Grab a cuppa, a BIG piece of cake and settle down for a read…
I have some exciting and nerve wracking news! I have signed myself up to run the Manchester Half Marathon on October 13th! I’ll be running for my chosen charity, Bone Cancer Research in memory of my son’s school friend Jude Anderton who sadly lost his battle to Bone Cancer last year. You can read all about Jude on my charity page.
I’ll be very honest with you…my running career has been somewhat sporadic. In the past I have enjoyed running short distances (usually 5K) for general fitness and well-being, with the occasional 10K race for charity. However, this has dwindled significantly over the last two years choosing to swap my running shoes for dumbbells and a yoga mat!
Last weekend I had the honour of meeting the driving force behind the female running club Solemother, based in Urmston, Manchester. The club was founded by the inspiring Grace Lees and offers a safe and supportive community where women not only exercise together but motivate each other and build friendships. I was invited by Grace to run a ‘Wonderful Me’ doodle workshop for the club’s junior members; the Soleminis at her home.
What if we taught out kids about self-esteem and self-acceptance so that they felt more resilient? What if we always encourage them to love everything about themselves, to celebrate their strengths and see their differences not as flaws but ‘special features’ that make them unique? What if they arrived at high school, having done some self-esteem groundwork that helped them feel happier and more confident in themselves? Wouldn’t it be wonderful?!
I’ve always enjoyed being creative and deep down I’m pretty sure I’ve always wanted to run a creative business. As a little girl, I used to write and illustrate stories and doodle handmade birthday cards. Then there were the magazines and comics I’d make with my sister and try to sell to our friends. Or the human joke machine (a card board box with a hole to put money in and a hole to push a joke out!) crafted by me and my best friend that we carted round the neighbourhood dispensing jokes for 10p a go.
Of course my business makes me incredibly happy and seeing it grow wings and fly was a huge highlight of 2018. 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 been having a little think about goals and intentions for the year ahead but I’m not in a rush to put any pressure on myself. On a personal level, having turned 40 last year, I’d like to get fitter and healthier than ever but not just in the physical sense. I’m finally learning the importance of ‘self-care’ by prioritising my emotional well-being and happiness. Keeping my mind, body and soul in tip top condition feels the most important intention to have.
Hooray half term holidays are here at last! There are so many fab Halloween activities and places to visit at this time of the year. Manchester and the surrounding areas have some great places to visit. Dust off those spooky costumes, grab your wellington boots and visit my top 5 Halloween family days out!
I’ve had a little spring in my step lately and it’s all because I’m attending a free 10 week business course. It’s run by a local community charity called V-Cat and funded by Natwest/RBS. The course provides training and support to women who are looking to start their own business. It’s just what I’ve been looking for to help turn my doodle workshop dreams into reality.
I'm VERY excited to introduce you to my sparkly new website and shop! It's a wonderful feeling and it’s something I’ve dreamt about for quite some time now. And….none of this would be possible without such lovely customers and supporters. I can honestly say hand on heart, that the people I work with make my job an absolute joy. Thank you so much for your continued words of encouragement, amazing reviews, love and support.
Art is BRILLIANT for children. It always has been and it always will be. Sadly it’s becoming a smaller and smaller part in our children’s lives and school budget cuts mean it’s disappearing from school life too. This means that children are spending LESS time being creative. Yet…there are so many benefits! Here’s a list to inspire you to ‘accidentally’ leave the ipad at home next time you go out for dinner…