.

Please note these courses are not certified and therefore they do not meet work-place requirements. Obviously the content is the same but it is delivered at a level suitable for members of the public and not geared towards any specific occupation.

Which course should I attend?

Of course we all hope we will never be faced with a first aid emergency but in case we are it is so helpful to know what to do. These courses are designed to give you the skills and confidence to handle a first aid emergency situation.

The Essential First Aid course deals specifically with treatment of adult casualties, covering the following topics:

  • choking
  • severe bleeding
  • chest pain
  • an unresponsive casualty
  • using a defibrillator (AED)

This will give you confidence when dealing with any of these first aid emergencies which may arise in your home or neighbourhood. Most local villages have defibrillators accessible to members of the public. Although they are designed to be used without prior training, this course will give you the knowledge, skills & confidence to use them more easily if required to do so.

The First Aid for baby & child deals specifically with treatment for infants, covering the following topics:

  • choking
  • seizures
  • head injuries
  • broken bones, sprains and strains
  • burns
  • severe allergic reactions
  • heavy bleeding
  • an unresponsive child

This course is ideal for parents, grand-parents, family members and baby-sitters who look after babies or children. None of us ever want to be in a position where our child needs first aid treatment but having the skills to know what to do will make you feel much more confident if the situation arises.

Who is teaching the courses?

With the exception of one course renewal I have done all my first aid training with Mary Matson – in fact I recently worked out that I have known her almost as long as I have known my youngest child!

I have always been a reluctant first aid trainee – not least because snogging a plastic doll isn’t really my idea of fun – but Mary has a way of making it feel ok. She is gentle and supportive in her teaching. She is patient and non-judgemental. Whenever I have been involved in any first aid situation I have been able to draw on my training with Mary to deal with the matter at hand.

She has 30+ years of experience as a first aid trainer (and a first aider) and runs her own training company.

How much do the courses cost?

I have priced the courses at £35 each with a view that any profit will form the start of a collection to provide a local venue with a defibrillator. I am not taking any income from these courses but obviously I need to pay for Mary’s time and skills and cover the discounted hall hire.

My original idea was to donate any profit to a charity but Mary suggested that funding a defibrillator was the best way for us all to do our bit in getting these life-saving machines everywhere and I think it is a great idea. I will speak to the local First Responder to find out where there is a need for a defibrillator and how best to fund it.

In a situation where it is required, the sooner a defibrillator is used on a casualty, the greater the chances that they will survive. None of us knows if/when we or someone we love will need access to one of these machines but let’s see if we can at least part-fund an extra one for our patch.

If you are not able to attend either of the courses but would like to make a donation please drop me an email and I will let you know how you can do that.

How do I book?

Easy peasy! Just click on this link to find details and booking links for both courses. Let me know if you have any questions at all.

Please share!

I would dearly love to fill both courses so that we get 24 newly trained people out on the street and make maximum use of Mary’s expertise. Even if this is not something relevant for you right now, please share with anyone local who might be interested. You can share this email with them or copy and share the flyers below.

What if I can’t make that date??

If you would like to come but already have plans for 9th July, maybe you could change them…??

  • swap lunch with friends for dinner with friends?
  • or move next weekend to the weekend after?
  • or book your friends onto the course with you?

Your friends aren’t going anywhere but you (& they) might one day be glad that you did some training in first aid… #justsaying

I really hope you can make it next Sunday – we’d love to see you there x

tmf stuff:

Next week looks like this:

  • Monday 3rd July – PT clients and Fitness Pilates @ 8.10pm in Benenden
  • Tuesday – PT & massage clients and seniors Fitness Pilates @ 10.40am in Sissinghurst
  • Wednesday – PT & massage clients
  • Thursday – PT clients and Kettlercise @ 9.10am in Benenden
  • Friday – PT clients and Fitness Pilates @ 10.20am & 11.30am in Iden Green
  • Sunday – essential first aid course (adults) 9am-1pm & first aid for baby & child 1.30-5.30pm in Benenden village hall

I have some massage availability for next week as follows:

  • Tuesday 4th @ 4.30pm & 6pm
  • Wednesday 5th @ 2pm & 3.30pm

Please let me know if you are interested in booking a treatment.

& finally:

I have seven beautiful agapanthus blooms in my garden right now and by the time I get home in the afternoons their shadow extends across my patio. I can’t stop taking photos of them so I thought I’d share one with you…

I hope your weekend is full of beautiful flowers too


has bean

I ‘has bean’ spending some time this week trying out recipes from Elly Pear’s ‘Let’s Eat’ (see last week’s newsletter for more details on this lovely new cook-book). I should stress that I’m not on commission (Elly won’t even know I’m writing this) but I am a huge fan of her style of writing and her way of organising flavours and foods into something fresh and inspiring.

I was really excited to make the ‘lentil, tomato & coconut dhal’ and I thought it would be my first dip into the book, but instead I started with ‘black beans – refried if you like’ swiftly followed by the ‘mushroom, lentil and walnut ragu’. Both recipes are great and I have these two stored in the freezer in individual portions ready for quick, easy, healthy, nutritious, home-cooked meals in a hurry.

I tried the black beans with tortilla tostadas and mashed avocado which was a really filling late lunch that kept me going through to breakfast the next day. I have never liked refried beans (I think I’ve only had them made from kidney beans before) but this version has a good texture and tastes delicious as well as being a versatile base for other dishes. I think this will be a regular in my kitchen from now on.

I ate a portion of the lentil ragu as a quick lunch on Monday, reheated in a pan and served with sliced avocado. When I made this recipe I mixed in some different varieties of mushroom and the flavour of these with the green lentils and tomatoes is amazing. The nuts give an interesting texture to the finished dish – I didn’t have enough walnuts so I subbed in some cashews instead and they worked fine. It’s great to find recipes which can be easily and successfully adapted to suit what you have available.

As I write I’m (finally) cooking the lentil dhal (which is taking longer than planned – maybe due to using Prince Charles’ organic red lentils instead of a cheaper brand??!). When it’s ready it will be a late lunch/evening meal served with home-grown (not by me!) mange tout peas but I have also been brave and bought tofu so I can try out one of Elly Pear’s suggestions (dhal served with ‘seared tofu, avocado. pickles and seeds’) at a later date. I’m not yet a fan of tofu but I’m hoping to be converted now I know more about how to cook it!

Five things I’ve noticed this week since I bought ‘Let’s Eat’:

  1. I’m feeling more interested in cooking than I have for a while – a good cook-book will do that in the same way that all good books have the power to inspire us
  2. I feel really well (compared to how I have felt lately) – more energy even though I’ve been working long days and we’ve had some hot weather (in case you hadn’t noticed?)
  3. I haven’t felt hungry between meals – no doubt because I’m actually eating meals instead of filling up on cheese/crackers/apples when I’m hungry
  4. I haven’t eaten (or wanted to eat) any rubbish this week – ok I did eat a magnum on Monday but only because it was hot and I did at least walk to the shop and back so I think I can get away with that one!
  5. Even when I haven’t had anything freshly cooked (ie on days when I haven’t had time to do it) I have made much better meal choices than I have ‘bean’ doing – eg. scrambled eggs and asparagus for breakfast one day; olives, feta cheese and artichoke hearts for supper one night; nuts to snack on when I’m not at home for a meal…

I’m sharing this not to boast at all, but simply to remind myself, and anyone else who needs a reminder, that how we eat has such power to transform how we feel. Even though we all know this stuff I am genuinely surprised at how different I feel and how quickly I started to feel different.

If eating well can make me feel great on a week when I’ve worked some really long days, slept not so well due to the heat and at a time when I haven’t ‘bean’ feeling 100% for a while, imagine how awesome we could all feel if we ate well on good weeks too!! And it’s not just our bodies & brains that benefit – if you are responsible for feeding young people, think how much nicer they will be to live with if they eat well?!

Maybe you already eat really well, maybe you do it sometimes and then fall off the wagon, or maybe you need a good cook-book to get you inspired too…?

tmf stuff:

Firstly, a big thank you to my lovely Friday FP people who accommodated my last minute change of plans last week so that I could get to Brighton for my graduation without melting in a pool of sweat as a result of a last-minute dash to get there on time. Thanks to you (and in spite of an unplanned drive home for a bra that I forgot to pack!) I arrived in good time, not too sweaty and not too dishevelled. I don’t have any photos but there will be one or two in due course, which I will share if I feel they are worthy of sharing…

And secondly well done to everyone for coping with training in the heat this week – although I love it I am a little bit happy that it has cooled down slightly since Wednesday.

So next week looks like this:

  • Monday 26th June – PT clients and Fitness Pilates @ 8.10pm in Benenden
  • Tuesday 27th – PT clients and seniors Fitness Pilates @ 10.40am in Sissinghurst
  • Wednesday 28th – PT and massage clients
  • Thursday 29th – PT clients and Kettlercise @ 9.10am in Benenden
  • Friday 30th – PT clients and Fitness Pilates @ 10.20am & 11.30am in Iden Green

If anyone is interested in the book I have been using this week in Fitness Pilates it is called ‘the art of breathing’ by Dr Danny Penman. It has some lovely, easy-to-follow breathing meditations that you can try at home if you are interested in mindfulness.

Clinical massage:

If you have a massage booked in the coming weeks and you’re worried about the heat (just in case it lasts a while) I have bought some super-sized, super-soft, cotton Turkish towels so they are an option if you prefer not to be snuggled up inside two super-sized bath-sheets on a really hot day. I bought them with pregnant clients in mind but they have been a popular choice with all clients this week.

If you are interested in booking a massage next week I currently have availability on Tuesday 27th @ 3pm & 4.30pm and Wednesday 28th @ 8pm.

For details on availability in the coming weeks please drop me an email and I will let you know what I have.

First aid courses:

I have a bit of an update since last week –

  • the likely date for the courses is Sunday 9th July in Benenden village hall
  • the morning course will run 9am-1pm (approx) and will be an emergency first aid course for members of the public (ie. it is a public course rather than a work-related course) covering emergency first aid for adults
  • the afternoon course will run 1.30pm-5.30pm (approx) and will be a baby and child first aid course (also a public course suitable for anyone who has or cares for babies and children)

As soon as I have full details including costs and number of spaces I will put together a flyer to promote the courses via my facebook pages and via direct email to interested parties. If you haven’t already done so you can follow my facebook page here to ensure that you don’t miss the information.

Please let me know if you &/or friends are interested.

& finally:

Have you always fancied having a go at SUP (stand-up paddle-boarding)?? I have and I know a man (or rather I know his wife) who will run a small group session just for us if there is enough interest!!

A half-day session for beginners to learn SUP at Bewl Water will cost £30 each with tuition and equipment provided. The session can be 9.30am-12.30pm or 1.30-4.30pm any weekday. We ideally need 8 interested parties so if this is something you have always wanted to try please let me know NOW so that we can get the ball rolling. If there is enough interest I will firm up a date and time with Richard and confirm it with you all.

Just think how cool it will be to learn a new skill and have some time just for you, away from all that life demands of you…

& finally, finally:

I’ve been thinking about adding cat-pilates to the timetable – what do you think??!




I’m a little bit embarrassed to be writing about batch-cooking while my ready-made (by Waitrose) crust less green vegetable and feta quiche is heating up in the oven…BUT it is at least accompanied by some home-cooked roasted vegetables that I batch-cooked at the weekend.

In a previous lifetime when I was a chef, and another lifetime when, for a couple of years, I didn’t work full-time, I spent many happy hours batch-cooking and sometimes I still get inspired to do it. The problem when you’re batch-cooking for one is that you tend to eat the same thing every day for a few days until it is gone, and then you never want to eat it again!

One solution is to make several different batches at once, freeze them all in single-sized portions and ring the changes by defrosting a different meal each day. Which works on one level, but still results in mealtime déjà vu.

The other solution is to buy Elly Pear’s beautiful new cook book ‘Let’s Eat’ which was published on Thursday. I had my copy on pre-order so was really excited to find it on the doorstep when I got home. The book includes:

  • batch-cooking recipes which work brilliantly as they are but which can also be transformed by using the original recipe as the basis for other meals (with the recipes for all the dishes)
  • building blocks which are simple foods to have in the fridge or larder on which a wide range of meals can be based
  • a whole section on menus & recipes for different situations (eg. ‘baby shower brunch for a crowd with breast-feeding mums who could eat a horse’ or ‘dinner for four when you want to show off a bit but not stress’)

All the recipes are meat-free, mostly vegetarian and some with fish. All the recipes are easy to follow, quick to make and cost-efficient too. There’s really nothing not to love here!

I went to Spain about 10 years ago and Elly (real name Curshen not Pear!) was in the group of us that set off to L’Alberca for a week of English conversation with Spanish-speaking business people. It was a great week (life-changing for me as it turned out) – very busy & very boozy – and if I’m honest I don’t really remember too much about Elly, except that she smiled A LOT & she made us all go out and drink sherry when we got back to Madrid!

Since then she has set up The Pear Café in Bristol and published her first cook book ‘Fast Days & Feast Days’ (which is well worth a look if you haven’t already done so). I love her style of writing and her passion for food and flavours. It really speaks to me and my preferred style of eating (even though it is not what I practice often enough). I love the way that she makes it easy to eat interesting meals and I can’t wait to dive into this book. First up for me will be the lentil, tomato & coconut dhal which looks and sounds amazing…I’ll let you know next week!

& in the meantime if you want to buy a copy it’s available at half price at the moment…

tmf stuff:

It was strange that not everyone came back to Kettlercise this week?! In the heat on Thursday it was an even sweatier workout than last week but ‘inferno’ still felt awesome! Please come back next week – let’s make it a full house…you know you want to!!

As for the rest of next week, it looks like this:

  • Monday 19th – PT clients and Fitness Pilates (8.10pm in Benenden)
  • Tuesday 20th – PT clients, massage clients and seniors Fitness Pilates (10.40am in Sissinghurst)
  • Wednesday 21st – PT clients and massage clients (and a trip to the dog groomer for Archie)
  • Thursday 22nd – PT clients and ‘inferno’ @ Kettlercise (9.10am in Benenden)
  • Friday 23rd – PT clients and Fitness Pilates (10.20am & 11.30am in Iden Green)

I look forward to seeing you all at some point next week.

& finally:

I realise I have been very quiet about a few planned projects recently, but please rest assured that I am committed to doing my absolute best to make the following things happen:

  • a couple of first aid courses for members of the public who would like to learn some basic skills – I am hoping to set this up on a weekend day (half day for an emergency first aid course & half day for a baby & child first aid course) but need an indication of which day would be most popular. If you think you might be interested could you let me know whether Saturday or Sunday is best so that I can try to book a hall space and my lovely first aid trainer. There will be a cost for the courses but I will keep it as low as possible, just to cover hall hire and the trainer’s costs.
  • a second raw chocolate workshop – again, if you think you might be interested please let me know whether a Friday evening or a Saturday morning is best for you
  • my wellness retreat aimed at women over 50 who would like to hang up their life for a few days and nights and enjoy some serious ‘me-time’ – this is loosely scheduled for October/November with final details to be arranged in the next 3 weeks. If you think you might be interested in this event please drop me an email and I will make sure you are the first to know about it once I have all the details finalised.

I think that’s enough planning for the time-being, but if I missed anything, give me a nudge because sometimes I forget to keep all the plates spinning!

If you’re at Elbow on Saturday I’ll see you down the front by the stage (or in the queue for the ladies?!) and if you’re not at Elbow on Saturday night, I hope you have something equally lovely to look forward to.



learned in kindergarten

A few weeks ago I tracked down a poem which I used to have on my office wall many years ago. I was walking the dog when I thought about it and could only remember one line, but Google being Google helped me to go straight to it. The following Monday while teaching Fitness Pilates I decided I would read it at the end of the class and I found myself getting really emotional as I did so because I really belief the truth of these words.

I don’t think I like the world very much these days. My coping mechanism is to go inward and create distractions which help my own little world feel safe. I dig the soil in my garden, I look at pretty things, I switch off from social media, I light candles, I listen to the rain, I drink green tea, I eat chocolate, I dream of seeing humpback whales…

In these messy times, I think this poem sums up for me all the things which matter most (apart from the milk, because milk NEVER features in my life!). If I was going to be a political party I would borrow Robert Fulghum’s words as the basis for my manifesto.

All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum

“Most of what I really need to know about how to live,

And what to do and how to be,

I learned in kindergarten.

Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain,

But there in the sand-pile at Sunday school.


These are the things I learned:

Share everything.

Play fair.

Don’t hit people.

Put things back where you found them.

Clean up your own mess.

Don’t take things that aren’t yours.

Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.

Wash your hands before you eat.


Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.


Live a balanced life –

Learn some and think some

And draw and paint and sing and dance

And play and work every day some.


Take a nap every afternoon.


When you go out into the world,

Watch out for traffic,

Hold hands and stick together.”


In fact, reading it again just now, I like it so much I have ordered the book so I can read more of his simple truths until the madness stops. I might be sharing his words with you for a while yet…

tmf stuff:

I have to start by saluting the awesome women who joined me for the new half term of Kettlercise yesterday -I think we totally rocked the new release!! ‘Inferno’ definitely got us all a bit hot and sweaty on Thursday morning. I’m already looking forward to doing it all again next week…don’t you dare find excuses not to come back!

Secondly someone said to me this week how much they loved the Monday evening Fitness Pilates classes and it made me feel really proud of having created a space where you can all come and set aside your life for an hour and feel better when you walk back out of the door. It also made me reflect on just how lucky I am to have all of you in my life. As I’m writing this I feel exhausted but so very appreciative of the fact that I get to spend every day doing stuff that I love. Thank you xx

The week ahead looks like this:

  • Monday 12th June – PT clients and Fitness Pilates @ 8.10pm in Benenden
  • Tuesday 13th – PT & massage clients plus seniors FP in Sissinghurst @ 10.40am
  • Wednesday 14th – PT & massage clients (I have one massage space available at 2pm in case you’d like it?)
  • Thursday 15th PT clients and Kettlercise @ 9.10am in Benenden (& my Dad’s 82nd birthday!)
  • Friday 16th – PT clients and Fitness Pilates in Iden Green @ 10.20am & 11.30am*

* as soon as I finish teaching at 12.30pm on Friday 16th I have to literally run out of the door so that I can get to Brighton on time for my Jing graduation so please note we will be starting and finishing super-promptly and no loitering or chatting will be tolerated at the end of the class. You have been warned!!

& finally:

I have recently switched over to wearing Vivobarefoot shoes and I wanted to let you know that as part of Minimalist Month they currently have an amazing sale on, in case you are interested in giving them a try. Of course we are all different, but I have long-believed that we can all benefit from creating a stronger connection between our feet and the ground we walk on. I did have a brief dabble into barefoot shoes a few years ago and it was not entirely successful then, mostly because I was impatient and didn’t give my body time to adapt. This time around I have had no problems at all and I am loving my Vivo-feet!

If you want to know more about Minimalist Month, including some great lifestyle challenges, you can visit Vivobarefoot here – your feet will thank you for it.


Wishing you a weekend full of simple things and bare feet Jx