Friday, 21 October 2016

You are not alone…

Have you ever found yourself screaming and wandered why nobody around you seemed perturbed? wandered how the noise coming from the deepest part of your soul was not smashing everything made of glass within a 3 mile radius, how could the deafening sound around you not be stopping the world in its tracks.

And then you realise the unimaginable and deafening sound consuming you is silent to everyone around you, no ear plugs or sound proofing will stop its frequency transmitting through every cell of your body. And no one can hear it.

Over the noise rampaging through your head  you attempt to speak but you cant hear your own words, let alone put them in a coherent sentence. And so people don’t ask awkward questions, they cross the street and they get on with their lives.

As you read this I truly hope you have never heard the words ‘I’m so sorry, there’s nothing more we can do’, ‘I’m calling with bad news’ ‘He/she’s gone’ but if you have then maybe you have heard the silent scream too and maybe like me you realise just how important not crossing the street is.

When I started the Sober October challenge for Macmillan Cancer support, I kept it light deliberately, made it about Chocolate Martini’s and lost Prosecco minutes, I did not want to disclose the full motivation for raising funds, everyone’s journey with Cancer is personal and I didn’t truly expect to lose two friends from the disease before the end of the year let alone before the end of the challenge.stand_up_to_cancer_logo-svg But as I write listening to & watching I am deeply saddened to have lost two unique people from my life, one was a Pilates teacher I had not met but through the positive power of Facebook we connected, sometimes just a word, sometimes just a sentence or two but enough sometimes to go,’I’m here’, ‘you are not alone’. The other was a young woman I had taught for several years in my classes in London. Any teacher will tell you there are always people you teach that change the energy and dynamic of a class, they bring lightness, humour and enthusiasm as well as a love for Pilates that is contagious. They make you a better Teacher. When she contacted me to update me on her Cancer diagnoses at the beginning of term I knew it was bad, she was frustrated that Chemotherapy would make classes impossible but I had my new studio she hadn’t seen so I suggested if classes weren’t an option she could come to me, no charge just a chance to breathe, and maybe even leave the Cancer behind for just a little while.

We had our session, she was relieved to see the Cadillac as getting to the floor had become exhausting and difficult for this once powerful runner. We laughed, stretched and breathed. Pilates was not the 100’s, it was not dynamic and it wasn’t sweaty but it was full of energy and love of the Method she brought so much joy to. She left brighter and pencilled in the next date, sadly the call I took yesterday from her husband reminded me that time is never guaranteed. The space this young woman carved in my class and my life will never be replaced. No matter how many clients, friends and family I have lost, the sound is no less deafening with each one.


In memory of Lida, a long battle well fought and my mum’s best friend for over 30 years.

So as my mother, myself, my husband and friends invent new ways to enjoy Vodka Martinis without the vodka for the month of October, we will remember those we have lost and loved. We will stand alongside our friends fighting their battles with this indiscriminate disease. We will answer awkward questions, we will talk openly about bucket lists that should be lived before our best before date expires. We will talk about how we want to live and die. We will raise funds in all sorts of weird and wonderful ways to support research into stopping Cancer in its tracks.(Just in case you would like to donate to my efforts please go to We will talk about breasts, testicles, rectums, lumps and bumps and all things body parts, we will talk about screening, vaccines and lifestyle choices that might improve our odds to live not only long lives but healthy, active ones. We will choose to fight.

We will never cross the road because we don’t know what to say.

Time may not be on our side but love, compassion, joy and the choice to live life today is.

In peace and love.



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Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Pilates & the sober mind out of the closet…

img_5093As many will know I’m pretty confident my advancement in performing the Pilates Teaser went alongside developing a taste for Martini’s. As I find myself explaining frequently the reason I do Pilates is not so much so I can find inner peace so much as knowing I can walk in heels and dance on tables without fear of falling (Hello Powerhouse!). I’m vegan, don’t smoke, have no interest in drugs but I do LOVE my chocolate Martini’s and Prosecco, what can I say, I have a soft spot for those V-shaped glasses and bubbles.

The fact is I’m a two drink girl, three drinks and I’m having deep and meaningful conversations with George (the cat) on the kitchen floor, so as a rule I’m no super modal when it comes to my alcohol stamina but I was in a little habit of regular drinking. I’ve long since known that the side effects of drinking can far out way the benefits, here in the UK we have a significant problem with Binge drinking, not the glass of wine with dinner type of drinking but mind numbing, blind drunk, throwing up in a cab drinking, not cool and not classy.

So when the idea of Sober October was floated I thought it sounded like a perfect opportunity to do something challenging and raise some cash, have you ever sat down and worked out how much money you actually spend on buying alcohol each month?!  in real terms (OK in my fantasy life) its a new Stella McCartney handbag each year, for some each season for me (Where do I sign up?)

So I signed up, donated my monthly expenditure to MacMillan Cancer Support and have actually enjoyed it more than I thought. When I had to give up coffee and tea earlier in the year it was awful, I felt dreadful for weeks, I love coffee, I miss coffee. In terms of my Martini’s I miss the routine of coming home and having one waiting for me but other than that I didn’t have any adverse effects. Somehow a glass of sparkling Elder flower cordial or Ribena seems to do the trick as long as they’re in a pretty glass. As much as I hate to admit it, my sleep is however, much better, less nightmares and less fretting, energy levels are definitely more even and my head is clearer, its been an interesting experience and I will definitely cut back on my consumption once the month is complete. the links between alcohol and reduced health are undisputed and our health is really all we can try and protect.  1187077_386890874770148_847315701_nWe know the risks of non even excessive drinking increase our risk of developing Cancer, Obesity, Diabetes, Strokes to name but a few conditions, but ultimately we make choices about how we chose to lead our lives every day, we are our own responsibility. Like many I have walked along side family and friends fighting Cancer, MacMillan Cancer support have made an extraordinary difference to the lives of so many. Its easy to take our lives for granted, its easy to wake up with a hangover and pop a pill, easy to expect the doctor to cure our ill’s but some challenges are greater than others, for some walking to the post box will be a momentous achievement today, some will be rallied by the thought of once again getting back to their teaser or even enjoying the feel of their Hamstring stretch. So I’m asking unashamedly for you to support them via my page

I can do only one thing, help raise awareness and help raise funds. I cannot take away my Grandmothers Bone Cancer, I cannot fight the battle my friends currently face but I can do this and if nothing else keep my head up and remember with the help of Gloria Gaynor…

I am what I am
And what I am needs no excuses
I deal my own deck
Sometimes the aces sometimes the deuces
It’s one life and there’s no return and no deposit
One life so it’s time to open up your closet


Yours with love and respect and just a hint of fairy dust.



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Tuesday, 23 August 2016

When there’s no rule book…

If you are reading this chances are you are a teacher, perhaps a parent, perhaps neither, perhaps both. Chances are you have also been a teenager. If not, I really wouldn’t worry about reading any further, that includes if you have forgotten what it was like.

We are living in a world of labels, and I’m not talking just designer clothing. We are all pigeon holed in one place or another, we belong, we don’t belong, we know where we are, then the rug is pulled and we lose our footing. Those of us with the dubious title of adult have to qualify our role on a daily basis, and quite honestly if we are honest with ourselves make it up as we go along. Particularly when the title Adult also gets followed with Parent.

Let me qualify something here, parents for me are caretakers of the young, Birth parents, Adoptive parents, Foster parents, Grand parents, Step parents, God Parents, Aunties, Uncles, friends etc. Well you get the picture. As they say,  it takes a village to raise a child, which pretty much makes us all Parents of the young people we share this world with. So what the F**k are we doing right now?

I did not like being 16. I was convinced there was an imminent nuclear threat about to end civilisation, it caused me many sleepless nights. I was scared witless by a new pending global epidemic called AIDS. I couldn’t enjoy a movie night out without Tombstone laden adverts. I’d got mediocre grades at school in spite of having worked my hardest and was told without A’ Level success my life would be condemned to nothing more than an eternal Escher stairwell. EscherI was told my dancing days and therefore future would be limited (due to lack of confidence not talent) well that truth didn’t exactly enhance my performance skills for later life, oh and then my Dad died suddenly. I was 17 and just a little bit screwed.

As a Step mother now I’m not sure my generation has remembered just what harm unleashed fear can do to young minds.

Today there is DAISH, Trump, Brexit and entrenched UK racist and  fascist hatred it seems to lifted the veil on (deliberate pun intended), there is Cyber bullying of unimaginable degrees and a brief look at the any reality T.V show will show you that the size of a woman’s breasts will buy her 15 minutes of well paid Air time and ‘fame’ faster than any Noble prize winning brain she might possess. A popular Press that describes a 16 year old than runs away with her teacher as a sexually ‘Groomed’ victim but a 16 year old that run’s away to Syria to become a Jihadi bride as an ‘Adult’, no room at the Inn for Fundamentalist ‘Grooming’ here it seems even if it cost her life. No wonder our young adults are struggling to know where they belong when the ‘Adults’ in charge cant even get their perspectives or stories straight.

My point is we might be listening to our young but are we hearing them? If they challenge authority they are ‘disruptive’, even if, in our hearts we know the authority is flawed. If they dare to dream unconventional dreams we tell them they are unrealistic, overambitious, delusional or we just nod vaguely and sit content in the knowledge that unfed dreams eventually just die a natural death. If they are exuberant we tell them they are over active instead of looking at the reduced priority given to Physical education in schools. If they struggle to concentrate we blame ‘lack of focus’ instead of looking at the sugar laden, low nutrient, cheep food being marketed towards lower income families. A quick thank you by the way Mrs May for giving in this week to the sugar and fast food industry, the diabetics and heart attack sufferers of tomorrow will be thrilled you took such inert steps towards child health this week.

The point is this, it’s is not about blaming but doing. If we can remember just how hard it was when we were 16, that we didn’t have a rule book either then we might just be better placed to listen, support and maybe even smooth out the pot holed rode to Adulthood. Parents often like to say they never got given a Manual, well neither did the children, and perhaps if we as adults just eased up on ourselves, accepting we wont get it all right all of the time, we might just ease up on them. I believe in rules, structure and taking responsibility but that’s because they were values instilled in me from young along with a sense of freedom, self expression and respect for All, I was taught nothing in life is free and the greatest rewards come from the greatest challenges, but I was also given training wings that I’ve been building ever since. As Mr Branson put it  ‘If your dreams don’t scare you, they are too small’dreams and words

If in doubt take yourself back, count to10, or 20 or 100 and remember would you really go back to being 16? if you, like me the idea alone brings you out in hives, then try to remember how scary being an almost adult was and teach them how to rationalise fear and to be brave, well at least how to fake it until they realise that they actually are truly brave. Wings were meant to enable flight, Our young people deserve a life that doesn’t ground them and we are ALL responsible for ensuring that doesn’t happen.  As for this thing called adulthood I still hate sleeping in the dark and prefer to hear and feel my big dogs heartbeat near at night, and I love to wear fairy dust even though it gets everywhere and on everyone, but then I think I might just make up my own rules whilst I’m considering the others.

If your still reading…May your wings always carry you forward.

Respectfully and with love,






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Friday, 29 July 2016

Dear Dad…

Dear Dad

Its been such a long while since we caught up. So I thought I would write.


My Dad aged about 18

Odd really in an age when we are overwhelmed with information, images, texts, updates and emoji’s I actually think the human race is communicating less. An age where a status update is carefully constructed but writing a thank you card is considered quaint. Where love letters in the sand are an Instagram opportunity, once you’ve found the right filter that is. I still have your photo’s by the way, the ones from your photography course, I cant quite believe it was 27 years ago when my best friends and I posed for you (can you even believe I married the one you always felt I was too spirited for), we thought we were so grown up, we of course were not. I’m so glad we didn’t have mobile phones then, there was something to be said for waiting in the hallway waiting for the phone to ring, to staying up too late talking into the night whilst freezing my backside off sitting on the stairs, searching for working telephone boxes after forgetting the time and waiting for buses because we couldn’t afford cabs, Uber was just a word used by cool kids. I think it must be so much harder being a teenager now, so much less freedom to grow up, so much less that is guaranteed real in life.

I’m so blessed with the young adults in my life, but then you always were so good with children and young people. You knew their worth and valued their energy, perhaps that’s where I get my passion for encouraging them to dream, if they’re not dreaming then what chance do they have of living their lives to their brightest potential?. I’m so proud of them, I wish you could have met them.

Its been a strange time, I never did grow out of being the slightly awkward, self doubting teenager. I just got a little wiser to my demons and learned how to put them on their leashes. I fell in love with wonderful men long before I understood that Love did not have to mean pain, sadness and barricade’s, strange given that you and mum were so well matched that a child could grow up so full of fear and so determined to remain for the most part emotionally detached from Life. And love. I caused too many people too much pain.

There are so many things I don’t remember, memories that have faded. Was I even supposed to remember them? Was I meant to remember the sound of your voice or did my mind find a way of placing a sepia filter over things that were just too hard to bear at times? Do you know the way I write my R’s is just the same as you? Your father left you at 16 but you never spoke of how that left you feeling?. No matter what, you always focussed on what constituted a solution, I don’t ever remember you focusing on a problem (except the time I ran up a horrific phone bill and you stopped talking to me). I hope I have your optimism, your gift for being someone that’s wants to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.


I suspect this is where my love of big dogs started, my dad rescued my beloved Mogli.

I think you’d like what I do now, Its a little bizarre, granted when you walk into my flat and are confronted with ‘unusual’ pieces of Apparatus but I think you would have been interested in knowing about Mr Pilates and his Method, perhaps you might have even given it a go, even professional footballers are doing it these days, possibly even the Spurs players, though I expect they would still never admit to it over a pint of Orange juice. I get to work with people every day and encourage them in only positive ways, I get to move every day and I get to help people move. I get to be myself and however Marmite that might be for some, for others I seem to make a difference. I’ve also got to meet and even become friends with some incredible people on my Pilates journey, some of them I haven’t even met in person, but this thing called ‘social media’ has allowed me to make connections and have access to opportunities I could never have imagined. Of course it has meant saying Yes to things when every bone and instinct in my body has said to say No but then that’s when I can hear you, see you and feel you, and I remember how you always found a way to make things happen. I don’t think you knew what the word stop meant, but then those who know me say the same thing.


My dad & I

So here’s the thing Dad, I may only have known you for the briefest time, and I know I tested you to your limits. I was not easy to love or even like at times. I’m still working on the dark days. But I’m surrounded by those who steer me always forward, strong women who shine a light to bring me out of the dark, those that help me as much as I try to help them, friends who know me better than I know myself. The ones who know a voice not a text can soothe a fragile soul, the ones I have tested to their limits and not walked away. Truly grateful for my husband who reminds me that I still swish my ponytail in the petulant adolescent way I always have, proving that growing up remains optional and loves me anyway.

I don’t know if you would have been proud of me but I’m proud of myself. Today 25 years ago your heart could no longer do its job and in a missed heartbeat you were gone. I hope you have gone on and not had time to look back because we are fine, I am fine. The world is not the same, I am not the same but just as you did I believe in humanity, in optimism, in goodness, in light and if I become half the person you were, this life will have been a great one even if you weren’t able to be there to hold my hand through it.



With the greatest love.

Your daughter.




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Monday, 20 June 2016

What’s the point of family…

We are living in challenging times, Its easy to feel over whelmed and increasingly disillusioned when we see those in positions of authority and power around us behaving as if they’ve just joined the largest Mad Hatter tea party ever. Whichever side of the pond you are reading this on and whichever side of the fence you are on I have no doubt you will have concerns about where our World is right now.Ghandi

When we feel powerless its easy to fall into apathy, to feel disempowered and to feel like one voice is just a very small drop in a very large, often shark infested ocean. But what are challenges if not opportunities to test our strength, our resilience and our courage? When the British MP and humanitarian Jo Cox was slain last week, when a gun man walked into a night club and gunned down and killed 49 people in Orlando, this was not Politics this was Hate and the response globally has been an outpouring of determined and unequivocal Love. When politicians deliberately pour kerosene on already scorched communities and voters they cant be surprised when indiscriminate fires break out, collateral damage is inevitable.

So where do you start, how do you make a difference? The last time I checked I was a member of the human race, not a white member, not a black member, not straight, not gay, not liberal, not conservative, not clever, not uneducated, not Christian, not Muslim, not married not single but just a fully signed up member of the human race and surely  I have a responsibility to other members of the same race not to turn my back. Aren’t these people my family, my community too? When I watch the news I don’t see a boat full of Syrian refugees as a drain on my taxes, I see desperate people experiencing unimaginable lives and making choices I pray my family never has to make.

But what if we cant make a difference the way Jo Cox did? We cant all be so driven, so passionate, so motivated but we can all make a difference, to each other, to ourselves. Whilst teaching away last week I got some news about a friend, difficult news, the type of news that makes you feel helpless and ask questions like, why him, again? Firstly, I should tell you a little about him. IMG_1920

I met Jon through Kathi Ross-Nash, I was nervous, anxious, full of insecurities and there he was, full of light, humour, grace and gentle encouragement with a little dose of Jazz hands to ease my fears. We shared training together,  he took me through my slutty cat paces in a 1-1 at Kathi’s studio and introduced me to Chocolate Martinis at on the upper West side, an addiction I will happily keep for life. Some people you tell everything to in an evening and you know that your life is better for having told them. I haven’t known Jon long, I’m not a life long friend but I would get on a plane tomorrow if he needed me to bring him Take out, because, well, that’s what friends do isn’t it? So my friend has Cancer, again, and well quite frankly it sucks but then I saw what his friends were doing about it, we cant take away the fact its happened but we can come together and take some of the day to day pressures off. And that is what communities, friends and families do. They come together and they make a difference. So I’m asking you, as someone passionate about Pilates to help make a difference, what if you forfeited your daily Starbucks or your Pilates 1-1 this week and used it to help another Pilates teacher, colleague, friend you haven’t made yet? If we all pulled together regardless of our backgrounds, training, lineage and experience, just think of the difference you could make to one person, today. Because that’s the point of family isn’t it?. To make a difference.

Please consider donating to support Jon through his battle via

With Love and respect.

Suzy Mitchell







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Sunday, 13 March 2016

Stealth Pilates and footprints on the ceiling…

Unless you are blessed with supreme confidence, most Pilates teachers know that slightly nervous anticipation that runs through you when participating in a workshop. Perhaps its fear of being in the company of people you don’t know, perhaps its the idea of feeling you might be judged on your own ability or knowledge. Perhaps its the moment you realize what you don’t know far out ways what you thought you did, whichever training school you attended. For most of us however there is an intrinsic understanding that continuing to learn from others, be it our clients or Teachers is the only way to ensure that we truly grow in our own practice and understanding of the Pilates Method.

I’ve been blessed over the last few years to spend some time watching and learning from some incredibly inspiring teachers. When you spend any time in the company of teachers such as Kathryn Ross-Nash and Blossom Leilani Crawford you know that the future of Pilates is not just in safe hands but that its in magical hands.

I’ve just finished 3 days of attending workshops at Pilates Nation with Blossom, we worked, we played, we laughed, we got occasionally smutty but those attending were blessed enough to be given a brief insight into her extensive time studying with Kathy Grant, not to mention the many other influences credited that makes watching Blossom in action so compelling. Some people are just meant to be teachers and Blossom is one of them, knowledgeable, generous and with a wicked sense of humor her workshops are as challenging for the brain as they are for the body, no one should be duped by the Hawaiian easy smile, this woman knows how to harness the power of the ocean from merely a gentle wave, she is the epitome of stealth Pilates, Its possible my muscles might just stop aching by Easter though I wouldn’t like to bet on it.

After this weekend and underneath the aches however lie a better understanding and appreciation of the Pilates Method and a reminder that we as teachers make things happen daily for our clients as well as ourselves. That the bigger picture of what we do contains infinite numbers of smaller pictures and possibilities. That we really can go from knee folds to the Candle, from finding our exhalation through no 3 to the Walk over. The true joy of this Method is finding ways to bring our clients on the journey with us, through our learning, though our exploration and through our respect of each others journeys. Once again I find myself incredibly appreciative of my own journey and those I have been blessed enough to learn from, should you get the chance I would strongly suggest heading to the Isle of Man in July for the Inaugural Pilates Conference where both Blossom and Kathy will be presenting. If that’s not an option then at least take the time to look at their classes on ..Every time we learn even just one more way to help enlighten this wonderful Method for our clients we as Pilates teachers as well as a community can only gain in strength, which without flexibility in both body and mind is after all  just not Pilates.IMG_3096


With love and medicinal raspberry vodka,

Suzy x



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Friday, 19 February 2016

Is your heart in it….

Its no secret I love what I do, I’m incredibly fortunate to be able to do what I love daily, bringing Pilates into the lives of a wonderful diversity of individuals, all of whom inspire and teach me on a daily basis.

Like any passion it can be all consuming. My days are long, I start between 6.30 and 7am and finish at 9pm every day. I’ve only just dropped from 6 days a week teaching to 5, burnout in my industry is common. I’m in no way complaining, as I’ve already said I have a passion for what I do and high energy levels but sometimes we all need to look at where we are, the more we have in our day to day lives the faster the days go. Before we know it we’ve missed the wonderful scenery along the way.

I recently underwent Cardiac tests, an echocardiogram and an ambulant ECG over 48 hours, teaching wired up was an interesting experience, so far I’ve discovered the structure of the heart muscle is healthy, there had been concerns due to my history with disordered eating and the fact my father died of a heart attack at 45. So far I’ve yet to hear back on the electrics but fingers crossed the feedback will be good.IMG_2931Being incapacitated when the body is potentially vulnerable is always a time for reflection and I found myself reconsidering my health in many ways.

A year ago my life changed in ways I could not have predicted. I reconnected with my best friend from childhood, we fell in love, bought a house together within months and in three months from now we will make a commitment to each other in front of our family and loved ones. Its been a whirlwind but my life often is and the truth is I wouldn’t have it any other way. So given that I teach a method that embraces the health of the body, mind and spirit (if Pilates didn’t lift mine there’s no way I would do it, let alone teach it!) my little cardiac speed bump has led me to question what I want from my life. Instead of getting frustrated by my enforced slow down I decided to consider if I was in the best place professionally as well as emotionally. I’ve known for some time I needed my own studio space, somewhere to practice, explore, play, quiet time, silly time. Somewhere to take my clients into even more of their bodies potential, somewhere I could share the feeling I get when the body, mind and energy come together to create something profound and life changing. The Pilates body is not simply a size ‘X’ or someone you see paraded endlessly on Instagram or Facebook, the Pilates body emanates the Heartbeat of the Method and the pulse goes through us all in different ways, the benefits are many and varied to ourselves and our clients but only if we see it as part of our lives and not all of our lives. I’m fortunate enough to be with someone who supports my passion and ability to do what I love but who has shown me that lazy days are as good for the heart as working and workout days.

In the next couple of months our little London flat will house my first Pilates studio, we will live in one half of the flat with our furry family whilst I turn the other half into a space to keep the heart of this work going in my own little way, It might mean I can finally rush around a little less, teach a little more and do more of what I love but doing it in a way that protects my health rather than compromising it. Sometimes the speed bumps in life are not there to stop our journeys rather to slow us down a little and remind us what we might be missing on route. I for one am grateful for the journey so far…

With Pilates heart & Love,


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