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

Be careful what you wish for…

We’ve all heard these words haven’t we. These are the words I heard again the other day.

A couple of days ago, I spent another morning at the doctors. It seems I have caught more lurgy which in turn has triggered my labyrinthitis yet again. I feel cheated. Convinced it was getting better, I began thinking about what it would be like to live my day to day life again – jumping in the car, popping to the shops, taking my children out for the day.

In the last couple of days that has fallen by the wayside again and I feel I’ve been catapulted back to the very start again.  I was feeling pretty low when my mum said those familiar words ‘we need to be careful what we wish for’. Yes I certainly got my wish of having some ‘down time’, of having a break from work but it wasn’t exactly what I’d wished for.

I took this image just before things took a turn for the worst.  The Red Admiral always seems to find me at times when I need to remember to smile and think of happy times.

I took this image just before things took a turn for the worst. The Peacock butterfly always seems to find me at times when I need to remember to smile and think of happy times.

This set back got me thinking. Yes, it wasn’t exactly what I had hoped for but it’s what I’ve been given. Maybe I need to look closer at the positives it has given me instead of all the things I can’t or haven’t been able to do.

So here is my list so far:
1. It has given me time to think, contemplate and mull things over. I’ve made a few decisions which while them haven’t come to fruition yet, they have hopefully set a ball rolling.

2. It has given me more time to enjoy some down time with the girls. It’s true I can’t take them out or do many things with them but I can cuddle them on the sofa, read them stories, listen about the biggest’s day at school. Sure, I did all these things before but I tell you, I appreciate and savour them so much more when it’s all I can do!

3. I have started to appreciate my other half a lot more. I have always appreciated him on some level but like in any relationship there are times when you do take them for granted. He has been an absolute star – taking time off work when I’ve had to take a trip to hospital, looking after the girls to let me rest and just supporting me in general.

4. I have started being more honest with my Mum. This has been a tough one. In the times when Simon has been at work she’s been the one who has done the school runs, the one who has looked after my youngest, brought me food and listened to me vent my frustration and discuss my fears. I’ve been forced to speak up and ask for help – something that’s never come easily to me. So….

5. I’m learning to rely on others. I’ve been forced to realise, I can’t do it all on my own anymore. I realise it’s getting easier to ask for, and accept help from my husband, my mum, my Aunty. They, and others, have helped and offered support and I have been ok with that. Ok, let’s just say I’m more ok with that than I used to be!

6. I’ve had the time to plan out a few new creative ideas for Dollies Daydream. Downtime and thinking time has inspired me and while I am not physically capable of sewing thanks to this latest bout of labyrinthitis, I have new ideas and inspiration waiting for when the time is right.

My latest favourite... how apt for the moment!

My latest favourite… how apt for the moment!

7. I am learning to be patient and gentle with myself. I have recently been teaching personality types with my students. I am strongly aware that I am ‘blessed’ with many Type A personality traits…. Impatient, driven, competitive. I like to be organised and cannot understand people who are late to appointments. Impatience – well this has forced me to kick that into check. Driven? It’s difficult to push forward when you can’t do much. Organised? Nothing in my life feels organised at the moment and I am out of my comfort zone not knowing how I’m going to be feeling day by day. This is teaching me to slow down, count to 10 and take each day or hour as it comes (most of the time!).

8. I’ve caught up on trashy tv I’ve had taped for ages, reconnected with a classic film or two and read a few pages in some craft magazines – things I don’t have time for in my ‘usual’ life.

9. I have caught up on lots of sleep – maybe even slept away a wrinkle or two under my eyes (well a girl can dream anyway!)

10. I have been given the time and space to listen to myself and my body – to give it the rest and recuperation it needs (again, most of the time…it is a learning process after all)

That Henry Ford was wise as well as clever ;)

That Henry Ford was wise as well as clever 😉

So, maybe I should have been more specific when I asked for what I wanted or maybe this is what the Universe would have handed me anyway.  Maybe at this moment in time I don’t know what’s right for me, maybe I need more time to mull over my life and continue making changes.  All I know is that I’m not certain of anything.  Never knowing when it’s going to end – and now not knowing if it’s going to return – is difficult to deal with BUT focusing on the positive, looking at the blessings it’s giving me…however small…however unclear, is helping me (most of the time) to cope with it all. I only hope I remember all these positives and continue to change once I am healthy again.


Maybe we don’t have to be careful for what we wish for after all. Maybe we just need to know that life will always hand us what we need. Sometimes we get lucky and it matches our wish. Sometimes the world smiles, blesses us and throws us those curveballs we all love….

Until next time,

Toni xx ,