20140527-181059.jpgMmmm…first, home grown strawberry of the season! Such a tasty treat, especially as this one came from a hanging basket that was left over from last year that I have basically ignored!

I felt quite naughty really. I was on my way to collect the children when I spotted it and…erm…to save them from the argument about who should have it, I ate it and thoroughly enjoyed it’s super sweet, juicy, yumminess all to myself!

And what is this glorious variety called that appears to need no love or attention? Well it is Fragaria (which I think is Italian for strawberry!) ‘Tristan F1’ which is a trailing variety ideal for hanging baskets. I got mine at an event organised by the PTA of my children’s school, Grange Primary PTA, to raise funds for the school where our local green grocer, Krunchy Karrot, came into the school with a selection of flowers and vegetables for sale. This was a win win situation, as we got great products, a local business was supported and the PTA was given a donation by Krunchy Karrot!

So, not only did my lovely strawberry taste great, I felt great (ignoring that I’ve deprived my children if this glorious first fruit experience!) as I supported causes close to my heart! Hurrah!

In an effort to redeem myself for stealing the first fruit of the season from my children (I do feel bad…honest!) I shall end with a quote from William Allen Butler

“Doubtless God could have made a better berry (than the strawberry), but doubtless God never did.”
William Allen Butler


Well, that was fun! This evening I had the, erm, pleasure(?) of watching the sex education video that my ten year old will soon be seeing.

Immediately, I’m showing my age as I think of it as a video when it is in fact a DVD. To add to this, the cartoons and somewhat cheesy 1970 footage of Mr and Mrs X making whoopie have been replaced by CGI images that where far more detailed than I had anticipated, making me feel somewhat prudish! All this, whilst sitting in the school hall surrounded by fellow parents and teachers…why did no one warn me of this?!

I obviously knew that, at some point, I would have to have the talk with my children but in none of the practice runs of this most awkward of chats that I’ve played through my mind did I anticipate a practically 3D image of boys and girls bits would be a visual backdrop to our conversation!!

Equally, although I obviously knew there was a video DVD, I hadn’t anticipated that I would be viewing it with people who I’ve seen twice a day, every week day for 36 weeks of the year for the last five years!! All in all, I think we all did very well, considering!

Unfortunately, we also got to see part two of the DVD which will be shown to them next year. In this section we not only get to see, thanks to more CGI, a simulation from penetration to conception but the footage of an actual birth of a baby – head crowning, delivery, the lot!

Needless to say, after such an enlightening yet somewhat traumatic rite of passage, I think a large one is most definitely deserved!!



Every so often I get overwhelmed with the amount of things that surround me. I feel them moving in closer, piling higher, suffocating me, almost burying me alive and I just want to shove it all in black bin bags and throw it all away.

Conversely, I often NEED to buy things, NEED to have them. I feel that I shall cease to exist if I don’t have a certain item be it a button, some fabric, something for the house, that perfect Christmas gift for the children. I just NEED it, regardless of practicality and finances.

I often wonder why? Why I have these feelings of suffocation and desperate need? I guess the need to have things goes back to my childhood and things I experienced while growing up.

I remember stories of how my maternal Grandmother gave all my Mum’s childhood belongings away, without asking, shortly after she married my Dad and the loss she felt as a result. And, even more devastating, of how my parents and siblings had to leave everything behind in Uganda when they had to escape from a military coup in the early seventies.

I also had first hand experience of losing belongings, firstly when our family had to move abroad for my father’s work and we had to be reduce the amount of things we had. And, then when my Dad and I found ourselves fleeing another military coup in Uganda in the mid eighties.

I can remember as clear as if it were this morning rather than nearly thirty years ago. My Dad sat me down and explained that he had heard the army would be opening the airports and that we were going to try and get a flight out.  He told me that if we didn’t manage to get a flight, that we would have to make a run for it and try and cross the boarder into Kenya. He said to pack a small bag, with only essentials.  So, of all my belongings, what did I take? The necessities like a pair of knickers and toothbrush, Ted (my teddy!) and my camera. It may seem odd to take a camera but I wasn’t sure if I would see my Mum and siblings again, so to ensure I would have something to hold onto, I took photos of all the family portraits in the house.

These experiences explain my fear of losing my belongings and, I think, my need to surround myself with things in order to feel safe and secure. However, I am confused as to why, despite my eleven year old self realising that things didn’t matter and that it is people who matter, why my adult self can’t seem to let the things go.

A life long, family friend decided a couple of years ago to try and reduce his belongings to 100 things.  I watched on with admiration as he sold or gave away his belongings and felt inspired by his feelings of freedom as he did so.  He did not get down to 100 items (questions like is a pair of socks one or two items did cause some difficulties) but I think the process helped to ease his situation. He tells me that he feels the process began as a reaction to his Mother’s death and the realisation that ‘stuff’ has little importance.

Again, I find myself back at the same conclusion as my eleven year old self – it’s people not things that matter. I also find myself back at the beginning of this post and considering packing all my stuff in bin bags and getting rid of them but I know that once I start the culling process, I will find myself reliving past memories that are attached to certain items and being unable to let go.

So, the point of this post? I have no idea other than I wanted to voice my confused feelings in the hope that I would come to some sensible conclusion or plan of action.  I have not.



I am SO very proud to be featured on The Sewing Directory today!

I was extremely surprised and pleased and terrified when the lovely Fiona chose my project to be one of two she would use to showcase the glorious Oakshott fabric.

I really hope you enjoy reading the tutorial and, hopefully making, my striped tie. If you do, make sure to comment and post photos – I’d love to see them.

To see the tutorial, click HERE


Yesterday I decided to get my Chinelo Bally on and here is the result – ta dah!

My lovely friend Nicky, of Shrinking Violet fame, kindly said I could have a go at making a dress for her and gave me one of her favourites to copy.

As I was too nervous to unpick her dress incase I killed it, I decided to roughly cut around the outline of her dress and free hand (hence getting my Chinelo Bally on!) the darts, hems and seams.

Nicky was really flexible about fabric and colour but she did make one request, that I add some buttons to the back. I considered raiding my button stash but decided that I’d keep it simple and stylish, so covered three buttons in the same dress fabric and use a the same colour ribbon to create button loops.

I’m quite pleased with the overall result and having just received a HUGE hug from Nicky, I think she is too!