Last Thursday,  I had the opportunity to attend a complimentary sketching day at Toolerstone House in  Cuddington. Never heard of it? Me neither. Without doubt, this will soon change, as the concept of mindfulness & nature will definitely put this lit known place on the map! 

I think it’s fair to say that in Cheshire, we have more than our fair share of both natural beauty in both the landscape and the architecture it houses. 

Full disclosure: I was not being ungrateful, but I really wasn’t in the right frame of mind for this type of activity, but I went along,  and to say that I was glad I did, would be the understatement of the year! The last thing I needed was to be sat half freezing to death in a private back garden, sketching flora & fauna!!

However, my mood changed immediately, when driving the almost hidden approach off Norley Rd; which had a seemingly ethereal quality to it. An imperceptible turn in the drive revealed a welcoming, partly black & white timbered family home, but it was the folly-esque tower emerging in the mist of a November morning, that looked intriguing to say the least! 

The ubiquitous reception tea, coffee etc , often tepid at best, as veterans of many courses will know, was of surprisingly superb quality and served with genuine warmth- indeed the staff were rightly delighted to share their work on making Toolerstone House a welcoming experience from the outset. No attention to detail is too small, or has been missed throughout the whole complex here. The former family home,offers homemade treats and a lunch that Claridges would envy; it has the qualities of a natural restorative retreat with the touches of luxury,  one might expect at a 5* venue. 

The course itself was in the spacious and well designed studio area, under the expert tutelage & entertaining care of local artist, Michael Troy. Throughout the well-planned day, he guided his charges through the skills & techniques of using a variety of media,which culminated in a beautiful gallery of pieces we all felt more than a little pleased with. Perhaps of more value, was the opportunity to reflect on nature and relax- which was at the heart of not just this course, but the whole ethos of Toolerstone House itself: Bourne out of personal tragedy for the family, what is emerging here is now full of joy- and the opportunity to escape, nourish and create.  Made all the more incredible as the majority of the courses are ‘gifted’ to those who work tirelessly dedicating their time to care for others.

We were also given a tour of the lake and the stunning, contemplative gardens by Gary, the estate manager, who is rightly proud and passionate, about what the team here are working together to achieve.

Hi Eleanor just want to thank yourself and the staff on what has been a really wonderful day. Not only did we enjoy it, but I feel, calm, relaxed, happy and contented. I would highly recommend your courses set in the most beautiful surroundings see you again soon xx

I just wanted to say thank you for a brilliant day today. The venue was beautiful and the staff so enthusiastic. The food was outstanding and I can’t thank the ladies enough for their hospitality. Michael was an outstanding teacher and I will be looking out for more courses. I have sent pictures of work to friends who are keen to attend future events. The free day is an excellent idea and gave me a day if “me” time I otherwise would not have tried.

Thank you again

I simply wanted to say thank you for today - apart from the long buried creativity which has been unearthed, every single thing about the day was perfect - the greeting, the atmosphere, the welcome and beautiful grounds...and lovely food too. A perfect day ...thank you so very much.

Hi Camilla and your team
Just wanted to say a huge thank you for such a wonderful day yesterday. Absolutely love the ethos of your project - so inspirational and a real win win for everyone. I enjoyed every minute, fabulous venue, delicious food, excellent teacher and everything was just so perfect. Thank you once again and I’m sure I’ll be back with friends very soon!
Best regards

Hi There
I came last week with the We Mind The Gap group for the willow weaving session and would just like to say thank you.  I had a great day and felt very looked after.  I really enjoyed the food and the whole estate was beautiful! Many Thanks

Hi Ladies
I just wanted to say a huge thank you for hosting us the other week.  I thoroughly enjoyed the day and the experience and you definitely forced me to switch off.  I've also seen painting with my kids in a new light now and see it as a relaxation tool.  I think you've got a great space with lots of potential for corporate groups and wellness events, definitely something that's needed!  I might even host my own event in the new year. I'd love to know more about all the activities you offer and will definitely be recommending you to any groups I think this is suited for.  If I can assist with anything else, please let me know.
Thank you again

Thank you for a wonderful day! Everything was perfect from the outdoor welcome, complete with description of our lovely surroundings from Gary, to the indoor welcome and safety info from Eleanor. The catering was fabulous, the plums in sauce with yogurt and granola for breakfast was yummy, as was the poached salmon for lunch. My waistline is now in recovery mode. I booked the "Botanical Textile Collage Workshop" with Jill as tutor and attended by myself, I immediately felt comfortble with the other lovely ladies attending the course. The workshop was thoroughtly prepared and Jill gave excellent, comprehensive instruction complete with all the equipment required. The day sped by at a great rate and I was sorry when it came to an end. My collage still needed work but I had the confidence to continue at come and complete it. I would warmly recommend this course to anyone able to thread a needle

A couple of weeks ago I attended the Botanical Textiles day, which I enjoyed immensely, the thought of the day still lifts my spirits and makes me smile.

Kind regards

Hi Camilla and Eleanor,
I just wanted to thank you for such a brilliant workshop today. Everything about it was perfect. I felt so welcomed into such a beautiful environment. Mel’s teaching style was excellent, providing us with a step by step approach and it was lovely to feel a sense of achievement at the end. Lunch too was lovely. 

Thank you so much.  Best wishes,

Dear Eleanor and Camilla,
I would like to thank you for the fantastic day I had with ‘we mind the gap’ on Wednesday. The whole day was so wonderful with the beautiful building and grounds, I have been to many organised events but the care and individual attentive attention (plus food) that was given by the team was the best I have experienced.  The event of duck willow weaving and Clare’s tuition even allowed me to produce a willow sculpture that looked like a duck, she was a brilliant and talented tutor. The duck is now in the garden although my wife and daughters still do not believe that I did it. Thank you again and I hope I can experience one of your day courses again.
Best wishes,

Hi There
I came last week with the We Mind The Gap group for the willow weaving session and would just like to say thank you.  I had a great day and felt very looked after.  I really enjoyed the food and the whole estate was beautiful! Many Thanks

Shopping Basket