happy birthday tmf

happy birthday tmf

I’ve never been big on birthdays but it seems rude not to celebrate the 8th birthday of my little business and all the ways it has made my life more whole.

The date is a bit woolly because actually taylor-made fitness started a little bit before this, and in terms of planning a lot sooner than this date, but I choose to celebrate on 1st October because that was the date of my first proper early-morning bootcamp in 2010. A few of you that were with me then are still with me now, and I am truly grateful for your continued support.

bootcamp barre pilates

(from bootcamp to barre)

Having a small business is a bit like having a dog in that I can look back at all the times it has been there while life has taken shape. Over the past eight years two of my children have left home, various pets have arrived, two grand-children have been born, my Mum has passed away and I like to hope I have grown a little too. As all of life has unfolded, I think that taylor-made fitness has undergone its own unfolding, reshaping, growing, changing and settling process.

On a personal level, 2018 has without a doubt been (and perhaps continues to be) my toughest year, and there have been many times that I have wanted to run away. One of the things that has kept me rooted has been my business and all of the fabulous people that are involved in it – ie. you. I know I haven’t always been at my best this year, and feel so grateful for all your patience and kindness along the way, but I hope that the time we have shared has still added value to your life and helps you to feel better about your body.

At the start of this year a friend advised me that this was my time to be fallow. I didn’t fully understand what she meant at the time but as the year has unfolded I realise that she was so right. I have tried to live quietly and gently, giving myself space and time to get used to my changed family dynamic and I feel as though I’ve recently started to turn a corner, ready to look ahead again. As I’m writing this my 2019 diary is sitting next to me on the dining room table and I’m ready to take taylor-made fitness onwards into a fresh new year…

What next?

Before I wish away the end of 2018, I’m going to make some tmf birthday celebration treats for PT and class clients on Monday, and maybe you could start thinking about how you want to spend the remaining 94 days (& counting) of this year…

  • what are you going to do with them?
  • what needs to happen to bring you’re year to a strong finish?
  • what can you do today to help you get where you want to go?

Here’s to birthdays, and celebrating progress, and looking back & looking forwards, a little bit older and hopefully a little wiser Jx

antiperspirant vs deodorant

I’ve been wanting to write a post about antiperspirant vs deodorant for ages and every time I sit down to write it I chicken out because it seems like a slightly bizarre thing to be writing about. But it is also something I feel quite evangelical about so I’m going to do it anyway!

The back-story:

Before I went to university I decided that I didn’t want to leave a boyfriend behind at home, so that I could experience all that uni-life would offer without pining for someone who wasn’t there. So my then-boyfriend soon became my ex-boyfriend, and off I went – young, free and single and determined to stay that way…

One week later I met the most amazing guy (ever!!) and not long afterwards we were living together, which was how it stayed for two years. So much for being young, free & single!!

One of the things about the amazing guy was that he was an eco-warrior, light-years ahead of his time and he was absolutely passionate about looking after the planet as well as his body & soul.

I used to laugh at him for always rinsing the washing up before it was dried, but he insisted  that chemicals in the washing up liquid were damaging to our bodies, and so I kept laughing and he kept rinsing. In the years since then I have often smiled because I always rinse any washing up that I’ve done by hand and I now believe that he was right all along.

The other ‘eco’ thing I remember about him is that he only used deodorant, never antiperspirant, because he believed that disrupting the body’s natural sweat mechanism was hugely damaging to the body. I didn’t change my behaviour on this one until fairly recently, but I have often read articles (like this one) debating the pros and cons of antiperspirant vs deodorant which brought about a gradual change in my thinking.

The present day:

I started experimenting with deodorant, rather than antiperspirant, late last year but the problem was that I couldn’t find a product that I liked enough to make the swap permanent. I tried a few brands (roll-on or stick – I don’t like aerosols) but they felt horrible on my skin. And then quite by chance I came across an online discussion and saw someone recommending a brand called Native. She said it was a brilliant product and that the company offered free shipping, so I took a look.

The first time I looked I didn’t buy anything because I saw the company is based in the USA and assumed they wouldn’t ship to the UK, or at least not for free. But on a second look I realised that they do ship free to the UK so I ordered and received my delivery. [Please don’t shoot me down for the air miles thing – I figure the plane was coming here anyway!!]

And then I didn’t use my Native deodorant for a while because I didn’t really think it would work. And then I started using it sometimes. And then I started noticing that my skin felt a bit sore on the days I used the antiperspirant instead. So now, I just use my Native deodorant all the time.

The trade off is that I do sweat a bit more – of course that’s actually the whole point, letting my body do what my body needs to do – but given that we have had some pretty extreme temperatures lately I am super-impressed by this product.

It is made from natural ingredients, contains no aluminium and is paraben-free. It has ingredients to absorb moisture and others to eliminate odour-causing bacteria.  It feels really nice to use (not sticky), it smells great (there are loads of options to choose from) and it lasts really well (which more than offsets the slightly higher cost).

So there you go. My thoughts on antiperspirant vs deodorant in case you are thinking about making the switch too.

I think the amazing guy would be very impressed, and probably quietly amused, to know that I have finally caught up with his thinking on this one, along with so many other things. If only I’d had the wisdom to listen to him all those years ago…


(PS I didn’t laugh at all his advice. I took it very much to heart when he told me that brandy was a great soother for a delicate disposition after too much cider the night before. It worked every time!)

what can Barre Pilates do for me?

What can Barre Pilates do for me?

Over the past 24 years I have taught (and attended) a very wide range of fitness classes and during that time I have often changed my mind about which class is my favourite. Like most things, fitness classes go in phases (I think I always knew that slide was never going to last!!) and gradually evolve as new options come along, and that is one of the things I love most about this industry.

Regardless of the variations available I have always tended to prefer low impact classes – I think I just like to keep my feet on the ground!

barre pilates

And although I have never been inspired to dance, I somehow always knew that I would love the discipline of standing work at the barre. So I tried it…and I do! So I trained to teach The Barre Pilates Method and I thought I’d share with you my thoughts on the benefits you can expect from Barre Pilates.

  1. it’s a low impact class which is kind to your joints, whilst toning and strengthening the muscles which support your joints; but don’t be fooled – you will still sweat because we will overload the muscles with full-range and part-range movements
  2. it’s a standing class (with about 10 minutes of mat-work at the end) which means that is great for bone loading; as we age we naturally lose bone strength so any exercise that is weight-bearing actively promotes our bone health
  3. barre pilates exercises focus on your butt, legs and core to strengthen and tone these areas of your body for better functional movement patterns in your everyday life; your butt and core are key to supporting spine health and reducing non-specific low back pain and it is important to include a focus on these areas as part of your regular fitness routine
  4. you can work at your own level so it doesn’t matter whether you can perform a deep knee bend in plié or not; you will be guided through each exercise and work within your fitness level and experience, resting when you need to
  5. we focus on your posture throughout the class to help you to find a balanced alignment in your body; this in turn promotes improved breathing patterns, improved recruitment of core muscles and improved pelvic floor function
  6. each class includes stretching and flexibility exercises during the workout and at the end of the session; stretches are used to target specific muscles but also to promote a sense of relaxation and well-being after the workout

Barre Pilates is a great addition to your regular fitness routine, and a perfect complement to other classes that you do. If you want to give it a try, I’d love to see you at the barre!



self care

Written in November 2017:

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about #selfcare & what I can add to my life to fill up my bucket over the next few months. I think over the course of 2017 I lost the balance of work & life a little bit and I don’t want to continue this way.

I’m very aware that if I’m not careful the things I add will start to feel like stuff-that-has-to-be-done which of course takes away the joy of doing them… The hours I work don’t leave much time for regular extra-curricular things so I’ve decided to focus on adding ‘ad hoc’ things I can do when I feel able to. My goal is definitely to add quality but not quantity. I already have enough quantity going on…!

In the context of my own life, I was already thinking about how important #selfcare is when I had a conversation with a client one evening and was quite saddened by something she said.

She has recently experienced some leg pain and after some successful soft tissue work with her last week, I advised her on a couple of simple release exercises she could use during the week to keep her feeling more comfortable. She has been frustrated by her limited ability to exercise and is keen to get back to running. We were catching up on her week, and talking about whether she had done any of the releases I had suggested and she said that she had literally not had the required two minutes on any day since I had seen her last!!


We had a pretty light-hearted chat about where she might have found those two minutes each day, but I really hope the message was loud & clear:

if we never put ourselves at the top of our own to-do list, we’ll never be at the top of our to-do list!

My lovely (& undeniably very busy) client had put everything else on her list – stroke the dogs, sort through the post, organise the children to practise their music, make the dinner, a large G&T…and I’m not in any way saying that those things are not important BUT I am definitely saying that those things are not more important than her leg. I hope she heard me – I’ll be checking with her next week for sure!

Self-care comes in all shapes and sizes.

If we ignore our body when it is in pain, the pain is not going to go away, and it will probably get worse and require more time in the long run.

In the same way, if we ignore a lack of balance in our work & life, it probably isn’t going to become any more balanced…

What shape does your #selfcare look like?