For the co-founder of the Platinum Pilates studios group, weekends are spent with family in Dublin or continuing her training in Paris, with some downtime …
The nature of being a business owner in a seven-day-a-week wellbeing and fitness industry means weekdays and weekends can blur into one. With seven studios across south Dublin and Wicklow, four physiotherapy clinics, and a new studio opening in Cork early next year, life is pretty busy. When the weekend is free from speaking events or travel, I start Saturday morning with a long run along the coast, from Dun Laoghaire to Dalkey. This is essential headspace time; it clears the cobwebs of the week and allows the focus to shift to family time. Spending time with my three daughters is my priority; the weekend is all about them. For the first five or six years of the business, there weren’t many boundaries; weekends were all about working. When my eldest became a teenager, I had one of those lightbulb moments. I realised time was slipping by far too fast, so I made a conscious decision to switch off the laptop at weekends, turn my phone off as much as possible, and enjoy the window of opportunity to spend time together as a family. Sometimes, that means being the girls’ taxi driver for the entire weekend, but that’s okay. Living in south county Dublin, we have the best of both worlds, being near the city and the mountains and the best weekends include a hike with the kids to Ticknock, climbing the Sugarloaf or walking in Glendalough. Beautiful scenery and fresh air is therapeutic. In summer, I work from Spain, where we spend eight weeks. This is hugely important family time – I’m lucky I can work in this way.
I’m an early riser (I usually get up around 5am) so I can fit in my run and some Pilates before everyone else wakes. Then we go for breakfast and hot chocolate at the 105 in Clonskeagh or The Greenery in Donnybrook before everyone heads off to their various drama, dance and sports activities with their pals.
We are in the middle of two studio refurbishments and are due to open our first regional studio in Cork in 2020. This autumn, we’re also introducing a new type of exercise into Ireland called Gyrotonic, which is about fluid arcing and spiralling movements that decompress your spine, stimulating your nervous system while increasing your flexibility and clearing energy pathways. Lady Gaga, Madonna and Julianne Moore are all fans, as are lots of professional athletes. It is like nothing I have ever experienced before.
My Gyrotonic training takes to me to Paris every few weeks. No hardship! Paris definitely is my happy place and I have continued my own professional development in Paris over the years. I spend a lot of the time there at an incredible studio called Rituel. When I’m not at the studio, I’m scooting around the streets of Paris or running along the banks of the Seine. Whatever city I find myself in, I discover it by running, mapping the city with my feet. In Paris I run along the Seine, criss-crossing over the bridges. I find running easy and I’m an efficient runner, thanks to years of studying and teaching the Franklin method, which creates a clear mind-body connection – I know what’s going on in my body bio-mechanically as I move, and that makes it easier to run more efficiently, safely and for longer. I teach all our teachers the Franklin Method so they can explain what is happening to your body in a Pilates class, say or a physiotherapy session. [Running workshops are also on the programme at Platinum.]
I stay at Le Damantin, a 19th-century maison particulier on a tree-lined bank of the Seine in the eighth arrondissement. There are views of the Eiffel Tower and contemporary interiors, a pool and a courtyard garden, a library and a spa. One of my favourite restaurants in Paris is Girafe, on the Place du Chaillot at Trocadero, in the 16th where the open-air terrace has a view of the Eiffel Tower. In summer, it was an incredible experience. The interior is art deco, and very glamorous.
My uniform all week is sweatpants and leggings; weekends are for the nice clothes in my wardrobe. I have a thing for knitwear, particularly Chloé or Theory cashmere sweaters. I wear them with skirts, Annie Bing or Iro, a floaty Isabel Marant blouse and Golden Goose trainers. I wear jewellery from Chupi or Loulerie. I love to get dressed up to go out. I adore the ritual of getting a blowdry and slipping on my heels. When I’m not hanging out with my daughters on Saturday evenings, I try to catch up with my girlfriends, perhaps at Angelina’s on Percy Place. Or some Saturdays, we have dinner with my parents at Forest Avenue.
When we started the business nine years ago, the wellness industry had not yet been developed. Now we see many other businesses opening up – we like to think we led the way. There are positives and there are negatives. I believe some are in the wellness industry for the wrong reasons. Social media was not a factor when we launched – its influence on the wellness space has not all been positive. There is pressure on women to be perfect – usually at a time in their life when their physiology is changing and they are finding life challenging enough. Some respond to challenges by overdoing exercise, some by not doing enough. There’s a balance somewhere in the middle. I think there’s a wider conversation to be had around perimenopause and the part movement plays in general wellness and happiness. Basically, the body wants and needs to move. I suppose we could stop at seven studios but it’s actually a desire to share the idea that via exercise, the body can feel better that drives me on.
An ideal Sunday would begin with a boxing session at the Headon Boxing Academy (in Sandyford, Grand Canal Dock and Marian College, Ballsbridge). Boxing is my meditation. I think about nothing but the next punch. It sets me up mentally for the week ahead. Sunday brunch with friends at The Marker Hotel after boxing is a treat – it seldom happens, but when it does, it’s heaven, well-earned after all that sweat and energy-expelling exercise. If I’m in Paris, lunch at BeefBar on rue Marbeuf in the eighth is a treat. The interior is stunning – a suite of art deco and art nouveau rooms, with incredible decorative panelling and a glass conservatory roof.
Sunday evenings are for planning the girls’ week and the work week. Lights out early. I sleep well before the alarm goes off again at 5am.