A Change of Direction

I have not been blogging for a few months now. In that time I have been thinking about the things that are really important to me. Life has a way of making you stop and reconsider sometimes.  In July I was diagnosed with Invasive Lobular Carcinoma ( Breast Cancer). It happened very suddenly... I felt a lump, thought nothing of it. I have been told that its normal for women to develop lumps sometimes. I thought I should check it out, only to have peace of mind. Listening to the doctor confirm what it is was, was surreal... surely it can't be true!!!!!

Just like that, instantly my life and the lives of my children and my husband changed. Instantly I knew the only thing that mattered was that I see my children grow up, that I be around to be in their lives for as long as I can.

Ireland 2015

Ireland 2015

Everything has settled down now. I am having chemotherapy and I am grateful that my situation is not as bad as other people's.  Now I have begun to think about ME, what about my life. How would I like to live? Many of us forget about ourselves when we are busy with our families. I now know that I need to find time to do what I enjoy too. I mean, don't get me wrong. I love my children, I love my husband. However, I am a person and I need to take a moment in time to do some things that are just for me.

This is how the weekend retreats were born. For the past two years I have run workshops for yarn lovers that lasted only for a day. It is great fun, but after the busyness of the workshops were over, everyone left to go home. There was no time to sit and enjoy a meal together, to talk about our lives and our interests, to listen to what is happening in the lives of others.  This, I feel, is really missing in today's society for some of us. After all, talking, eating and enjoying a meal, getting to know another person better, whilst enjoying crafts and activities together... surely these are life's memorable moments too? Surely when we go back home to our busy lives of caring for others, of working, of being the responsible adult...we will do it so much better? Refuelled by inspiration , relaxation, laughter...a moment in time to be YOU.

Life is too short, in my opinion. I can't sit around waiting. The first retreat is planned for 10-13 June 2016. It's in a beautiful house in Rye, Sussex.  There is a heated pool, a Hamman steam room and a view of the sea.  More details of the house can be found here.  There will be two workshops on Saturday and one on Sunday. Details of the workshops will follow, but I guarantee they will inspiring.  A cast on party on Friday night will kick start events ( Crocheters and beginner knitters will be catered for too). All meals are included, and of course delicious cakes will be enticing us throughout the weekend.  The retreat is for three nights, check in on Friday evening and check out on Monday morning.  Prices and booking will be available soon. However, if you are keen to find out more, visit my Facebook page here .

A Workshop With Beth Kirby

It's been so long since I have written here. Life has been frantic for some reason or another and I have been unable to find a balance and a steady pace.  It gets like that sometimes I guess, for most of us.

I do, however,  need to share my amazing adventure in Italy. About three weeks ago I flew to Italy to participate in a 6 day workshop with Beth Kirby from Local Milk .   I arrived late on the first day due to having missed my flight from Rome, so unfortunately I missed the introductions of the other 11 people that attended.  I did make it in time for dinner prepared by Beth, it was the most welcoming sight to my travel weary soul.

A workshop with Beth Kirby

 Each day breakfast was a lovely ritual in this beautiful setting. It was delightful  to come downstairs, eat, chat and just share little bits of our lives and goals with like minded people.  

A workshop with Beth Kirby

The actual learning on the course was unrivalled by any other course I have attended (and I have attended a few).  I now feel that I have a good working knowledge of my DSLR camera. Previously I just changed settings randomly. Now, if I am not achieving the result I am after, I KNOW which settings to change.  I understand my camera and can now enjoy the full benefit of the camera's 'manual' setting. 

A workshop with Beth Kirby

Each day was full of new learning experiences. We learned about different types of photos and how to style effectively to get our desired message across. Beth is a very attentive teacher and we each received a fair amout of one-to-one tutorials and advice from her.

A workshop with Beth Kirby

Food styling was a big portion of the course and it was so inspirational. Beth's love of the ritual of sharing food really shines through here.  The food was a delicious detail of the trip. We went to dinner in two local restaurants, enjoyed Beth's fine cooking and also had an amazing meal prepared by a local family. Good food really turns strangers into friends, I find.

The house was sublime. This setting provided the perfect tranquil backdrop to a day full of brain work.

A workshop with Beth Kirby

It was so sad to say goodbye to everyone and it took weeks to return to my normal self, and continue with my daily activities.  I would definitely go to another workshop with Beth. Though I learned so much from her, I am sure she has at least twice as much more that she could teach me.  Really, I would just go for her company, she is down to earth, straight forward and so likeable .

A workshop with Beth Kirby

Writing Letters

When they say a 'picture speaks a thousand words'.... In the photo below, everything is laden with meaning. The letter writing that my father loved to do. The vintage writing set that I bought for him about 20 years ago, that he gave to me 2 weeks ago. The lilac which he loves so much and which reminds him of his own mum.

My father lost his wife last year, very suddenly. We were all shocked, she was healthy and it was not expected. So many things were left unsaid for him. It breaks his heart. They went to bed one Friday night after talking about their plans for the holiday they had planned a few weeks away. She had a stroke and never regained consciousness. She passed away two days later.  The fact is, he now feels so very lonely.  We make every effort to see him every weekend, but its not the same.

Next week I am away for the week. Though he does not see me during the week, we chat on the phone a number of times each day. Whilst I am away, we will have less opportunity to talk. He will feel even more alone. I have been worrying about this, as I do, whenever we go away.

Then I remembered when I moved to the U.K. I was 19 years old and all alone. My father wrote me a letter every single day. It was the highlight of every day for me. Waiting and listening for the postman. To hear the clatter of the letter flap made my heart soar. For three years he wrote me every single day, posted a letter every single day so that I could receive my little ray of light... every single day.

So, I decided to write him a letter that will arrive next week, whilst I am away. I hope it will make him feel loved.  

Taking a moment in time


40 Facts About Me for The Hive

Tomorrow I fly to Berlin for  a bloggers conference,  THE HIVE .  The organiser of the event suggested we post 40 facts about ourselves so that we can get to know each other.  I was reluctant to do this as I thought I have nothing really interesting to say about myself. Then today I realised it's just for fun and it's a little snippet about myself so that others get a little window into who I am. So, here it is:

1) I came to London from South Africa when I was 19.

2) I planned to stay in London only for 1 year. 20 years later, it is where I call home.

3) I grew up as an only child until I was 13, then my father remarried.

4) I planned to have only 1 child, then thought he would be lonely. Now I have 4 children.  

Taking a moment in time: 40 Facts for The Hive

5) After each child I gave every single baby thing away, thinking I would have no more....Only to have to buy EVERYTHING again and again and again.

6) I can not pass up a viable business opportunity.  I was brought up to chase that pot of gold.  I am working on resisting the temptation.

7) I am trying to embrace doing things for enjoyment and not to make a living out of every idea.

8) My husband tries to be the voice of reason in each of my business ventures, but I am a very convincing sales person.

9) Each time I start a new business, I need it to be better than its competitors. I spend time researching the market. Perhaps the enjoyment for me is in the challenge of setting up and running a successful business.

10) I have had a lingerie business, I have had an online wooden toy company , I have run a subscription art club for children, amongst other things.

11) My best ideas happen in the shower. Perhaps because its the only place where I can hear myself think. 

12) I genuinely feel you need to be passionate about what you do because then you will do it best.

13) I often run on gut feeling and passion, later followed by logic and planning.

14) I am impulsive and once I have a viable idea, I need to implement it immediately.

15) I am impatient.

16) My greatest passion is children's learning. I believe in allowing children to blossom and be free to express themselves. I believe in experimentation and creativity. I believe in allowing children to be individuals rather than forcing them to conform.

Taking a moment in time: 40 facts for The Hive


17) After establishing the  lingerie business, I sold it on because I did not enjoy convincing others of what looks good on them.  I am a decisive shopper myself.

18) I ceased trading of children's toys as I had a baby and I was pregnant at the same time.... I simply could not manage.  The best thing about this business is that it gave me insight into the best toy manufacturers and how to equip my nursery to an extremely high standard. I prefer natural open-ended toys rather than loads of plastic (Lego being an exception to this rule).

19) I suspended the children's art subscription because it took me away from doing art with my own children.  It was very successful and customers were disappointed, but I hope to continue to offer this through by blog and perhaps in the future I would like to get back to this wonderful idea.

20) I still run a children's nursery school.  My greatest passion.

21) I would have loved to be a 'maker' as my career.  My father was a textile technician by trade.  

22)  My father, being German, preferred for me to do something more practical. Something that provided a more consistent income.  It took years of trial and error to find my 'thing'.

23) I am a teacher. I have studied Montessori Education, I have studied for a BA in Early Childhood Education, and I have trained as a Forest School Leader.  When I choose to do something, I need to know everything about it.  Different view points make for a fuller picture.

24) Two of my children go to school. I home educate one, and the other is a toddler.

25) When I arrived from South Africa, I lived for summer. Now I prefer Autumn. Spring is lovely too. I do not like winter.  I feel the cold hurts my skin.

26)  I am fussy about food.  Taste is EVERYTHING!

27 ) Instead of trying to turn every single thing into a business for myself, I now run workshops helping others improve or establish their businesses.  It's great. I get to brain storm and problem solve business ideas and practice.

28) I LOVE wool. The colours, textures, hues. The way it knits up. The way the colours and patterns unfold like a story.  I guess it runs in my blood. I remember playing with cones of wool in my father's knitwear factory when I was a child. The smell of wool takes me back to my childhood.

29) I want to make everything!!!!!!

30) My blog started without much planning. I am still finding my 'place'. 

31) I have a tattoo and would love to get more.

32) I believe EVERYTHING happens for a reason. If you are paying attention you will see how all the pieces fit into the puzzle.

33) I get bored easily.  My brain needs to be busy all the time. My hands need to be busy all the time too. (Preferably on different things).

34) I am planting a kitchen garden with a PLAN this year. I have planted kitchen gardens for 6 years now.  I wonder whether I will stick to the plan.

35) This year I am planting a 'cut flower garden'.

36) I am also planting a dye garden. ( so that I can dye wool for personal use)

Taking a moment in time: 40 facts for The Hive

37) I gave up Diet Coke last year. It was like a drug for me.

38) I do not drink tea or coffee, I do not like the taste. I do  love the smell of Earl Grey Tea and have a box of it in the cupboard just for the fragrance.

39) I am in awe of the beauty in nature that we take for granted and often walk past without noticing.  I am trying to stop and take a moment to see the beauty.

Taking a moment in time: 40 facts for the hive

40) I believe in CARPE DIEM.

Life and Health

A friend recently described me as having a 'sprinter's mentality'. It's true.  When I was young, I was an athlete. I excelled at the 100m and 200m sprint. Later in life, I discovered distance running. It's how I lost weight after my first two children. Then I had two more children years later.  I have not yet lost any of the huge amount of weight I gained.  I tried, I went running. After each run I suffered with severe back pain. I finally went for an x-ray.  The chiropractor met me with the words: "it's amazing that you are not in a wheel chair"!

It seems my sprinter's body was not designed to carry so much weight nor to have four children.  It has been permanently damaged and I am so lucky to be standing on my own two feet.  However, I am no longer allowed to run or cycle and no high impact exercise. This was a shock to me. 

taking a moment in time

So what now?  It has taken me months to come to terms with this situation as it required me to re-train my brain.  Today I decided to make an effort to take exercise that will help me lose weight without damaging the delicate balance that keeps me standing on my own two feet.  I have decided to try walking and swimming. Both of these are low impact. To reduce the feeling of boredom, I walked through the woods rather than on the road.

taking a moment in time
taking a moment in time

We live in the hills and the walk has many climbing sections!!!!!All I could think of was water ...

taking a moment in time

Thankfully the walk back home is down hill. It was lovely, and definitely something I can persevere at.  It will not result in instant weight-loss, but I need to be patient. It is a start...

taking a moment in time

Taking a Moment in Time...

We all get so busy with the things that NEED to be done. Everyday just passes in a blur of tasks that had to be done. I decided that as time was flying by, I needed to pause and take a moment in each day to enjoy the things that make me smile, the things I do not want to forget. A smile on the faces of my children, a bad joke from my husband...saved all day to share with me in the evening, nature's beauty, handmade creations, fresh baked bread and a chance to knit. Just a moment in the midst of all the busy...to pause, to look, to listen and appreciate my life.


taking a moment in time


These are my moments... thank you for stopping by.  I would love to see your moments too, so please share on Instagram using #takingamomentintime. There are no rules, just that you post on a Monday some happy 'moment' from your week.