Well it’s been a pretty great start to the New Year here at Teacup HQ. I’ve had lots of unexpected lovely commissions for artwork which have been keeping me busy. From Valentines doodle’s for loved ones, to anniversary presents and special birthdays for friends, husbands, wives, mums, dads, Nanas and Grandpas. I love the variety of my work and getting to deal with so many thoughtful, caring people is unbelievably good for the soul.
Talking of what is good for the soul, I’ve started a little ‘happy programme’ for myself and I wanted to share it with you. I’m not embarrassed to say that I ended 2018 on a bit of a low ebb. I’d spent a lot of the year building up my business in my spare time which didn’t leave much time for anything else. Along with a couple of other factors, this gradually led to a steady dimming of my ‘sparkle’.
Of course my business makes me incredibly happy and seeing it grow wings and fly was a huge highlight of 2018. It really was such an amazing year; my illustration sales tripled, I learnt new skills by digitising my artwork, I launched a new website and shop and started running children’s doodle workshops in my local area. I mean……YAY to all of that!!!
BUT….. it’s just one piece of the Toria puzzle and now I’m on a mission to find those other pieces. What makes Toria happy? What makes my soul feel full and content? What brings me joy and makes me smile and laugh? What keeps those sparkle levels nicely topped up?
I’ve spent so much of my life making other people happy that I didn’t always stop to ask these questions and even if I did, it wasn’t loud enough and it wasn’t often enough.
It feels like my heart is literally tugging at my sleeve telling me that NOW is the time and my soul is tapping her watch impatiently saying “Come on already, we’ve been waiting for you for AGES!”
And so just over a week ago, when a child-free night coincided with a commitment-free night in my diary, I booked a last-minute B&B and headed off on a solo trip to The Lake District.
This might not sound all that exciting or all that fancy….but to me it’s pure heaven. I LOVE the Lakes, I love the scenery, the walking, the pubs, the gorgeous tea rooms and the quaint B&B’s. It’s my happy place so it makes complete sense that I need to spend a lot more time there.
I stayed at The Sawrey House Hotel, next to The National Trust’s Hill Top Farm. I became a member of the National Trust (as part of my ‘happy’ plan) just before Christmas and the guide book is becoming my inspiration and compass! I adore historical houses and find British history facinating. Like many National Trust locations, Hill Top was unfortunately closed until February but that didn’t stop me having the most wonderful time.
I dined alone in the gorgeous hotel restaurant then retired to my room with a bar of chocolate to snuggle down and watch ‘The Greatest Dancer’ in my cosy single bed. I rose early the next morning for a delicious Lakeland breakfast and was out on the road by 9am walking along Esthwaite Water (Beatrix Potter’s inspiration for Jeremy Fisher) to Hawkshead.
The early morning sun and atmospheric mist provided the most beautiful photo opportunities which I happily captured with my trusty iphone. For lunch, I visited Wray Castle and devoured home made soup in the castle cafe and after a little more wandering and exploring, I called into The Sizergh Estate for afternoon tea on my way home.
For nearly 24 hours I did what I truly wanted to do and loved every damn minute. My heart was happy, my soul was nourished and my sparkle levels topped up…yay!
Why don’t you go and grab your own little slice of happy?!