Car Seat Safety

A comment was made to Gwennie by one of the teachers at her school yesterday, whilst she was getting into the car at car pool line.
It really got me thinking and inspired me to write.

Teacher: “Do you have a baby at home? Or are you the baby?”
Gwennie: “No? Why do you ask that?”
Teacher: “Because you have a baby seat instead of a big girl seat.”

Gwennie is 5 years old. She weighs 39lbs. In my car she travels in a forward-facing convertible car-seat with a 5-point harness.
She has a booster seat in my husband’s car.

The reason I haven’t put her in a booster seat in my car is because she still fits perfectly into the car-seat…. she can strap herself in easily, which is very useful during busy car pool when I can’t leap out to help her, plus, despite the fact she is already 5 years old, she is not yet 40Lbs which is the recommended weight (along with the age of 4 years) to move up to a booster seat.

Honestly, I think the 5-point harness is much a safer dealio. Gwennie is very petite and I am not entirely comfortable with her being in a booster seat yet. Also, her convertible car-seat is made to hold her up until she weighs 70lbs. I notice that in some States they require that a child stay in a forward-facing car-seat between the ages of 4-7 years.

I wish I was a little quicker with my wit and tongue. I was rather taken aback when this faculty member made fun of G being in a “baby seat” still. In fact, she made me feel a bit of an idiot and rather inferior, until I had time to think about why I choose to keep G in a car-seat. Let’s face it, she mostly rides with me and we drive 25 miles each way to school every day in rush-hour traffic. Personally, I think she looks and feels a lot more comfortable in her car-seat… plus it is a heck of a lot safer.

Fortunately for me, Gwennie was unperturbed by the comments made. I would have been cross if she had suddenly decided that she didn’t want to be in her seat anymore because of some thoughtless remarks!

What do you think??? Am I being a helicopter mum?

God… are you there?

Those of you who have ever had children know that they come out with the most amazing and funniest things on a daily basis.
Usually several times a day in fact!

Here’s another one of Gwennie’s classics.

We played outside by the pool for an hour this afternoon.
I was feeling pretty weary and begged a few minutes peace whilst I laid on the sunbed.
Gwennie decided to busy herself with the pool brush.

G: “I’m cleaning, Mummy!”
Me: “Oh thank you! You are such a good helper.”

Much huffing and puffing followed and then…

G: *sigh* “I wish I had some help… not you though, Mummy! I know you are tired!”

A little more huffing and puffing, followed by…

G: “God? Are you there?”


My little bathing belle!

Don’t call my name, Alejandro!

Gwennie’s first week at Kindergarten seems to be going well. She has re-bonded with a little friend she made at her other preschool. G and Lilly are not in the same class at Kindy, but they see each other most days on the playground. I think it’s pretty sweet that they have resumed their friendship despite having not seen each other for a year!

G came home yesterday and said, “Mummy… you know that Lady Gaga song, Alejandro?”
Me: “Yes!”
G: “There’s an Alejandro in my class!” Cue cheeky smile.
Me: “Yes, I remember!”
G: “Well, I’m going to ask him to marry me tomorrow. Will you help me write him a letter to ask him?”
Me: “Don’t you think you should wait a week or so to see if he really is a nice person and the man you want to spend the rest of your life with?”
G: “Nope. I want him.”


I managed to get out of writing the letter… for now! But we did have to sing the song over and over in the car on the way home!

After school today…..

G: “I asked Alejandro to marry me.”
Me: “And? What did he say?”
G: “Nothing! He just stood there! So rude!” (Poor little guy was rendered speechless!!!!)
Me: “Aha! So maybe he isn’t the right guy for you then?”
G: “Nah! He’s still cute. I still want to marry him!”


He is pretty cute though!

Day of Hope

Sunday August 19th 2012 marks the 4th anniversary of the founding of Christian’s Beach. Since that day we have remembered over 15,700 babies and children down on the shore of Mullaloo Beach Western Australia. We wanted to mark this anniversary of Christian’s Legacy beginning by doing something special. August 19th is about honouring and remembering the lives of babies and children that could not stay with us. By doing this we are speaking out about the death of babies and children.

August 19th is a day to break down the walls of society that keep pregnancy, infant and child loss a hush hush subject. People view the death of a baby as just a sad thing that happened. These babies that die are not sad things that happen. They are people, much loved and wanted children. They are brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, grandsons and granddaughters.

August 19th is about openly speaking about these children and celebrating their short lives.

By having this special day once a year we get people speaking about pregnancy, infant and child loss. And by doing this we break those walls down so that people are not afraid to speak about these children anymore.

If you would like to show your support to this day please use one of our awareness images that can be found through my albums page here on facebook You can use the images on your own blog or website. Please feel welcome to post one of our awareness images as your profile picture on your favourite social media website!

Please feel welcome to share your babies and children’s names/photographs/stories on the event wall.

With much love and blessings to you all,


In Loving Memory of Christian Dudley and Hope Angel Heppleston

In loving memory of our sweet Henry James who was taken from us too soon on October 2nd 2009 at only 16 weeks.

Why do I love The Bar Method?

So I write about it a lot. I’m an instructor so of course I am invested. But I am sure some of you are wondering, “What is so great about this Bar Method malarkey?”

I’m inspired to tell you why. My life changed the day I walked in to the Winter Park studio last September.
The change has been a 101% positive one.

Not only have I gained an amazing workout that makes me feel good about myself and has changed my body in ways that I never imagined possible, but I love the fact that I am learning every single day that I am in the studio…. AND I have the benefit of being surrounded by wonderful instructors/friends whose wisdom I try to glean on every occasion, and our clients, whose hard work and dedication always keep me inspired to better myself as an instructor.

It doesn’t matter whether you take a class with a seasoned instructor or a new one. Today, I took Cayce’s community class. Freshly certified is dear Cayce. I LOVE taking her class. She is a physical therapist so is extremely knowledgeable about the body and I love how she explains the exercises and their benefits during class. I also love her sense of humour and wit. She cracks me up! Her choreography today was perfect. It was simple yet soooooooo hard! I love that! She taught Foldover for seat and exerted a neat choreography… ueber simple, yet totally bum-whipping… that had my glutes still shaking whilst trying to grip them during curl. OUCH!

I love walking out of a peer’s class thinking, “That was brilliant! I am going to learn from that and use it in one of my classes!”

But let me back up. Why do I love The Bar Method?

I was a dancer for 26 years… 11 of those professionally. When I stopped dancing, I still had a huge desire to stay fit and keep in shape.
I tried the whole gym rat thing and was uninspired. I love yoga and have taught it… but I love it more as a form of meditation and stretching of the mind and body.

The Bar Method has helped me to discover muscles that I didn’t know I even had.
It satisfies my love of dance… it helps you to be elegant and achieve gorgeous posture.
It satisfies my needs to have toned muscles… the hour-long workout works every muscle in the body to fatigue and then stretches them out after each intense exercise.
It satisfies my need to meditate…. I get “into the zone” during every class. Eyes shut, often with a grimace on my face, and clear, precise breathing…. I am taken away to another plane.
By the time I walk out of class, I am proud that I have made it through the hour and have worked to my greatest capacity.

People are always fascinated when they hear about the hard training that each Bar Method instructor has to go through.
An intensive week long training with a Master Teacher. Then a good 4-6 months post-training at the studio. Three written exams. Community classes and a video evaluation.
And even when you do become certified (and oh it is a joyous event!) then as instructors and as a studio, we get together every week to discuss the Method… to be sure we are doing things correctly and to soak up wisdom from Head Office.

The Bar Method is safe. It is good for you and it is healthy. We are trained to make modifications for any students with injuries or issues. The Method has been formulated together with Burr Leonard and physical therapists to be certain it is completely safe for the human body.

We pay attention and give individualised focus to very single student in the class…. during EVERY class. Usually several times during the class.

I refer to Burr as “God”! I know it sounds cheeky… but she is our guru. She is so knowledgeable and has the most amazing experience and history behind her.
She worked with Lotte Burke and then went on to form The Bar Method so meticulously with great attention to detail.
This is no fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants workout. This is a methodically thought-out and produced exercise regime.
And quite frankly, it works. Ask any client.

My body is addicted to it! I love how it has strengthened and sculpted my muscles.
And I love how it never gets old or any easier! It just gets harder and more challenging every day.

Today I was excited. I had a Bar Method breakthrough and was able to put my own note up on the pinboard. I completed 40 push-ups on the balls of my feet.
(In all my life, I have never been able to do more than 3… pre-The Bar Method.)
My dear friend Trish and fellow instructor said, “Hey! One for each year of your life!” If this is what 40 is all about doing The Bar Method…. then bring on 50 and 60!!!

Thank you, The Bar Method! You are the absolute bees knees! You have given me joy, a better body, a daily challenge, and some of the best friends and co-workers EVER!

First day at school…

Today began a new and big chapter in Gwennie’s life. She started Kindergarten.
I was quite sure that I wouldn’t get upset as she has been in preschool since the age of two and a half.
But I was wrong!

I think G could sense I was feeling a bit emotional first thing this morning as she kept holding my hand and giving me big random hugs.
So cute!

Ready for school!

I had to fight the tears back all the way to school (I didn’t want to upset her as she was so excited!).
She hopped out of the car as I blubbed, “I love you! Have a good day!” and she didn’t even look back.
Cue me driving off with tears streaming down my face!

I couldn’t wait to pick her up again.
Her teacher came up to me and said that she had had a wonderful day and that she was such a happy little girl.
That made me feel better!

G was full of beans and managed to tell me all about her day before crashing out in the car!

Sooooooo tired!

Mission accomplished!

She also started back at ballet yesterday. She has gone up to the next level and was very proud to wear her new uniform… a black leotard!!!
So grown up!

Tiny dancer!

Our little girl is growing up!

On the Other Side of the Door
I can be a different me,
As smart and as brave and as funny or strong
As a person could want to be.
There’s nothing too hard for me to do,
There’s no place I can’t explore
Because everything can happen
On the other side of the door.

On the other side of the door
I don’t have to go alone.
If you come, too, we can sail tall ships
And fly where the wind has flown.
And wherever we go, it is almost sure
We’ll find what we’re looking for
Because everything can happen
On the other side of the door.

-Jeff Moss

A letter to teacher…

I was inspired by a friend yesterday who told me that her Pediatrician had recommended she write a letter to her child’s upcoming Kindergarten teacher.
What a great idea! I hadn’t even thought to do that myself, so I jumped right on the bandwagon.

Dear Miss H,

Firstly, may I begin by saying how excited Gwennie, my husband, and myself are for her to be starting Kindergarten at LH. This is a very new and thrilling adventure for all of us.

We have several friends who have/had children at LHPS. Every single one of them sings great praises of the school and how their years there have been a solid and positive foundation for their children.

We don’t know each other yet but we are going to share something precious in common- both of us are going to make an incredible difference in the life of Gwennie in the upcoming year. I know that you will have a classroom full of beautiful children just like mine, and I know that there will be days that will feel less “beautiful” than others! On these days I wish you patience and grace!

Gwennie is a sweet girl with a caring heart and soul. She is very sensitive and has a tendency to take things very personally. She is very affectionate, is fiercely loyal to those she loves, and is a real helper. She has a great sense of humour and loves to entertain.

But like every child, I know she will have her moments in class. I want to thank you in advance for shaping my daughter and preparing her for the unknown and uncertain future that is ripe with possibility. I do have a few selfish requests though and I do hope they are not hard to fulfill. If Gwennie misbehaves or becomes troublesome, I need to know. I don’t want to be the “helicopter parent”, but I will always want to be involved and help make your life easier. I am only a phone call away. Also, if she is struggling with any of her work in class, please let me know so that we can work together to help her.

I would like to be involved in as many opportunities as I can for parental involvement. I will sign up for the holiday goodies, I will chaperone field trips when I can, and I will help you as much as possible for as long as my daughter is in your class. Never hesitate to reach out to me!

So, here’s to a wonderful year in Kindergarten! We are very much looking forward to all it has to bring!

Yours sincerely,

Sarah P

Béla Károlyi

My new nickname a la one of my sweet clients today!
Apparently I put them through their paces this morning… and due to the British accent, I made them think about the Olympics!
I had them all striving for gold medals! They were all winners in my eyes. A really great crowd this morning.

Good news… Cayce, dear friend, was-trainee, and new partner with Karen in the upcoming Dr. Philips location of the The Bar Method in Orlando, is now officially certified! BRAVO Cayce!
More good news… our beloved Kendra is officially a National Evaluator for instructors of The Bar Method!
Way to go girls… and here’s to The Bar Method Winter Park! So proud to be a part of the team!

Gold medals all around!

Vegas Baby!!!!

We had a truly wonderful time in Vegas. Talk about getting spoilt thoroughly by my amazing husband… and some other very special folks! I am such a lucky girl!

(Just to let you know you can click on the photos below to see them larger!)

We drove up to North Carolina with Kate on Saturday. It is such a long drive and I was so glad that we hadn’t done that with Gwennie in tow. We already have the “Are we there yet? This taking for aaaaages!” after just 40 minutes. Kate, on the other hand, is a trooper and slept the whole way up albeit for a few potty breaks.

I couldn’t get over how tall Gwennie looked when we arrived. She came running out of the house and I was taken aback! I swear she grew a few inches in just a week. Ginny had made a lovely dinner for us… Mexican pizza followed by delicious cupcakes from a new bakery in town, Oh My Cupcake!

With my bright little spark!

“Look at Miss Kate up there!!!”

Then it was time for an earlyish night as Bill and I had to be up at the crack of dawn again to get to Asheville airport.

Picked up in a limo at Las Vegas airport!

We arrived safely in Las Vegas and grabbed a bite to eat and a drink whilst we waited on our suite to be ready. We then just chilled for a bit and settled into our room before heading out to watch Zumanity at New York New York. Our friends Lourdes and Gerald were due to join us in Sin City for a few days, so we met up with them before the show and had a drink. It was so good to see them!

Me, Gerald, and Lourdes

Me and my handsome man!

Zumanity didn’t disappoint. It truly is such an amazing and fun show! We had a blast. Then it was off for a special birthday treat… to Joel Robuchon for a “quiet romantic” dinner with my hubby. I had been dying to go there for years! I knew something was amiss when we arrived the hostess said, “Hallo Mr Porter. Party of 5?” I knew Lourdes and Gerald weren’t eating with us so was a tad confused! We took a seat and waited in the reception area and shortly I noticed BFF, James McKeown, popping into my vision, followed by his lovely girlfriend, Laura. Bill went out to get them and told them the game was up… I had spotted them… and who should walk in with them but my Dad also!!!! Such a lovely surprise! I was just so thrilled to see them all! We enjoyed an amazing meal thanks to my darling Bill. It really was out of this world. The restaurant itself was stunning and very intimate. Such a fabulous treat!

Bill, me, Dad, Laura, and James

My beautiful salmon

Dad completely overwhelmed by his dessert!

Me and my love!

Monday morning brought an hour or so by the pool with my Dad. Then we went to meet up with Laura and James at Cesar’s Palace. We had lunch at Beijing Noodle No. 9… very kindly treated by James’ friend, Bonnie, who is the hospitality manager at the hotel. We enjoyed a lovely feast of Singapore noodles and various chow meins.

Me, Bill, James and Laura

Ready for lunch!

Bill and I then took Dad to see the Bellagio and experience its beautiful conservatory and Chihuly glass sculptures.

Chihuly glass

Bellagio Conservatory

The hotel lobby

In the evening, we all met up (introduced Lourdes and Gerald to James and Laura) and hit the show called Le Reve at the Wynn. It really is another of my faves and is stunningly gorgeous.

The Wynn Lobby!

Gorgeous couple!

Ready for the show!

We all headed to Gordon Ramsey’s Steak in Paris for dinner afterwards. We had a semi-private room to ourselves that was fab. I had Gordon’s signature Beef Wellington, which was to-die-for! So tender! Much laughter and hilarity, of course!

Beautiful Lourdes got lucky and won $2.75!!!!

Tuesday brought rainy skies, so Dad and I hit the Planet Hollywood Miracle Mile of Shops whilst Bill did some work at the hotel.

We then met up with Laura and James for lunch at the Wynn, at one of my fave lunch hangouts, The Terrace Pointe Café. We had to then sadly say goodbye to them as they were flying home that evening to the UK.

James and Laura gave me a gorgeous Pandora bracelet for my birthday!

Dad, Bill, and I walked back through Cesar’s Palace Forum of Shops. We got Gwennie a couple of cute outfits from Gap Kids.

In the evening, we met up with Lourdes and Gerald at Nobu at the Hard Rock Café. We had the most wonderful meal. Gerald and our waiter did an outstanding job of picking out various plates and dishes a la Tapas style. The flavours and quality of food was completely out of this world. I think we all agreed it was out best meal of the trip. So much fun! We wished James and Laura could have experienced it with us too.

In the MGM Signature Lobby

Oh Gerald!!!! I’m going to name my rock after you!

We kept our rocks as a memento of a fab night!

Happy birthday!!!!

Wednesday brought my big 4.0.
Crazy… I might look it, but I still feel 28 on the inside! Well, okay, maybe 32! LOL!

Dad, Bill, and I headed off to the airport and took a Maverick helicopter ride to the Grand Canyon. It was a beautiful day and we had a lot of fun.

Enjoying one of the seven wonders!

Looking all official!

Ready to take off!

Back in 2003, when Bill and I first went to Vegas, we took a helicopter ride to the Canyon and I thought he was going to propose to me. He didn’t until a good year later… but we always joked about it. This time, he grabbed my hand once we were out of “the bird” and proposed to me once again, finishing with “This time I brought a ring!” He proceeded to give me the most gorgeous amethyst David Yurman ring. It is absolutely stunning! Talk about being a spoilt lady! Dad bought me lovely pair of amethyst earrings to go with it. I was so delighted!


My beautiful ring and earrings!

Thanks Dad!


I love it!!!!!

The Grand Canyon

We enjoyed a glass of champagne, took some photos, and all too soon it was time to fly back to the city.

Bill and I met up with Lourdes and Gerald for lunch by the pool at their hotel, the Mandarin Oriental. What a gorgeous place! We had a fabulous lunch and some wicked cocktails! Then we had to say goodbye to the dear O’Connors as they were flying back to Orlando that afternoon.

I then hit the pool with Dad for a bit before heading up to get ready for the evening.

I came back to our hotel room to find a bottle of champagne and dish of gorgeous chocolate-covered strawberries from my beautiful boss (and friend!) Karen! I was so touched! She is so thoughtful!

Thank you, Kawen!!!!

Bill and I went to see the show Absinthe at Cesar’s Palace. Wow! What a show! So different, funny, intimate, spectacular, and close-to-the-edge! Definitely an experience! We loved it! Not for the faint of heart, that is to be certain!

Afterwards we met up with Dad at Emeril’s in the MGM for dinner.
What a full and fabulous day!

Thank you for the beautiful dress, Lourdes and Gerald!

Thursday was our day to catch our breath a bit! We had a leisurely breakfast and then Dad and I cooked out by the pool for most of the day!

In the evening, we went over to the City Center and showed Dad Crystals and the Aria Hotel. We then met up with Bill’s friend and former employee, Brian and his sweet girlfriend, Monique, at the Todd English Pub. We had a wonderful meal (again!)… Dad and I were excited to share oysters and introduce Monique to them! We then had a walk through the Cosmopolitan and had a drink at the Chandelier Bar, which was a lot fun.

With Brian and Monique

Crazy Vegas nights!

The boys at Crystals

At the Cosmopolitan

Friday morning came all too soon and Bill & I were up at the crack of dawn to catch our flight back to Asheville.

What a truly amazing five days! I can’t thank Bill enough for all that he did to make it so very special for me… and so much gratitude to my Dad, James, Laura, Lourdes, and Gerald for joining us and making it that much more fantastic!

Happy girly!

As you can imagine, I am feeling a bit flat now!!!!!

It was wonderful to get back and see Gwennie and Kate again… and Ginny too, of course! We were so grateful to Ginny for looking after our girls for us!

Our little flower!