Breaking the rules

All my life, I have taken pride in the fact that I am good. I do what I think is expected of me. I fear taking risks in case they fail and I leave myself open to judgement and criticism.

As I have grown, I guess these actions have served me well but it’s also stopped me growing as a person. I’m finding now that as I delve further into my creativity, it is becoming an enemy rather than a friend. What helped me get through life in a way I found acceptable is now hindering my work. I find that I am torn between continuing the way I have always done, of doing what is expected of me and wanting to walk towards my dream life – by stepping over that line and being a rebel.


The more I accept the daredevil inside me, the more the fear builds and ultimately, the louder that voice gets. You know the one; the one that is quick to criticise, to tell you what is going to go wrong, to let you know just how you will let others down – how others will judge you.

So the other morning I sat and thought. In a rare moment without my girls and husband around, I turned off the TV. I refrained from listening to music, made a cup of tea and sat outside. Listening to the birds, I just sat and closed my eyes. As seconds passed and I thought about where I was and where I want to be, I suddenly started distinguishing between what my heart was screaming and what my head was telling me. For the first time, I realised that my head was always a fraction behind my heart. Everything my heart was saying made me feel good to my core. Whenever my head spoke, I felt fear.
listen in the silence and hear the voice of your heart
That moment defined my future. It has helped me to make the first steps towards the life I want and the life I need. I want to rediscover the joy in life and teach my kids that money is not what counts; its how happy you are that matters. I don’t know what will happen in the long term after I make this change and that scares the life out of me, but I already feel as though a weight has been lifted. If I listen closely, there’s another voice inside that’s whispering that it’s ok; that I need to have faith, that I should trust that everything thing will be good and when those bumps in the road come along, as they inevitably do, I will cope. Everything I’ve done and learned has led to this and it’s time to move forward….one step at a time.

Until next time,

Toni x


I haven’t written for a while now, maybe you’ve noticed, maybe you haven’t. 2015 is moving pretty fast and I hope it is all you wished for and more.

The truth about my silence is that I honestly didn’t feel I had anything to say. Every thought I had, I felt like it had already been said, already been heard. Everything has being feeling a bit routine and flat.

In response to these feelings, I decided to do something different – I booked myself, my sister in law and her mum onto a one day patchwork course. We all have skills we wish we could learn if we had time but often they stay on our to do list. I had been on one of Danielle’s courses before at and loved it so I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed.

 My completed project  

It was nothing short of intensive and at this moment in time I never want to see another piece of bias binding in my life! There were times I loved the process and many more times I wanted to throw the blanket and the sewing machine through the window. Like many of you, I struggle as a learner especially when things don’t turn out perfect first time around. (No surprises that they often don’t!)

Looking back, maybe that was the problem. I had started putting limits on my life for exactly that reason – so I didn’t fail. The problem was that while I didn’t have to experience and face the feelings that come hand in hand with failure, I also didn’t feel challenged. I didn’t feel excitement and I felt low.

Alongside this creative day out, I also received an offer to work on an exciting new project for the fantastic Sheffield based company Folk It. This company has a fantastic product – their gorgeous painting kits give everyone (regardless of how artistic you believe you are) the confidence to learn to paint.

I could have declined the invite. It crossed my mind because I knew there may be elements that would push me beyond my comfort zone. After a moment though, I knew it was my head talking. When I spent a moment listening to that other quiet voice that I too often silence, I knew this change had sought me out for a reason. I may not know the path the project will take but for once, I’m ok with that. (Haha how I’ve grown!)

In such a short space of time, my mind has burst into life. I am carrying around a notebook to record ideas, quotes, sketches. I am walking back into my craft room feeling enthused and I realise I’m living a creative life again.

People often make new years resolutions that die out before January has even ended but I wonder whether I might be more successful if I make smaller goals throughout the year and I’m looking forward to thinking up a few for the year to come. Either way, I feel as though I can certainly tick off ‘Learning a new skill’ from my list. It may have tried my patience at times but I like to think of my labour of love as the most beautifully imperfect blanket my girls will wrap their dolls in 🙂

What goals have you achieved this year? What dreams have you yet to fulfill? Id love to hear about your progress so far 🙂

Until next time,

Toni x

If I couldn’t fail….


I saw this quote the other day and it got me thinking.  Fear is something we have all experienced. Fear is an emotion we experience when we feel we cannot cope with what life throws our way.

When I was younger, I feared many things but with time, I have learned I can cope with many things but the one thing I find difficult to overcome is the prospect of failure.  It’s no secret that I can be a bit of a control freak – if I feel I  am in control, I feel as though bad things are less likely to happen. Crazy I know. I’m working on it.  I am a work in progress.


But… as well as being a control freak, I am a perfectionist – probably a by-product of trying to stay in control.  I am familiar with the critical voice inside our heads that questions whether we are good enough, whether our work is up to scratch and whether we can do better.

Anyway…I digress. The point I was trying to make was that when I saw the quote it struck a chord.  I felt full of hope. I suddenly began thinking of all the things I would do if the fear of failure wasn’t hanging over me.  For a while, I couldn’t think of a sungle thing. The fear of failure I have lived with for so long had pushed all hopes out of the window.  My daydreams had been limited…so I continued to think and here is my list (so far and in no particular order):

1) Audition for a West End musical. Once upon a time I danced – ballroom, latin, tap. I loved it all. I love music and the feeling of moving around a dancefloor is amazing. I loved watching musicals and when I watched a musical on stage, I imagined what it would be like to be a dancer. I didn’t covet the star role I just wanted to dance.  If I couldn’t fail, I would audition for that part.

2) Walk the Inca trails – to do this would be amazing.  If I knew I could do it without facing failure, this would definately be on my bucket list.

3) Become thinner 😉

4) Create something every day.  Sometimes that inner voice is so loud, it stops me in my tracks.  Even when I was doodling the quote in my sketchbook, I wanted to stop every time I drew something that I didn’t like and everytime I made a mistake.  I forced myself to use it on this blog entry to practice ignoring that voice, to become more comfortable with the imperfect parts of my creativity.


Next is a big fear…I have already faced so many fears from day one of starting Dollies Daydream and for each one I have dealt with the fear of failure and done it anyway. Today, however, if I couldn’t fail I would:

5) Quit my job to concentrate on Dollies Daydream.  This is a big dream for me.  It is one path that I am desparate to walk but the fear of failure, the fear of giving up our financial security is a big sticking point for me. I know I am not alone. When I talk to others about my dreams, there are many who will highlight the possible negative consequences of this action. It seems that we do not just feel that fear for ourselves but we feel the fear for others – we warn others against actions we believe will end in failure.

Why is it so easy to concentrate on the negative? Is it back to that old saying “to be forewarned is forearmed”? When I think of my children growing up and facing a decision to follow their dreams, I like to think that I would encourage them to walk the path they wish, that I would support them no matter what. I would tell them that whatever the outcome, we learn something valuable whether it is through tears or smiles.

So if fear is the result of a belief that you cannot cope with the othercome, I guess I have to ask myself whether I can.  I have to weigh up whether we will survive whatever events my decision may bring.  If the answers are yes then I have to see whether I really am brave enough to take that leap.

One thing I will aim to do is teach my children there is no such thing as failure. I will try every day to nurture a kind and loving inner voice in the heads of my children so that they aren’t limited by it and are free to follow their hearts.

So – what would you attempt if you couldn’t fail? What risks have you taken that have paid off?

Until next time,

Toni xx