the tale of Sacha Grierson & Lola Flanery


Photography: Mirza Noormohamed Words: Georgie Abay

Sacha Grierson couldn’t be a more inspiring role model for her nine-year-old daughter Lola. The stylish Toronto based mother is the co-owner of Eat My Words, a bakery offering cupcakes with a conscience. The bakery was originally set up by Grierson’s own mother and is now run by the dynamic mother daughter duo who are dedicated to raising money for the Stephen Lewis Foundation, which provides HIV/AIDS counseling, education and prevention in Africa. “My family always placed a lot of importance on giving back. Volunteering was something my mother instilled in me from a very young age, which essentially was how Eat My Words was born,” she says. “It’s pretty philanthropy and lets me indulge in my love of aesthetics as well as giving back.” Given her upbringing, it's no surprise that Grierson believes that generosity and gratitude are two of the most important things we can teach our children. “I place a lot of importance on both generosity and gratitude, both of which I hope to pass on to Lola,” she says.

On motherhood, Grierson is open-minded and careful when giving advice to others. “It has taught me how fallible I really am and also that we all come at it from such different situations. What works for one person might not work for someone else,” she says. “I raised Lola as a single parent so my experiences are very different from my girlfriends who had their partners with them, but the one thing that I believe is applicable to everyone is to simply ENJOY IT! Don’t rush through the stages, they all come with good and bad parts and they are over in a blink of an eye.” We caught up with Grierson in her beautiful Toronto home to find out more about her life…

On her health and beauty regime:
I’m pretty basic when it comes to my beauty routine, I have a definite less is more mentality, which has been a constant both before and after Lola. As with most things I crave simple but good. I use Mereadesso’s Face + Neck Cleanser followed by the All-In-One Moisturiser and I never ever go to bed without washing my face! Exercise is a must for me, as much for my mind as for my body. Since Lola and I travel quite often, I tend not to rely on equipment. Running and yoga are the best combination for me. My trainers, iPod and mat can go anywhere.

On pregnancy:
I loved being pregnant. My body responded so well to it. I was so accepting of my body. I find we tend to be quite hard on ourselves and have this idea of what we should look like, but when I was pregnant I felt an actual exhale which allowed me to just love all the changes and be grateful for what was happening – I was making Lola!

On her daughter’s room:
Lola is quite a little collector. Her room is filled with charming pieces, both old to new. The desk in her room was my great grandmother’s desk and is now paired with a more modern chair. Her collection of stuffed animals is my favourite thing in her room. She’s absolutely mad for every single one and believes they posses certain human qualities, it’s that lovely childlike imagination and whimsy that I hope she holds onto for as long as possible.

On working with The Stephen Lewis Foundation:
I chose The Stephen Lewis Foundation, which funds community-level projects that provide care and support to those living with HIV and AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa, because my family is from South Africa. I’ve spent a great deal of time there and see first hand the enormous amount of need. Lola did become my main focus, but also in a way that I saw how much she took from me and the example I wanted to set. I’m still so influenced by the things my mother did when I was a child, so much so that my job reflects it. I only hope I do the same for her.

On finding balance:
There is never a perfect balance and I think acknowledging that is the best thing we can do. I know that I may occasionally drop the ball, but that I’ll also pick it up again. Now that Lola is at school all day, I’m sure to get most of my device driven things done while she is there. From when I pick her up to when she goes to bed is our ‘talk time’. The inner workings of a nine-year-old are far more interesting than anything else. I’m admittedly a bad juggler. Lola comes first and then everything fits in after. I was living in Los Angeles when Lola was born, but after having her I craved my family. I’m insanely close with my parents and brother and couldn’t imagine her growing up not seeing them often. Home is wherever your family may be, so coming back to Toronto was all about her growing up surrounded by them.

On her love of interiors:
One of my favourite things to do when I was Lola’s age was to drive around with my father at night so I could look into the windows of people’s homes. I was always so fascinated by how they lived their lives. The interiors were an extension of that, what the interiors might tell me about them. My father and I would weave some wonderful stories about the people based on what we might catch a glimpse of. I sometimes wonder what people would imagine if they saw into mine. My favourite room in our home is Lola’s room. I love watching her busy herself in there, becoming her own person and expressing it through something as simple as how she arranges the things on her desk.

On her personal style:
At this stage of the game comfort comes first but looking good is a very close second. Comfortable chic is what I’m striving for, as well as convincing myself that sometimes sweatpants are fashionable. Motherhood has forced me to embrace flats. I was a high heel addict, I wore them all through my pregnancy and swore I would never give them up, but breaking a heel of my favourite pair while carrying Lola soon cured me of it."

Sacha’s little list of loves:
Green House Juice Company - I’m always running around so to have one of their juices in the car or in my bag is perfect, sort of an ‘open in case of emergency’. They are delicious and nutritious, so I never mind sharing with Lola.
Pomegranate Noir cologne by Jo Malone - this is an ‘always’ favourite. Best smell ever, second only to the smell of Lola’s head as a baby.
Kensington Market - such a vibrant and diverse neighbourhood. One of my favourite things to do with Lola on the weekend is wander through the food shops and vintage stores there.
Clotilde Dusoulier’s recipe for Leeks Vinagrette. Serious food obsession right now.
A glass, or maybe two, of Casa Raia Brunello di Montalcino. I think that may actually keep the doctor away.
Racine Carrée, the new record from Stromae. It’s on constant repeat right now.
Vitamix - it’s the superhero of all kitchen appliances.
Stay home movie nights with Lola. I don’t imagine a time when I won’t love her snuggled up to me.
Dinner with friends.  I have the most amazing group of friends. A mix of such creative, kind and funny people.
Fresh flower shopping. I could spend hours at the market. If I had to pick a favourite, it would be dahlias or peonies.

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