Summer Holidays

Summer means holidays and therefore changes to the Embody Pilates class timetable in June and July.  I’ve organised my leave into two short breaks rather than a long block of time away.  This ensures there will be some classes available on each of the affected weeks.

So, there will be no Pilates classes on the following dates:

  • Wednesday 20th to Monday 25th June inclusive
  • Wednesday 4th to Saturday 7th July inclusive

Apologies for any inconvenience caused.  If you’d like to come to one of the other classes running during the affected weeks, please let me know.

To close, a top tune from Bjork, who is performing at The Eden Project on Saturday 7th July…



New Pilates Socks in Stock

I am often asked what socks I recommend to do Pilates in.  My answer every time is toe socks, and not just when you come to class.  I wear them most days.  Why?  In the same way it’s hard to use your fingers when you wear mittens, it is also very difficult to use your toes properly in conventional socks.

Below is a slightly corny video highlighting the benefits of toe socks.  For those who like a corn-free, bulleted list, here you go…

Why Toe Socks Are Good For You

  • the separation of the toes brings greater awareness of the feet.  In other words, it helps your brain talk to your feet better and move them correctly;
  • using our toes and feet more effectively promotes good posture and improves balance;
  • being able to move the toes more freely improves the circulation in the feet and as a result, helps them keep warm better and naturally;
  • toe socks help prevent the growth of bacteria, which can lead to unpleasant odours, Athlete’s Foot and other fungus related problems;
  • separation of the toes helps to avoid friction between them and the blisters that can result.


Unfortunately, toe socks can be much more expensive than regular socks.  For this reason I’ve bought a stock of them, which are now available to buy at below the recommended retail price.  I’ve chosen the brand of socks I wear most days and have done for many years, so they’re well-tested.

I have stripy turquoise socks (see image of the actual sock at the top of the page) and plain black ones (actual sock shown in the photo below).

The toe socks are:

  • unisex;
  • very stretchy ensuring a good fit for sizes UK 4-11, EU 35-46;
  • made from 90% cotton and 10% elastane;
  • machine washable just like conventional socks (at 30°C with like colours);
  • thin enough to fit into all types of shoe;
  • easy to put on;
  • seam-free for greater comfort.

The cost per pair from me is £6.50.  The usual recommended retail price including postage would be £8.25 so a decent saving.

I’ve chosen toe socks without a grip sole because in class we do a lot of sliding of the feet along the mat.  I’ve found that grip soles tend to inhibit this movement and in some instances, make the socks come off.

For those that would like the benefit of toe socks but with extra grip for certain exercises, e.g. balances in standing, I have in stock Pilates cover socks available to buy too.  I sometimes wear these over my toe socks, for warmth as much as the extra grip.  Lots of people wear their Pilates cover socks on their own.  Here’s what they look like…

They normally retail at £12 per pair.  I have a limited stock of the slate grey ones (actual sock shown in the pictures above and below) available for £8. Deal!

The Pilates cover socks are:

  • one size;
  • made of a soft, sweat-wicking cotton blend;
  • grip panel on the sole;
  • low-cut heel and toe with cross strap across the foot;
  • machine washable (at 40°C with like colours).

Want to buy a pair?  Two easy options.  You can buy the socks from me when you come to class.  To secure a pair, you might want to contact me before the class and I will put the socks aside for you.  Alternatively, if you’re Clevedon-based, you can contact me to arrange to pay online and I’ll deliver the socks to your home within 24 hours of purchase.

To close, here’s Little Feat, Emmylou Harris and Bonnie Raitt…yes, I’m really spoiling you…


GDPR and Your Privacy

Today the General Data Protection Regulation known as GDPR came into effect.  GDPR gives each one of us extra rights about how our personal data is used and means organisations have additional obligations to fulfil in this area.

In the light of GDPR, here is Embody Pilates’ new Privacy Policy…

What information do we ask for, why and where do we keep it?

As a client, Embody Pilates holds your name, phone and email details. This is so that you can be contacted about your bookings and any changes to the class timetable. When you first have a Pilates lesson at Embody Pilates, you are asked either in person, over the phone or in an email for your relevant medical history. This information is used to help guide your Pilates practice. This information is not maintained as a hard copy. Any emails from you containing this information and any subsequent teacher notes made by Melissa are held on two secure electronic devices accessible only by her.

Who can access your information?

You can ask to see the information we hold about you at any time. Only you and Melissa at Embody Pilates can access this information, and it will only be used to help Melissa guide your Pilates practice and handle your bookings and payments.

We do not share any of this information with any third party. If you are under the care of another practitioner, i.e. a doctor or another health professional or physical therapist, you are encouraged to pass on any relevant information about their findings or care to Melissa yourself, rather than Melissa speaking to them directly. This is unless of course both parties have your written permission to share relevant information.

What is your “right to be forgotten”?

You have the right to have your name, phone and email details removed from the system at any time. Please contact Embody Pilates if you want this to be done.

What are you agreeing to when you use Embody Pilates’ services?

By attending Embody Pilates’ classes you are agreeing to the use of your data as described in this policy.

Electronic mailings

When you first attend a class, Melissa will ask your permission to email you occasional updates about, for example, new classes or merchandise or the latest health and well-being news considered relevant to you. You can withdraw consent for Embody Pilates to contact you in this way at any time, independent of us holding the information we need to serve you as a client. To stop receiving such electronic mailings, simply reply to one with UNSUBSCRIBE MAILING in the subject heading.

Still awake?!  This might help…




Road Test – Matcha Tea

I’ve been road-testing matcha tea since December 2017.  The claims about how beneficial matcha tea is are hard to ignore…

  • High in the antioxidants needed to help clear the body of harmful chemicals
  • Boosts memory and concentration
  • Increases energy levels
  • Detoxifies the body
  • Fortifies the immune system

Hype is all well and good, but what about the reality?  From a personal point of view, drinking a mug of matcha tea every day for the past six months certainly contributed to me avoiding the many coughs, colds and flu viruses that did the rounds over the winter period.

And scientific research seems to go some way towards backing up the claims too…

  • A study found that matcha tea contains 137 times more antioxidants than common green tea, and three times more than any other recorded green tea to date;
  • Matcha is unique to other teas in that it contains abnormally high levels of L-theanine, which has been shown to improve brain function;
  • Findings show that the combination of catechins, caffeine and theanine found in green tea, and in the highest concentrations in matcha, were responsible for a suppressive effect on body weight increase and weight loss;
  • Another study shows that the green tea catechins found in matcha may reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases;
  • Japanese research has found a correlation between regular matcha tea consumption and the maintenance of healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

The above science-based evidence suggests it’s at least worth giving matcha tea a go as part of a healthy, balanced diet.  If you do decide to try matcha for yourself, I’d recommend going for a high quality, organic, ceremonial grade tea.  Warning – good quality matcha tea is not cheap.

I’ve tried a number of different brands and my top three so far are:

  1. OMG matcha tea, which is available online from Planet Organic or, rumour has it, from Sow and Arrow due to open soon in Clevedon;
  2. Kineta matcha tea, which is available to purchase from them direct online;
  3. Vivid matcha tea, which is available from larger Tesco and Holland and Barrett stores or online. Note: as of the date of this posting,Tesco in Clevedon has Vivid matcha tea at the discounted price of £5.55. Bargain!

To close, here’s Belly who are playing SWX, Bristol on the 9th June…

Happy Easteriness!

Easter is coming and the rabbit is getting fat…or something like that.

Here is our Easter 2018 Pilates class timetable…

  • Maundy Thursday
    • 1230-1330
    • 1800-1900
    • 1900-2000
  • Good Friday
    • no classes
  • Easter Saturday
    • no classes
  • Easter Sunday
    • no classes
  • Easter Monday
    • no classes
  • Tuesday 3rd April
    • 1815-1915
    • 1915-2015

To close, one of my favourite songs about chocolate…


Japanese Core Warmer

With the ‘Mini Beast’ bringing fresh snow warnings for the UK this weekend, it seems we’re not out of the woods yet where Winter 2018 is concerned.   That’s fine by me because I’ve just discovered haramaki, the traditional Japanese core warmer.

Haramaki means “belly warmer” and is the modern manifestation of a form of armour worn by samurai in Japan.  As you can see from the above photograph, it’s basically a stretchy tube which fits around your waist.  Think boob tube but for your belly.  I’m not selling this to you, am I.  I’ll try harder.

In Oriental medicine, the kidneys are seen as the organs that store our vital core energy (ki, qi, chi), and they are quite vulnerable to cold.  Wearing a core warmer helps to preserve heat thus supporting your immune system in warding off winter colds and flu.  Take a look at the thermo image below (click for a larger version) which shows the impact on body heat retention of wearing a haramaki versus other forms of clothing or covering…

Aside from keeping the body warm, the other key benefits of wearing a haramaki are:

  • improved digestion
  • improved blood circulation,
  • support to the lower back,
  • relief from menstrual cramps.

I bought two haramaki from a Brighton-based business, NukuNuku (the name means “warm and cosy” in Japanese) – a thin cotton, Lycra one, which I tend to wear next to my skin, and a thicker, woolly one with bamboo fibres, which I wear outside of my clothes and under my coat.

What I like about them is they keep me warm without the need for lots of bulky layers.  The thin, cotton haramaki is great when I’m teaching Pilates –  avoids me exposing bits of bare flesh when I’m performing the exercises.  The thicker one has proved essential in helping me warm up quickly after swimming.

When I resume open water swimming in Spring, I’m sure they’ll be invaluable in helping me recover from exposure to the cold water.  In fact I plan to wear both at the same time…not while swimming obviously(!)

Here’s another favourite Japanese export.  I am definitely ninja (not geisha)…


Changes to the Class Timetable

The Wellbeing Studio is undergoing building work next week from Monday 19th February to Friday 23rd February inclusive.

During the day when the builders are working, it seems there will be a great deal of noise, especially on the Monday and Tuesday when a wall is being knocked through. Similarly, as most of the work is taking place in the entrance hallway, access to the studio during the day will be compromised, meaning clients would have to come in through the fire exit door at the rear of the studio. Finally, there is likely to be dust and dirt to contend with.

Based on the above, I’ve concluded that the studio next week during the day is not a place for people to practise Pilates in a peaceful and relaxing environment. With regret I have therefore decided to cancel all the daytime classes. This means the following sessions will NOT now run:

– Monday 19th February at 1230
– Wednesday 21st February at 1015 and 1115
– Thursday 22nd February at 1230
– Friday 23rd February at 0930 and 1030

I’m very sorry to let people down by cancelling classes and for any inconvenience this may cause, but I hope you understand that this situation has arisen without much time for me to prepare for it in the way I would have liked.

The evening classes next week will run as normal as the builders will have finished work for the day well before the classes begin, the front entrance will be accessible by clients and any mess in the studio and hallway will be cleared away as much as possible.

I’ve been assured the building works will be completed and the studio operating near normally from Saturday 24th February.

Thank you for your patience and understanding during the building works at the studio.

On a happier note, Garbage are playing Bristol in September…