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The Owner

Lesley graduated from Derby University in summer 2009 with a BA (Hons) in Complementary Therapies and is a member of the Federation of Holistic Therapists.  On graduating she worked at Royal Derby Hospital in Derby as a Complementary Therapist working holistically with cancer patients as a part of their treatment.  Later she worked with Children with severe learning difficulties which included Autism and non-verbal communication.

Complementary therapies are a passion for Lesley, and are now a necessary part of her life. The Paint-a-Pot Studio is another holistic avenue to explore and express

her love of art, design and creativity. She receives great pleasure in creating pieces for her own home, for loved ones, as well as helping others create their own masterpieces. 

Lesley says: "It's wonderful! You make an item such as a vase or a teapot that matches your decor, or a mug with a message that is unique to you which you either keep to use yourself or give as a gift for someone special.  Each time it is used it reminds you of the fun time you had making it or the shared moment of spending time with a loved one.  If it was a gift, how special does that person feel, receiving a personalised gift that you have spent so much time creating with so much thought?"

So it's a win-win situation - fun and therapy creating the masterpiece, then pleasure and a reminder of those happy memories each time it is used in the future.


The vision

To create a fun and relaxing atmosphere where people of any age and any creative ability (even those who think they have none) can come and create a lovingly made masterpiece for themselves or a loved one.  The focus of The Mug Tug is having a fun time painting a ceramic item of choice.  The bonus, which happens without trying, is a wonderfully therapeutic experience which can bring relief from tension and stress by the processes ability to absorb your thoughts away from your everyday troubles - this is why Grown-ups have more fun on The Mug Tug than the Children.

It is not only a pastime for one person; sharing the moment and ideas about their creations with a friend or family member brings more fun and creates shared memories. It's a wonderful activity for several generations of family members to participate in together, from grandparents through to grandchildren.


And what a unique place to do this - on a narrowboat! Permanently moored at two Marinas, The Mug Tug invites people of all ages and all abilities on board to experience the stylish, colourful, floating sensation! No need to 'borrow' a child to enjoy the fun, adults of all ages are encouraged to participate.


The vision realised

Whilst studying for a degree to become a complementary therapist, my family suggested that, once qualified, I could set up a treatment room on a narrowboat moored at Barton Marina, a place we live near and visited often.  Although I didn't feel the location was what I wanted for my therapy business, the idea of running a business on a narrowboat stayed with me as an exciting idea... but what?


A couple of years later, during a family holiday in the summer of 2009, we visited a craft village with a paint-a-pot studio to while away a few rainy hours.  It was during this visit, as the girls in the family were absorbed in our creations - all mugs - I appreciated how fun and therapeutic the activity was - a wonderful addition to my list of holistic activities to recommend to clients - to explore their creativity and reduce their stress levels! The cogs started whiring and hey presto - light bulb moment - THIS is what I would love to do on a narrowboat!  I told my Husband as soon as I saw him and  by the time we got back to our holiday house he had come up with the name..... and so The Mug Tug was born!


The Mug Tug opened it's door in October 2010 with an official opening by John Waterhouse in January 2011.


The vision expanded

When Mercia Marina in Willington, Derby decided to build their Boardwalk with boutique shopping facilities we were keen to join the community.  But we wanted something bigger!  We didn't quite make their official opening October 2014 but The Mug Tug Too, a 50ft Widebeam, opening it's doors in April 2015.

About The Mug Tug
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