Small Business, Big Impact: Celebrating My Journey from Start-Up to Award-Winning Triumph

From Humble Beginnings

When we first moved back to the UK, I was pregnant with my second child and wasn’t really sure which way I wanted to go with my career. I’d been qualified as a Physiotherapist for 18 years by then, and taught Pilates for over a decade. I’d worked in the NHS, worked in New Zealand, been self employed, and owned a decently sized business catering to Physio, Pilates & Fitness with numerous health & fitness professionals working for me. But I hadn’t enjoyed the business ownership. I hadn’t grown it from the get-go; I’d inherited certain health contracts and business models and it just wasn’t me. Over our first summer back in the UK when I was heavily pregnant and it was a stinking heatwave, my family and best friends pestered me to teach them Pilates, most of them having attended my classes in NZ when they were visiting, and before you knew it I had 10 of them showing up every week for a regular class, literally from the back garden of our rental house whilst I moved around them with my ginormous baby bump!

When it came time to think about returning to work (by this point bub was a couple of months old and we’d  bought a house so had to say ‘bye-bye’ to  maternity leave), I instinctively knew I needed the flexibility of being able to manage my own schedule and diary around a toddler and a baby. Working for myself felt like the natural way forwards and didn’t scare me too much as I’d previously owned two medium-ish sized clinics in New Zealand. I knew what I didn’t want – and that was to get ‘big’ again, with loads of staff and a ton of managerial work, so it felt natural to start out with a couple of Pilates classes a week.

Pilates is my happy place and had set times scheduled to days and family life commitments that suited me, plus it brought me a social connection away from my young family; I do love a good giggle in my classes, and it was the last thing I let go of before going on maternity leave with both of my babies – and the first thing I went back to 😉

After a couple of months, I had a few Physio patient enquiries from class attendees, so started to work an additional evening a week from a pop-up massage bed in my back lounge. The panic of getting the kids to bed and clearing away the family lounge ready for patients, when I look back was hilarious, but it didn’t feel much of a big deal as I still had my days mostly free with my little ones.

Over the next two years I gradually built up the classes, and worked another evening a week seeing Physio patients. I even moved premises to accommodate larger Pilates class sizes, and added a couple more classes to the timetable. By this point I was working four evenings and two mornings a week.

And then COVID happened and everything changed.


Learning to Pivot

Just as my business started to grow from its infancy, everything changed literally overnight. Physiotherapists in the private sector were advised to cease face to face contact, and my classes could no longer run in person. I pivoted online, and we all became accustomed to ZOOM. I honestly wish I’d kept a diary, as looking back it was a bit bonkers! My little ones could often be heard resisting bedtime in the background, or in some cases came and joined in classes wearing their pyjamas, which I felt was incredibly unprofessional but it was such a weird time that we just had to get on with it.

Days and weeks blurred, but online Pilates classes actually gave me some real structure to my time, and I think probably saved my sanity! Again, the social connection and feeling of ‘normality’  was so important to me as well as my class attendees; and as restrictions finally eased 12 months later, I couldn’t wait to get back into face to face teaching. During this time we’d build such a community together, and it was just lovely to see people again, having shared a weird experience like a global pandemic from our lounges, kitchens and loft spaces.


Flourishing after COVID

It’s a bit mad to think that I managed to build a business which is so heavily reliant on face to face services during COVID restrictions, but that’s exactly what happened! At the end of 2020, I took out a small business loan so that I could build my own garden clinic which would add convenience to my work structure. It was pretty scary at the time, but it’s a decision that I never once regretted. Early in 2021, the clinic was good to go, and coincided with my littlest one being able to start nursery, and my eldest starting school. My diary was able to open up – and it exploded!

When I sold out two new Pilates classes in less than 24 hours, and had a full clinic diary I knew I needed some help; I was working all the hours by this point and it just wasn’t sustainable. My lovely friend Lynwen came to help out in clinic for a while, and after 12 months, Emma joined the Pilates side of the team, with Laura recently helping out – and staying on. Plus I had Alicia on board as much needed admin support, as by that point I was drowning and she has serious skills that I will never be able to replicate!

In the last few years I’ve pursued a real passion of mine; Menopause health, and formed a non-profit organisation, Managing Midlife. Under this bracket I run an online Midlife & Menopause group and a monthly in-person Menopause Support meeting. I also started to offer Menopause trainings and courses, as well as 1:1 offerings, tying in my Women’s Health experience with Nutrition qualifications and Health Coaching to meet the increasing desire for menopause services.


Here and Now

Currently there are 12 Pilates classes a week forming the core class timetable, with more in the pipeline. All of my original patients are still clients – we laugh at how far we’ve come together since those lounge-based appointments, and I currently have a four-week wait-list in clinic. I love delivering Menopause and Hormone trainings and workshops, as well as Wellbeing courses, and actually it’s the education side of things which really sets me alight; this is such a key concept for all of my services, whether it’s exercise, health or transitioning the menopause with confidence and ease. Before I was a Physio, I wanted to be a teacher so I guess I’m kind of there! 😉

My ‘part-time’ venture is sometimes hard to handle – and you might have guessed, is no longer part-time! Work:life balance a constant work in progress, but I’m so grateful that clients have stuck with me through the ups and downs, and that my little team are happy. I never set out to run a business like this; it just kind of grew organically, with no real plan, and I’ve often felt like I’m playing catch up, so I consider myself very fortunate to be doing what I do, and how far I’ve come in five years 🙂

Award Winning Excellence


A few weeks ago, I found out I had been nominated for a Health & Care award sponsored by our local Council. I didn’t know who had nominated me, or why.

I was pretty gobsmacked to be honest. It’s rare as a clinically working health professional to be recognised for your commitment, and awards don’t really factor in my profession!

My hubby came with me to the awards ceremony, and as the nominees in my category were named, I started feeling pretty apprehensive that my name wasn’t coming up; the fact I might actually win this award was a completely foreign concept.


I won.


I actually won.


It turns out I was nominated by a a lovely Menopause Specialist I’ve got to know over the last couple of years. She felt I deserved recognition for working to improve the health and wellbeing of women in our community – specifically for Menopause, and in empowering women around their choices and their health.  In fact she said I poured my heart and soul into serving women. I was also nominated by a couple of other clients and friends who felt I’d had a positive impact and guided them to a healthier and active lifestyle, whilst balancing life with my own young family. The judges of the event obviously agreed.

I’m truly humbled by the whole experience. Every time I watch the video from the awards ceremony, I well up. Working as a health professional for over two decades conditions you to always give; compassion, knowledge, empathy, time – the list goes on. Each and every client and patient gets 100% of me every time, with no expectation of anything in return. To be acknowledged for this, made me feel really seen. I totally understand what it means when someone says that to me now. I’m also totally overwhelmed at receiving an award. And I’m also totally putting it on my wall 🙂


Thank you too all of my wonderful and lovely clients, patients and colleagues. Without you, I’m not me, and Core Restore wouldn’t exist