Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Mothering Sunday

I just quickly wanted to drop in to share a few of my Mothers Day moments with you and also share my lovely little blog swap that I did with the gorgeous Penny behind L is for love.

Jo from Three Stories High organised a lovely little handmade Brooch swap and I was fortunate to be paired up with the very lovely Penny from L is for Love. She sent me two very beautiful brooches and a very beautiful beach pebble that she covered in a crochet jersey and then for a little love she also included a gorgeous little lavender bag, thank you Penny, I really love my gifts and I have my brooches pinned on my jacket that I am wearing in SA.

I am really not a brooch maker, but I quite enjoyed making Penny's brooches for her. So this is what I sent her, a little embroidered brooch and a lace and crochet brooch. Thanks Jo for organising.
So now on to Mothering Sunday, I didn't have the best starts to my day as it seems that my health has crashed again and some days this just seems a little too much if I am honest, but nothing that two small kids jumping on the bed can't put into perspective. It is times like this when you realise just what really matters and even though I would like good health, all that matters at the end of the day are the people around me and the love we share. It was so lovely to be pounced upon by two small creatures baring gifts and gorgeous cards and I was so very touched by the beautiful poem that little J wrote for me and the fact that little E couldn't just give Mummy one card, no it had to be three, all 'because mummy is special', oh how blessed I am to have two such perfect and beautiful children.

A poem for Mum
Gifts for my Mum
I will give you
a beautiful rose that smells
of love
a bowful of cheesy yummy lasagne
a stirring cheetah on the African planes
hearing the ocean splashing around
in a hermit shell
and a cuddly hug from me
What a gorgeous poem and it is clear that this six year old already has some insight into reverse psychology as he attempted to order his favourite food, lasagne! It sure made me giggle.
I was so spoilt with a gorgeous plate that I have wanted for quite a while. I spotted this on Etsy quite a while back and just thought that it was the perfect Mothers day gift and fortunately for me hubby was quick to act. I am not normally a Wedgwood fan, but this gorgeous plate has my birth year on so I just felt really drawn to it the minute I saw it. Now that I have it, I am really beyond delighted with it. I also received a beautiful dress that I can't wait to put to good use during our holidays.


Dad and little J baked me a vegan and gluten free chocolate cake, which was beyond delicious and I am not sure who loved it more the kids or me. They would have eaten the entire cake if they were allowed and what is great about this cake is that it is also free from refined sugar. Definitely worth a try.

Fresh bread was baked by the darling other half, the picnic basket was packed

the most idyllic spot by the brook secured (not that we had anyone else to compete with)


and lots of fun was had by all. The kids just ran around for hours on end laughing and having fun. They enjoyed endless downhill races where the fall at the bottom seemed the biggest hit (pardon the pun). They crossed streams not always too successfully and little E got absolutely sopping wet, but fortunately for Mamma this called for lovely cuddles under the picnic blanket. It was a perfect Mothers Day, I couldn't have asked for anything more. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful husband and two such gorgeous and funny children, thank you for making my day so special.
I hope you all enjoyed your Mothers Day in the UK, I know that my Mum and those in Oz & NZ and America will be celebrating it in May, so we look forward to sharing it with you then.
Warm Wishes

Monthly Mand-a-long - A Project

Hello my lovelies. I have something exciting to share with you today, no April fools pranks I am afraid. All my recent Mandala making has got me thinking that I would quite enjoy trying out a few other Mandala patterns and it suddenly occurred to me that a Monthly Mandala project might just be the thing to do. Anyone fancy joining in??

So the plan is to report in on the first day of the month with your newly made Mandala simply by adding your link to the link-up below my post. For anyone interested in grabbing my button, you can simply add it to your blog just by adding the text below my link on the right hand side of my blog. As for patterns, I will be sharing a few patterns here that I will be working on from time to time, so you can either join along with these or you can use your own pattern, the choice is entirely yours.

To kickstart it this month, I have yet again followed the gorgeous pattern by Wink that was published in the Simply Crochet Issue 7. In fact I have now officially made around ten of these mandalas and NO I am still not bored of this pattern. Each and everyone has turned out differently and that is what I so love about the concept of the Mandala, colour and mood plays such a pivotal role here. For those of you who want to learn a little more about Mandala's you can read this post I wrote a few weeks ago. Now don't worry, I know that none of you would be prepared for this months 'Monthly Mandala', if you like you can join in next month, or else you can add yours at any time this month.

My aim for this project is to try and make twelve mandalas, so yes I am going to run this project for twelve months, by far my longest crochet project yet, but I am actually quite excited about it. I love having these mandalas scattered around the house and in the garden and what I really like about this project is the fact that it might just, dare I say it, have me a little more prepared for Christmas! Yes, I can't quite believe that I have just uttered the Christmas word, but it seems that this gal has already got her Christmas-gifts thinking cap on. Last year I made a few of these for presents and they were a BIG hit amongst some friends, so I figured a few more might just be in order, so I am starting now. No time like the present and all that.

So on to the next month's Mandala project, yes you've guessed it, it's another Wink project, I mean this girl has oodles of talent and especially when it comes to making Mandalas. I have chosen this tutorial that I found on ravelry largely because it just looks like a fun project to work, so if anyone fancies joining in, lets get started. We can show and tell both here and on ravelry and get some colour inspiration for the next month.

Now when I typed this blog post up on Friday last week, I was completely unaware that the very lovely Chrissie and Mrs Daisy had been plotting and writing up a very similar post, dare I say great minds think alike! Fortunately it seems that their little project is a one off and will only be lasting for a week or so, so I figured I would go ahead and stick with my original plan and get the idea rolling so to speak. So if anyone fancies continuing in their mandala mode, then do pop over here once you have made the gorgeous Wink mandala on  Chrissie's blog to come and try another one of Wink's patterns over here. This lovely lady is happy for us to hook away and she is also happy for us to use a couple of her other patterns, thank you Wink!

 Now you don't have to commit to the entire twelve months, you can simply join in as and when you feel up to the challenge or in the mood to make a mandala. The beauty of the Mandala is that it works up so very quickly, so it is all in an evening or two's work and should hopefully not interfere with all our other crafty plans.

So that's it my dearies for now anyway, I am very soon jetting off, in fact only one more sleepy, and who knows by some minor miracle I might just have one more blog post to share with you, but don't hold your breath.

For now though totsiens!

Warm Wishes

Friday, 28 March 2014

A little award

So a few weeks ago the very lovely Clare from The Summerhouse by the sea nominated me for this very special award, and if I am honest, I was very touched by it all!! This is what she wrote in her post: 'First up we have the lovely Hannapats blog, which is a joy to read, such a positive and fun place to escape to, it's really an inspiration as to how much can be achieved even when you are battling this terrible illness. Plus there are lots of tips and healthy recipes.'

As I have mentioned before it was never really my intention to make this blog about my struggles with Fybromyalgia/ME, but seeing that it is just such a big part of my life, I have found it near impossible to exclude it. You see my first dilemma came about last May when I knew that ME Awareness week was fast approaching and I just knew that I couldn't NOT use my blog as a platform to raise awareness, so I just felt that I had to bite the bullet and get on with it. Don't get me wrong writing this first post was very far from easy and I very nearly didn't post it, but I kept thinking of all the thousands of people affected by this debilitating condition and how people really need to start being a little more aware of this so called 'silent illness'. You can read my first post here. I also included three videos in this post, which might be of interest to some of you and also some information for those looking for some support.
Another M.E post was inspired by one of my bloggy friends, someone I will be nominating today for an award, who shared this video on Facebook and you can read/watch it here. One other post that I know has really helped my Mum and other people to pass on to others asking the dreaded question that is so difficult to answer, 'but what is M.E??',  is this 'Sleepydust video' which I shared here. If you haven't already watched it or you don't know much about this condition, then do yourself a favour and watch it to give you a little more insight into this very debilitating condition. After the ice was broken the rest was pretty much history.
I think there are so many wonderful M.E blogs out there and credit goes to those people behind these blogs who keep writing about this day in and day out, it sure takes a great deal of courage, energy and dedication and it offers such a wonderful support to so many sufferers who so desperately need it, so thank you!!
So without further ado, I would like to nominate this award to:

First up is my lovely and gorgeous friend Leisa behind the very chic and stylish blog Vintage Bird Girl. I love everything about Leisa's blog, not only does this girl have the worlds biggest collection of fabulous vintage clothes, but she has oodles of style and what I love most about her is her get up and go and ALWAYS positive outlook on life, regardless of her health. I have become so very fond of her and it feels lovely that we have established a close bond outside of our blogs too, it is just such a shame she lives on the other side of the world. Even though Leisa doesn't write specific ME posts on her blog, she is a very strong advocate for it on Facebook and is clearly very passionate about it too.
Then we have the very lovely Annie from Knitsofacto who admittedly doesn't write specific ME posts, but as a fellow sufferer she has been incredibly supportive of my little space and especially my health.
Rosie from the Old Magnolia Tree - I really enjoy Rosie's blog as it is always such an honest account of life and one would never know that Rosie has been struggling with Fybromyalgia for some time. I love her crochet work too and it has been a gift to meet someone else also battling daily with the challenges that come with living a life with Fybromyalgia.
Then there is also the lovely Sue from Sweetpea Family,  whom Clare already nominated.

So for those of you who need to pass it forward, here are all the information that you will need.

Awarded by bloggers, to other bloggers, to acknowledge outstanding endeavour in promoting awareness of Myalgic Enchephalomylitis (ME), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)  and/or Fibromyalgia (FMS).The blogs receiving the awards do not need to be dedicated solely to ME, CFS or FMS, but they should contain at least one post that has helped to increase awareness.It is hoped that these Awards will increase blog readerships and also encourage networking between ME & CFS & FMS bloggers themselves.  No matter the title of our diagnosis, patients of these conditions all suffer from a frustrating state of health that is poorly recognised by most of society.
1,   On receiving the ME & CFS & FMS BLOGGER AWARD, you should be directed to a post that describes why you (and others) have been given this award.  The page will also include this set of instructions and the two award images.2. Please note, you do not need accept the award.  The aim of the awards is about recognition and a bit of fun, NOT extra work! Please do not feel pressured to participate.3. To claim your award: a) Create a new post on your blog, in which you thank the individual who gave you the award  (remember to include a link back to their blog).  You can then copy the images to your blog post and/or side bar as you wish.
Below is the code for adding the small image as a link in your blog side bar if you wish to do so:<a href=”
” target=”blank”>
< img src=”http://i68.photobucket.com/albums/i4/salpublicphotos/BloggerBadge_zps26d28ded.png”/&gt;
< /a>
b) List three to ten blogs that you would like to recommend, giving a brief description of why you think each one is special.  A couple of lines is fine, but be sure to include a link to each blog you name (or specific page if you prefer) so that others are encouraged to visit.c) Copy and paste these instructions into your post. Copy from the first *** above, to the last *** below to ensure that every thing is included. (Add the images separately if they don’t copy automatically. Control-Shift-V also removes crazy formatting during pasting if that is a problem. ;) )d) Alert your chosen blog owners to their awards by making a comment on the most recent post of their blogs.  The comment could simply read:
“Congratulations, I have nominated your blog to receive an ME & CFS & FMS BLOGGER AWARD.  Please visit <insert link to the post you have just created> to collect your Award”3. Hopefully these awards will spread far and wide.  I would love to keep track of where the awards end up, so I would be very grateful if participants would also copy their list of awards into a comment beneath this post:
I hope that collecting all the recommendations in one place will help each of us to find and explore new blogs.

Thank you for reading another looooong post, but some things just has to be done! I hope you all have a lovely weekend ahead of you and that you all enjoy a very special Mothering Sunday. What do you have planned?? We are very hopeful for some good weather as this Mamma here just wants to have a picnic, so fingers crossed the sun shines. The rest of the weekend will be spent getting kids to birthday parties (do they ever stop?) and trying to get organised for our little trip 'home' that is SA for those of you who don't know. I haven't been home now for well over five years as my health has not allowed for it since the little 'princess' was born nearly five years ago now, in fact the last time we visited I was 22 weeks pregnant with her. So you can just imagine that we are all just a little giddy with excitement right now and the kids especially so as they will be meeting their cousins for the very first time!!
I do promise to pop back soon as I am really hopeful to share at least one post with you before we jet off. A big welcome to my new followers, it is so lovely that you have decided to stop by here and I am really looking forward to getting to know you a little better.
Wishing you all a very happy and fun weekend.
Warm Wishes

Saturday, 22 March 2014

My finished Spring Throw

Hello lovely people. I have been meaning to show you this blanket since I finished it in the middle of February, but for whatever reason, it is finally happening today.

 I started this blanket during our holiday to Italy last year, it seemed like the perfect poolside companion and also a good way to kill time during our journeys to Pisa, Florence and Rome. Sadly due to my fund raising commitments at the end of last year it was put to one side as soon as we returned from holiday and it didn't get a look in until shortly after Christmas.

I thoroughly enjoyed working on this throw, not only was it very easy crocheting, but it was also the perfect companion through the cold and dark winter months whilst watching countless episodes of Silent Witness and Sherlock.

All in all it took me around two months to make my Spring Throw, baring in mind that I very rarely crochet during the day and generally only crochet for around 45 minutes max whilst I watch telly at night. So if you have a little more time each day, you could whip this up in no time at all.


I used Stylecraft Special DK and followed a pattern from Catherine Hirst's book Granny Square Crochet, which I have spoken about here and even though I wouldn't say that this is to my usual taste, I am just a little in love with this throw. I am very much a muted colour kinda gal (greys, pinks, greens, blues, etc), but I love the zingy and zesty spring colours and it certainly knows just how to lift the soul. It also feeds my current obsession with anything yellow!
The process was devoid of any systemic approach with regards to the combination of colours, but that worked well for me. Vibrant and free.

For the border I just worked the recommended crab stitch edging, largely because I was curious about how it would look. I must confess that I was very tempted to give this blanket a picot edge, but in the end, I went for the simple crab stitch, which I personally think is a little to simple for my liking. Maybe one day I will feel the need to redo the edging, but for now it is happily lying on our bed waiting for warmer days so I can pack away the eiderdown to reveal its full beauty.

This is the second blanket that I have crocheted and I must say that despite hubby's comment that we don't need any more blankets around the house, I am already secretly planning the next, which I suspect will be another picnic blanket (ssshhh don't tell him! Lets hope he's not reading this post!). What is it with my obsession with picnic blankets? I suspect that it is my constant yearning for a little sun and some warmer days where we can ground ourselves whilst lazing around somewhere by a brook enjoying family picnics.
One of the things that I love about blogging is that you can look back over your achievements and record your emotions surrounding a particular project too. We often forget how we felt when we made something or the exact time we made it, what inspired it, etc. Life is short and precious and I often feel so grateful that I can surround myself with handmade things that bring a little colour and joy into my life.
Before I go I just wanted to say thank you to each and everyone of you who read and commented on my Balance post. It was something that I just felt an intense urge to write. Thank you for all your words of wisdom, love and support, you are all pretty AMAZING!
Wishing you all a very lovely and enjoyable weekend.
Warm Wishes

Friday, 14 March 2014


Life is a gift and one I am truly grateful for. Each day my understanding of gratitude changes and improves, I have learnt, through meditation over the years that gratitude is something we can feel, touch, taste, hear, something that awakens the most intimate parts of our bodies and minds, but it is something we so seldom sit and really embrace
The last few months have been somewhat of an interesting journey for me, one that has brought many questions to the forefront of my mind and one that has left me a little unsettled as I confirm yet again that I am still an all or nothing kinda gal, one who dives in the deep end and shriek with joy as I approach the biggest waves, one that loves the thrill of fear, the buzz you get from looking for your next gear placement whilst half way up a mountain, one that thrives on the excitement of getting my wheel just in the right place on a thread bare downhill single track. My association with life is to live to the fullest, with a glass always half full, so when I embarked on yet another journey to wellness in January, I dived in with all fours with new excitement and hope that this journey would be the one that will finally bring me closer to improved health and finding the essence is of my existence.
You see life is a little like balancing spinning plates and one that requires skill and precision. Over the last couple of months I have worked closely on learning this skill and building on my existing knowledge and if I am honest it has been a struggle. Often it feels like this work-life balance is an illusion, one that despite our best attempts we can only maintain the perfect balance with our pretty plates spinning at the right time and right place for a certain time before we realise that we are missing something, balance and the inevitable chaos that comes with being human.
Right now I am standing at the edge of reason, as I face the next phase. You see I have faced three months of sheer dedication and focus on my health during the day with a dedicated morning to healing, rest after lunch and spend my time as a good mum in the afternoon, wife in the evening, before I pamper my tender loins for a good nights rest, and injecting any spare time I have into research. Don't get me wrong I am loving my new routine, it is a pleasure, I rise get my kids to school, come home do some gentle yoga followed by a long meditation, prepare my lunch and do the must-do jobs and read up about foods, go to bed, rest, get up and so on. My soul feels calm, grounded, nourished and loved and for the first time in my life I feel pretty happy in my skin, happy with who I am, grateful for my being and excited about my future.
One slight problem is that some pretty plates have fallen by the wayside, I miss my sewing machine, my crochet hooks, my embroidery floss and most of all feeling balanced in the sense that only works for me. There are no right answers, there are no gimmicks, this is life at the core, in the deep end, but I can swim and I want to and somehow I know with time I will find my balance.
For now, I feel a little torn, like I am leading a double life. You see, I made the decision earlier this year that I would really inject every ounce of my being into my recovery and for me the best way I could see this happen is through doing what I am doing now, but also to finally start a blog where I could write about my journey to recovery. Over two years ago, from my bed, I made a feeble attempt at starting and ME blog, nothing about it felt right, but now I am geared up and ready. My focus will  predominantly be around food and as a result I have started a new Instagram account called Scrummytritious, the name I hope to use for my new blog when I get around to it. It feels a little strange to be living two sides of your life, but it works for me.

Cosmos and Cotton has been my savour during a time when I needed to reconnect with the world and re-engage my brain. You see four walls can get pretty lonely at times and this little space has given me light, love and hope, but above all a place where I can express the creative side of me and talk about family and gardening. My need to be creative has always been there, since I was a little girl and I love that Cosmos and Cotton has become a little platform for me where I can feel inspired by like minded souls. This little space was never really intended for ME, but its my life and ME is such a BIG part of it, I couldn't keep it separate. Now however I feel ready to do a little more, be a little more focussed and I honestly don't want to start incorporating my weekly journey with M.E here, so I feel it best to shift the gears in a different direction. This comes at a strange time, especially seeing that the very lovely and dear friend Clare have recently nominated me for this rather special award for promoting ME awareness, which I will share with you soon.

For now though, things may be a little quiet here, but that is just because I keep dropping these plates and I am learning how to balance everything without loosing the essence of what I am setting out to achieve. You see like those spinning plates we can try our best with everything at once, but generally it only lasts a few days, weeks, months or years before something happens to disrupt it. I want to find a lifestyle that I can keep, one that will see me through the rest of my days even when I am well again and this will take some time to figure out.
I know this is a really long post and one with very few photos, it just goes to show it can be done. It can be so powerful to put your thoughts on paper and really appreciate the enormity of what you are trying to achieve in life. I am missing you all and you are never far from my thoughts and I am hopeful that one day soon I will find the perfect equilibrium, for now though Namaste.
Warm Wishes

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Sunshine and a Winner

Hello lovely peeps, its such a beautiful day here in the north of England, in fact its the third beautiful day we have had in a row. It feels so lovely to wake up to clear blue skies and a bright and big sun that beams beautiful warm sunshine onto your skin. I almost felt blinded when I took the kids to school this morning, it feels good to know that hot goddess is back, oh joys.

On Sunday we made the very most of this glorious weather and packed a picnic, our second of the year, I think, and set off to a lovely little place called Hare Hill, a really pretty little spot that's perfect for my wheels and the kids. My gorgeous man kindly made some gluten, dairy and soy free bread and after a lovely gentle yoga and meditation practice we set off to go and count some Hares.

The kids loved exploring and searching for the 12 carved hares scattered around the grounds. This is the first time that we actually managed to get around most of the grounds. Thank you National Trust for doing an amazing job making it a little more wheelchair friendly. Finding wheelchair friendly places to visit can often be a little bit of a challenge, but fortunately I have my trusty forever fell running pusher who is happy to go anywhere, apparently it's all good training (and given my weight, errm I reckon the man might just be right for once! Operative word being once!).
Halfway into our walk we found the perfect little spot for our picnic. It was really lovely and quiet as other people tend to have theirs within the walled garden, but little Es knew best.

The kids ran around, climbed trees and had heaps of fun learning how to skim stones on water

We all thoroughly enjoyed the day and what I loved most about it was that the kids were outside straight after breakfast and didn't come in till around 6pm. It makes such a lovely change after months of being cooped up indoors and it sure feels like a rather lovely tease for a beautiful Spring to follow.

So now on to the exciting bit, the winner. I roped little Es in yesterday afternoon as we had a lovely girly afternoon with big brother away at a play date and it seemed like a good opportunity for her to write her numbers. Who needs a random number selector when you have a trusty four year old to assist.

numbers were written in a fashion and popped into a hat and in less than two shakes of a lambs tail little Es selected the winner

Congratulations Heather from the lovely blog my little red suitcase, please leave me a comment with your email address so I can get in touch with you.

There has been quite a few things happening here in our little pad, but one of them is finally getting some new shelves in my kitchen. When we knocked the wall through two years ago, we lost the majority of our cupboards and even though we have acquired an island with good storage and a lovely big sideboard, I am forever needing more space, so I am tres happy with these. All they need now is a little paint and maybe some lovely wallpaper, time will tell. 

That's all for today my lovelies. Wishing you all a skippity hoppity day.
Warm Wishes