All the weird and wonderful things that help to inspire me on a daily basis.


Autumn Falls A Little Sooner Than I’d Like It To.

This year autumn seemed to come so much earlier than usual. Despite the wettest August I can recall, my garden looks both massively overgrown and quite finished.  I felt it come about the second week of August, and it made me quite melancholy, There is so much I could do, should do, and no doubt, will wish that I had done. It  feels slightly more final than usual.

As a bona fide Winter baby, I love the crisp cool fall mornings, the change of the colour of the sky, the change in the taste of the day.  Perhaps instead of the riot of fall colour, it’s the smell of the dying leaves that I notice. The swallows have long since departed. The darkness that greets me at 5:30 am isn’t  welcome, the evenings are drawing in much to soon.

Harvey, my cat  looks like he is wearing a winter blanket already. And the mornings are more nippy than dainty little Daisy likes, although she is nearly as fuzzy as her brother. I have worn socks already, and a proper winter coat. too.

And yet,…..and yet I am glad in some small dark corner of my heart, that the smell of wood smoke will soon fill the evening air, that beautiful crisp cloudy cider will be set aside to go hard. That the crocuses will pop up, and the honey will be brought in.

I have sage and herb bundles drying, and the fruits of the allotment in the freezer. Huge dark purple clematis hang in trellis nets, and the last roses fierce & thorny guard their territories. The ivy is fresh and  bright green, the wisteria still growing wildly, for I don’t care to tame her over-much.

At home, the salmon will be running, and the first elk season is just finished,
The hay is safely in, and the pumpkins are growing ever more golden.The overhead phone lines used to sag under the tremendous weight of thousands of goldfinches, waiting for the urge to go. While the Indian summer slips in like an imposter, in place of the real one, before the storms of winter come.

The woodpile, neatly split and stacked,  at my brother’s house will be steadily growing. The water pump will already have it’s winter fleece jacket on. The summer screens are locked away, the window shutters up.  I know the emergency generator will be primed and ready, candles on the side.

The windfall apples lay in the orchard, nearly forgotten now. I wonder if anyone will gather and press them for cider, or if the deer will get them all. I wonder if anyone will rush out to see the salmon make the last dash  home to spawn, or lay out in the grass to watch the meter showers that herald the turning year. I wonder if the valley misses me, the way I miss it.

And in the end it always comes much to soon, the browning field mushrooms, the dying grapes of wrath, the sun becoming softer until it can sit on you all day and not leave a single mark. The geese are noisy  in chevron flight. The fragile cobweb strung with dewy jewels.  And the mists of night, wrap us all in mystery and an etherealness that defies gravity.




Diary of a Champion, or Russ Dawkins Rides Again

As many of you know Russ, you’ll know he lives to do more, be more, be better every time he does anything, ever. So his horrific fall off his bike in 2013 wasn’t going to be the game over that was predicted by all the best medical personal who saw, treated & put back together his mangled body.

Russ has never ever quit from anything in his life (and although I haven’t known him that long, I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this is true). Won’t quit. Not in his vocabulary, or in his genes.

So here are just a few of the things that he can do, is doing & will be doing.

He had his 1 year anniversary in June, & we spent some of it together. Every bit time I get to spend with him is special. I learn so much, & enjoy his company so much that I feel really privileged to work with him. Thanks Russ!
Things he can do now:
Drive anywhere he wants to go, now that he has hand controls installed.
Go to work. In Sept, going back full time, apart from Training for Racing!
Drive a go kart with hand controls.
Sit Ski
Vertical Swim (forwards) 500 m 30 min backstroke 500 m 15 min.
Has a brand new recline arm bike, & on Aug 21st in 30+ degree heat did 17,18 mikes in 1:16;57 – 13.91 mph.
Compare that to his first long arm bike ride on July 27th – a lap around Richmond Park cycle track – 7.3 miles – just a bit over 12 k in 32 min.
Russ is soon going on an Arm bike cycling week end at Stoke Mandeville to get professional tips for paras.
This is going to make it so much easier for him.
He will be in training for 3rd week of September: 40 odd miles on an  arm bike a day for 3 days to follow his mates on the Devizes to Westminster kayak race.  Although they missed the DW International Canoe Race this year, ( it was in April) the group he was cycling with in France at the time of his accident, are all going to do it in September.
Russ has done this race for the last nearly 15 odd years, apart from last year.  In 2011, he became a DW 1000 mile member by completing the race 8 times.  In 2012, he & his rowing partner made it in 07:06:19 – they must have been seriously moving!
 To be prepared this time, he is doing a para rowing safety course.
This is what he has to say about it:

“Very soon, I go on a 3 day intro to para rowing camp. As I can’t sit up straight in a wheelchair , it’s going to be a real challenge in a boat, but I’m sure the boat people will be used to paralysed people  potentially falling out of boats so will have a plan to prevent that.

The first day is theory and capsize drill.”

He can’t wait for that part!

Russ was due to compete (again) this year in the Yukon 1000 & in 2009, when  he & his teammates produced the fastest ever time record – which still stands.

Sadly he was unable to make it this year, but I’d bet he’s thinking of how he can compete & complete it in the future

If any of you are moved to  read his story, or wish to donate, please click on the following link:


Also, our incredible friend Terry Rodham is competing in the Welsh Ironman on September 14th to raise money:


Triathlon & Elite Runners Training Recovery Made Simpler

Now is great time to sort out the niggles that plague you during or after a training session.

  • See a Physiotherapist  to get the best advice on strength and stability exercises.  Schedule regular MOT sessions, especially as you get fitter, and your training and competing intensify.
  • Engage a PT to help you create a program that takes your particular needs into consideration whilst training.
  • Think about preventing , rather than treating injuries ( as little as 5 minutes warming up can save you weeks of setback).
  • If you have knee,  feet or gait problems, see a good  podiatrist.
  • A good chiropodist  will make your feet feel like they are floating on air, and get rid of corns and calluses, if you are better balanced, you perform better.
  • If you regularly see and osteopath or chiropractor,  set up a schedule of maintenance appointments, to help you stay on top of the big challenges.
  • Do other types of exercise to strengthen your overall fitness – pilates, yoga, swimming,dance, and stretch classes are just a few of the options that will improve your core fitness.
  • See a Bodyworker or a Massage therapist  regularly- with well over a hundred different types of therapy, there is something for nearly everyone.
  • Check your shoes and kit frequently. Replace your shoes before they actually wear out- saving wear and tear on you.
  • Consider some the amazing compression gear available for athletes.  My clients have recovered quicker, used less energy, and preformed better in compression wear.
  • The time to try out new things, is not the day before or the day of the race! Try your new gear on well beforehand, so you know it’s comfortable.
  • Eat well, sleep well,  & stay well hydrated.
  • Add a cup of Epsom or Dead Sea Salts to your bath – soak 20 minutes and you will have less aches and pains – it’s the magnesium and trace minerals that make the difference!

           Cold water and ice therapy is becoming quite popular, here are some tips to get the most out of it. 

  • DO: Consider using cold therapy & compression wraps, such as Arctic Ease after your training or event.
  • DO: Consider starting a bit higher and inch this downward a degree or two each exposure.  Start with 75 – 70 & then go down a degree or two with each session,until you are comfortable with water temperature between 54 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. If your gym or spa has different temperature plunge pools,these will be  an ideal introduction.
  • DO: Recognize that you will have your own cold threshold. If you are doing open water swimming, you may already have booties (toe warmers made of wetsuit material) these will keep you happier, as your toes are likely the most sensitive body part to be submerged.
  • DON’T: Overexpose! At the recommended temperature range above, 6 to 8 minutes is generally long enough. Unless you are under supervision, or you have history with ice baths, NEVER exceed 10 minutes. And never exceed 10 min with ice water higher than your abdomen.
  • DON’T: Colder is not  better!  A  prolonged period of time in water colder than 54 degrees could be dangerous.
  • DON’T: Women on their periods should not immerse the lower abdomen.
  • DO: Moving water is colder water. Similar to the wind chill created when you ride, if there are jets in your ice bath and the water that is warmed at the skin’s surface gets pushed away, the resulting impact of the water will be cooler than measured by the thermometer. Reduce your exposure time – get out sooner.
  • DON’T: Automatically assume you need to be in  54 to 60 degrees for it to work.  Cool water (say, 60 to 75 degrees) can still be beneficial—as can very light active exercise to facilitate blood flow.
  • DO:  Take your time afterwards, as the residual cooling effect and gradual warming are ideal. Try not to rush into a hot shower, try a warm drink instead.  Consider initial warming options of a sweatshirt, blanket and/or warm drink.
  • DO:  Take a hot bath or  shower if you can’t seem to  warm yourself.

Some events I am really looking forwards too, and some I am not.

My  calendar  has a host of exciting things pencilled in.

In mid May I get to go to Rodger Charlton’s Beckhampton Stables in Wiltshire, with my extraordinarily generous friend Christine (it was actually her invitation)  Meet the horses, (Currently, HRM the Queens’ horses are in training, along with those of Lady Rothschild, and many other notables). Walking out over the 600 acre estate to  the downs & watch the gallops. Have a tour of the yard,  – the history of the place is absolutely fascinating (It was listed in the Doomsday Book) & hopefully meet Rodger Charlton himself.
Super exciting!

Next is a day with the Fox Project. I get to spend an entire day volunteering with them, cleaning cages, doing rescues,  who knows?I hope it includes some actually fox time. I think they are so clever, and when they aren’t ill, so beautiful. And I understand a lot of folks don’t like them, but after all, we are constantly encroaching on wildlife territory.

At the end of the month I am on a course in The Lake District,  staying in the lovely town of Windemeer.  Anna Twinney is a retired British Police woman who has a foundation called Reach Out to Horses. She has worked for the Queen, Monty Roberts, and the glitteratti  of the horse world.  I get to polish up my animal communication skills and learn some new ones that hopefully  all my four footed clients and friends will love. Many of you know I work with animals, horses in particular in my spare time, and I hope this course will really make a difference in the next course I have scheduled.


In September I will do module 5 of my Equine Craniosacral training – in the Oxford countryside! Equine Dentistry & how to tell if it’s good, bad, if it has been done mechanically or by hand & if it is needed or has never been done. It also shows the sort of wear and tear certain types of bits are known to cause, and the effect they have on the muscles of the jaw, head and neck.   But seriously, if your horse’s mouth is sore he isn’t going to perform well under saddle, on the track or in the ring. Phew!

What I am not looking forwards to are the two weeks of tube & rail strikes starting today.  So I may stay home!

Good luck to everyone struggling in and out of London.










Easy Stress-Reducers: De-clutter your mind – it’s easier than you think.

Stress reducing is easier than ever.  But many people are so stressed that simply

“don’t have time” to let it go.

“I’ve often arrived with the weight of the world on my shoulders and left walking on air.”

(This is a lovely testimonial from one of my clients – you can see it on my site )


It’s easier & faster than you might think to de-stress your mind, & your life.

I use the 10 10 10 rule:

Will it still be important in 10 minutes?  10 weeks/months  10 years?

Many stresses are immediate,  but aren’t going to affect you in the long term.

This is where the  10 10 10 rule comes in.

Stop worrying. Make a list of your stresses – recent studies show that 90% of the things people

worry about never happen.  Work out what your stresses are, and what you can do in a

practical way will help lower your stress levels.

Soothing music – what ever does it for you, is great.

Reduce caffeine, salt, sugar, soda & processed foods, add fruits, vegetables& whole grains.

Stay well hydrated & keep your electrolyte levels up

Rest! A good sleep is one oft the best remedies for stress relief..

Exercise: think heart smart, work out smarter, not harder.

Play more –  your work  life balance is so  important.

Laughter really is the best medicine. Followed closely by daydreaming.

Meditation, yoga, Pilates,  are all  excellent for re-focusing & unwinding.

Go out in Nature! Walk, ride, run or swim – get twice the benefit  from being out in the fresh air.

Breath! Slow down, take a small  time out  if you need one,even  five minutes  is beneficial.

Massage is fantastic for letting go. Giving yourself a neck or head , foot or hand massage.

Personally, I prefer a face or head massage – bliss!

Try trading with a friend or partner. Or book in with a professional, like me.

Many essential oils like Rose, Vetiver, Chamomile, lavender & Jasmine can be very calming.

Materia Aromatica has great quality soil certified oils.

Use them in a bath for extra ahhhhh power.

Make more time to do the creative things you like, or investigate a new hobby.

Eat more Dark proper grown up chocolate.

Read a good book.

Try a lovely herbal tea, there are lots of fantastic new tea companies springing up all over.


Herbal tea, chocolate, a  good book, lovely oils, a hot bath….. magic and equilibrium restored.










Changing the Future: A White Collar Boxing Event at The Park Club

If you know Russ, you will know why this  event is being held for him.

If you don’t know him – check out his blog:

It was started by his wife’s family whilst Russ was in hospital.

This event is being sponsored by Orchards – so a big Thank You to all of them!

The Park Club are raising money for Russ Dawkins & his charity.

Following an accident last June, Russ was left paraplegic.

All the money raised goes to helping him buy the equipment that will make his new life

a lot more easier.  Like an FES bike, standing Frame, Mountain Trike,  and that’s only for a start!

This will be a great event  &  we still have tickets available at The Park Club 0208743 4321

A Bit Of Support Makes All the Difference. Or why a good bra is your best friend.

Yesterday I saw a client that I used to see a lot, but haven’t seen  her much recently and it turns out

that she had a breast reduction about three years ago.  This had had a massive effect – it literally changed her life.

Gone are shoulders with  1/2 inches grooves,  gone too the foundation garments that used to resemble body armour.

Her neck is long and pain free. Her shoulders are (mostly) down where they belong. No more shooting pains down her arms or up her neck.

No more pins and needles or dead arms. Her overall posture is better, she tells me she sleeps better. No more headaches.

She has taken up running! And she wears a well fitted bra that supports her through all her yoga, zumba & spin classes.

She no longer needs to see an osteopath for twice monthly sessions.  And she comes to see me as a treat- rather than a necessity.

All in all, it was the best thing she has done for herself ever.

It made us wonder about all the girls we see getting massive implants – and to wonder if anyone explains about all

the side effects that come with carrying that amount of weight.  And a different  conversation among a group of friends

about where to buy bras that aren’t ill fitting.  There were a lot of well known chain brands that got trashed.

If you are buying any “cheap” bras – you are probably not saving any money in the long term.

If you are over a B cup,  check out Rigby & Peller, Bravissimo or Selfridges – all have a fitting service that will give just the right support for you.

It makes all the difference. Really, it does.