Sarah Claire

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Learning About Traditional Pilates at The Pilates Pod, Hitchin

[Gifted experience] As someone who has been less than active over the past few years, joining the gym last September was a turning point for me, and I find myself with a new found interest in forms of exercise - despite my lack of experience. Last Monday, I headed over to The Pilates Pod in Hitchin for a 1:1 Pilates session, and to learn more about traditional pilates. 

If you're unfamiliar with The Pilates Pod, they are an award-winning Classical Pilates studio in Hitchin, Hertfordshire - and the only one in Hertfordshire, too! They use traditional pilates apparatus and methods, and offer a range of classes, such as mat classes, tower/barrel and chair classes (using the traditional pilates apparatus), pregnancy/postnatal classes and 1:1 or 2:1 sessions. So there's a lot of variety and something for everyone!

On arriving at The Pilates Pod, I was greeted by the owner of the Pod, Michelle. Michelle was absolutely lovely, very friendly, and gave me an introduction into Pilates, and the origins of it... 

Pilates was created by a man called Joseph Pilates, in the early 1900s. Pilates was a sick child, suffering from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever. He didn't want to be a sick man, so he spent his entire life trying to improve his physical strength, developing his own methods in the process and eventually becoming a very strong man. He initially developed his own set of exercises and techniques, which he later refined into a series of exercises using minimal apparatus and mats. He was a gymnast and a bodybuilder, and taught self-defence and wrestling - a far cry from the sick man that he once was. Alongside this, he also taught his methods to others. He continued to refine his methods, calling it "contrology" - Pilates is all about control, and controlling your body from your core. 

Nowadays, pilates has been adapted and changed over time, and often the mat exercises are the focus. Pilates is often taught in places like community or school halls, and although it is great that you can do pilates anywhere - all you need is a mat - often classical pilates is overlooked.  As I mentioned earlier, The Pilates Pod is a classical pilates studio - complete with classic apparatus. Classical pilates is all about following the traditions and authenticity of the pilates that Joseph Pilates created. During my 1:1 session, I got to use some of the apparatus. I've honestly never seen classical pilates apparatus before, so initially, they were slightly scary looking! But they're really not at all - once I got used to them, they were fine!

We started off on the reformer - a piece of apparatus with a carriage, which moves back and forth,  a footbar, which you can use with either your hands or your feet, and handles too. It is also powered by springs, which work similarly to weights on a gym machine. Springs are an integral part of classical pilates - pretty much all the apparatus is powered by them. It looks slightly scary at first, but I actually really enjoyed using this - it was an experience, although I struggled with a couple of the exercises. It really is amazing how much you can control with your core though, pilates really helps you bring out and use some muscles that you didn't even realise you had!

I also did some exercises on these chairs  - on the left we have the "Wunda chair", and on the right we have the "High Chair" - which is often nicknamed the Electric chair, due to it's appearance! Fear not - there's no electricity involved here, just a lot of core strength! I did an exercise on the high chair called "going up front". This is done by having one foot on the pedal, and one foot on the seat of the chair, and then you rise up - using the springs of the chair, and your centre for I brought myself up - as demonstrated here. I initially found it hard, but then got used it and found that when you put your mind to it, anything is possible! Like the reformer, this is also powered by springs - heavy ones at that! You have to be really careful getting on and off of this, because if you suddenly take one foot off of the pedal, you could send yourself flying over the chair (which would not be ideal!)

I definitely found the High Chair easier to use, as you can hold on to it and have more control of the top of your body, although interestingly the High chair actually has heavier springs - heavier springs give you more support though. I liked the Wunda chair too though, and it's especially good for if you really want to challenge yourself.  Pilates actually invented the Wunda chair to be an actual chair, that you just add springs to in order to work out!  You have to be careful though - I did feel like I was going to fling myself over the chair!

I had a really good afternoon at The Pilates Pod, and it was really interesting to learn about pilates, an area of the fitness world that I literally knew nothing about. It was also very rewarding - some of the exercises were quite challenging, but I'm really proud that I managed to do them - anything is possible if you put your mind to it.  I'm filled with curiosity about pilates now, so maybe I'll do more?! I'd definitely consider returning to The Pilates Pod - as I previously mentioned, they do 1:1/2:1 sessions as well as classes.

You can find more information about The Pilates Pod and what they do over at their website - Click Here to visit it!

And heres a selfie with Michelle - The Pilates Pod's lovely owner!

Have a great week, 
Sarah x


Friday, 8 February 2019

L'Oreal Infalliable More Than Concealer | Review

When it comes to concealer for myself, the fuller the coverage, the better. I'm always open to trying new concealers, especially if they're promised to be full coverage. I've used a selection of products from L'Oreal's "Infallible" range before (the Infallible powder being a makeup bag must-have for a number of years now. When I heard that L'Oreal had released a new line of concealers, promising a full coverage & matte finish, I knew I had to try it out.

L'Oreal's "More Than Concealer" is available in 25 shades and promises a full coverage, matte finish. It also claims to be ultra-lendable, long lasting and weightless, and can provide this coverage for up to 24 hours. That's pretty much everything I wish for in a concealer, so as you can imagine, I had high hopes for this.

I picked three different shades of the concealer, and luckily the store I went to had all 25 in stock, which meant I could really see the range in full! I really respect L'Oreal when it comes to their diversity and inclusion, they always have a wide variety of shades on offer,  their True Match foundation comes in 28 shades, the Infallible foundation comes in 26 shades. Anyway, this range is pretty good, I feel like we've come so far since I started wearing makeup - I would only see a wide colour range like this in high-end shops like MAC or Urban Decay, not in Boots. 

After a lot of deliberation, I decided to pick up three shades:

#326 Vanilla - a light, yellow-toned shade that I'd use as a highlighting shade when I've got a tan, or just as a "natural colour" concealer for when I don't have a tan.

#331 Latte - still yellow-toned, but a bit darker. A shade that just kind of matches my tan, but could still be used for highlighting.

#340 Chestnut - a darker concealer that I'd use for contouring. This shade is ideal for if you've got a darker skin tone too, but as I like to use concealer to contour my cheeks, I picked this up for that reason.

The concealer has a doe-foot applicator, similar to the applicator that comes with the infamous Revolution "Conceal and Perfect" concealer. I've been using the Revolution concealer for absolutely ages now, and I really rate these sized applicators - they cover a much wider surface area and I just generally find them easier to use, so this was a hit for me.

On application, I found that the concealer is very high coverage - you definitely don't need a lot of it, and a little goes a long way. It's very easy to blend, I just blend it out using a Real Techniques sponge and it looks great on. The concealer does have a very matte finish, I have pretty oily skin so this does work well for me, but if you do have dry skin I could imagine this being quite drying - but by all means, give it a try. I haven't tested the 24hr wear theory, purely because I don't need to wear it for 24 hours (who does?) but for the long flights I've worn it for (one being a near 14 hour day) it did last very well. 

The concealer is priced at £9.99, which I believe does make it the most expensive concealer that L'Oreal currently do (correct me if I'm wrong, that's just what I found from research) - so it is kind of expensive compared to say, True Match - but the coverage is definitely higher than True Match so I'd put it down to that. I don't think this price is unreasonable for a concealer though, especially of this quality - I am really impressed with it.

I have seen a lot of people comparing this to Tarte's Shape Tape, and saying they are very similar - something that I can't comment on or compare myself due to never trying Shape Tape. Honestly, I'd love to try it - but I simply can't justify spending £25-30 on a concealer that I can't even colour match for as I'd have to get online. Many others are saying that the two concealers are very similar though, so if you're looking for something like Shape Tape for literally 1/3 of the price, then this concealer might be for you.

Overall I would recommend the More Than Concealer - it's high coverage, it's long wearing, it's affordable and easily accessible - a good all-round product in my opinion! 

You can purchase L'Oreal's new More Than Concealer from a variety of retailers, notably Boots and Superdrug if you're in the UK.

Thanks for reading!
Sarah xx


Saturday, 5 January 2019

New Beginnings.

Hi Everyone!

Welcome to my blog. 

Some of you may remember me from my previous blogging venture - my blog "Loved by Sarah". I stopped blogging in August 2017, after struggling to dedicate the time to my blog, and ultimately, falling out of love with it. I was working crazy hours, had no time whatsoever and was in a pretty bad place, so sadly my blog was left on the backseat, unloved. That's all changed now - I have a new job, which I love, a lot more free time, a new-found love for travel and a lot more motivation. 

So why not go back to Loved by Sarah? To be honest, I wanted a completely fresh start. As much as I  loved my old blog and had built it up over the years, I was a very different person back then, as I'd just rather start fresh. I would have changed the name of my blog anyway, so it made sense to me just to start a new one - a blank canvas!

So, you can expect a variety of content from me - ranging from beauty reviews, lifestyle, travel posts and the occasion fashion edit too. I have so many ideas, and I cant wait to see where this blog takes me.

I hope you enjoy my blog, and a massive thanks for reading! Keep up to date with my latest posts & what I'm up to by following me on Twitter and Instagram.

Love Sarah x
© Sarah Claire

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