Ta-Daaaah! – The blanket auction!



As you know, if you’ve been paying good attention, I have not been too well this year.

One of things I absolutely adore to do, one of the things I find really helps me to relax and rid my brain of anxious thoughts is to crochet. I haven’t been doing it long, about eighteen months or so, and I taught myself from YouTube tutorials.

A couple of months ago I started on this blanket. The colour scheme was inspired by some photographs from when Richard and I went camping on Mull before the children were born, in particular the area around Calgary Bay, which has the most beautiful colour sea I have ever seen.



This blanket has been a pleasure to work, the colours remind me of summer and early Autumn, when I went through a brief period of actually feeling really happy; before life decided to throw me another curve-ball. This blanket to me is warm sand, gentle surf, the smell of woodland, blue skies.

It was intended for someone who was very dear to me, as a birthday present and an awful lot of love and attention has gone into every stitch, because I wanted it to be perfect.

However, sadly, this person wasn’t there for me when I needed them most, when I really needed help and support they were nowhere to be seen. I never hold grudges, but, my god, that hurt so much. I had shared so much, been so open about where I was, but ended up shut out and ignored. Like I was just an inconvenience.

I have decided, therefore, to auction this blanket to instead raise funds for people who do care – the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) who do great things in Scotland for those of us struggling with mental health.

The blanket is a very generous single bed size, or can be used as a throw on a standard double bed. It is not yet finished (the original deadline was May and I have slacked off a bit because of seasonal projects, but I think it will be finished well before then) and will be edged all round in three shades of blue.

It is the amazing Lucy at Attic 24’s ‘Neat Ripple Pattern’.

I have used Robin DK 100% acrylic yarn, so is easy to care for and can be machine washed on 40 degrees and tumble dried on gentle.

I will include a net, zipped bag for protection from snagging in the washing machine free of charge, and I will also post out to you by registered / recorded delivery at no additional cost.

If you would like to bid on this gorgeous blanket that I love so very much, you can find me on Twitter @lapetitepie, please send me a DM, or email me with your bid at potterandpootle@gmx.co.uk

At the moment, I am delighted to say that the current top bid stands at £60.00 and I will keep you updated on the progress; but if you would be able to spread this around on social media that would be hugely appreciated – the more money I can give to SAMH the better.

Many thanks, and happy bidding!






There And Back Again


As, indeed, starting to write again starts with a single word. A word that has been a very long time coming, it seems.

I lost my words. They deserted me. My brain deserted me. It also made sure it gave me a damn good kicking on the way out.

Hindsight is a quite marvellous thing, it affords us the chance to look back and realise, with no small degree of shock, how deep the holes we fall into can be, how deep and how very dark, because you don’t always notice it at the time, and you can’t remember the light.

I didn’t fall, like Alice down the rabbit hole.

I slipped, slowly; grasping desperately at times onto the bank, clawing onto grasses and rushes, dragging my bleeding fingers through the dry earth; occasionally being gifted a breathing space, a chance to relax a while and forget the danger before my feet started kicking away at the sides and I would find myself slipping deeper. A hole of my own making. Maybe – like someone drowning in quicksand – I shouldn’t have struggled so hard. Maybe I should have just stayed still and waited patiently for help.

I had forgotten about the side effects of starting on Citalopram. I had forgotten the constant drouth (exacerbated by warfarin and central heating), the constant nausea, the trembles and the nervous twitches, the shaking, the itching, the monstrous fatigue. The paranoia and the temporary worsening of the anxiety and the sense of complete and utter hopelessness and desolation. They don’t warn you enough that you will feel worse before you feel better, they don’t warn you enough that, for a few days, you might well feel like you need to be put somewhere safe for your own protection.*

I tried to carry on as normal, tried to be the partner, the lover, the mother, friend, the Beaver Scout Leader, the confident marketing professional. I held it together through gritted teeth and when I wasn’t doing something I absolutely had to do, I was sleeping. It didn’t matter what time of day it was, I slept.

I refused to feel guilt about that. Having been through this a few times in my life, I realise now that the brain shutting down is its way of coping; and that sleeping is helping the brain to heal. So I slept. I slept as much as I could. At least when I was sleeping, I wasn’t frightened of the world, or weeping at the state of it, or worrying myself into biting my fingernails until blood ran down my hands thinking about our futures.

On Friday, I found myself singing.

I sat for an hour engrossed in my book. So engrossed I almost forgot to go and pick up the children.

I listened to Radio 4 and could actually remember what I had just learned.

I went to our Scout Parents’ Evening and I was able to make conversation without feeling that rising sense of dread and panic that I might say something ridiculous.

On Saturday, I went to an unusual supermarket without preparation. I had a list, but it wasn’t in the same order as the shop is laid out (I know, I know, but it’s something I have always done in order to stay on budget and avoid unnecessary temptations). I coped. I even smiled at people.

I went up to the community garden, a place I adore but have found myself avoiding because I didn’t want to have to speak to people – because I felt I couldn’t speak to people.


I neglected the bed this year. I just couldn’t deal with it, and I did feel guilty at how much had gone to waste. The carrots were ruined with root-fly anyway (that deserves a rant of its own), the beetroot were small, the strange weather this year had caused a lot of things to bolt; but I could have done considerably more with it than I managed this year, so it was cathartic to cut back and pull out, weed and rake and tidy everything up; leaving just the strawberries, kale and sprouts in to overwinter. Next year is a new year, a new start, and I look forward again to spending old Winter nights pouring over seed catalogues and working out my companion planting plan.


Today we walked. We went looking for holly berries. We found none, despite me seeing loads in the woods a few weeks ago. We walked, and talked, and laughed.

We made plans.

I thought of Christmas, and the thoughts weren’t panicked and full of dread. I thought how much I am looking forward to my sister and her family visiting for Hogmanay, despite us not being the best at entertaining (not least in comparison to her, who throws amazing parties).

I’m climbing out of the hole, out of that inky, dank, suffocating darkness.

The views are quite beautiful.

Hello again.




*IMPORTANT Pro-tip – If you are starting on an SSRI, or restarting on one, please consider asking for support during the day. Take time off your normal job and routine, ask a friend or loved one to be with you as much as you need them to be, to remind you that these feelings are all fine and just stop that feeling of isolation. If these sensations are still very prevolent after four weeks, or get unbearable or are accompanied by side effects such as migraines or hallucinations or a feeling of ‘detachment’, please speak to a professional immediately – it could be that your meds need to be swapped. I tried several types of SSRI before settling on Citalopram as the best choice for me. However ill you feel, you still know yourself better than anyone else does. Trust your instincts, and if you feel worse, please don’t be afraid to say so.