• Be Free...

    Be free
    ‘A winner is a dreamer who never gives up’
    ‘Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will’. ‘It always seems impossible until it’s done.’
    Nelson Mandela.

    I’ve always loved the truly inspirational quotes by this great man, and if there was ever time that his words were to evoke an even stronger sense of resonance, it is now. Michael and I finally have a true sense of freedom. We finally got the decision we were fighting for over the last two and a half years and can now live together as a family in the UK without the worry that we will be forced to leave. It is unbelievable how light I feel right now- I don’t think I ever really realized the full weight of the burden until it was lifted from us. Looking back at the past two years and then reading those three quotes it makes me feel so proud that we never let it drop, that we continued to work as hard as we could even though it seemed like such an impossible feat. The secret of happiness really is freedom.

    Ironically, as soon as Michael was granted the right to remain in the UK we booked our tickets to leave, the destination being Michael’s home town of Cape Town, South Africa of course. It was time to introduce Nyana to the other half of her family and to our dear friends in the Mother City. We arrived and left with watery eyes. To say it was emotional is a massive understatement; it was incredible. Ever since we met on the cruise ship in the middle of the ocean, being free to travel, especially between our two homes, has been vital to Mikey and I. Finally having that freedom back feels amazing.


    Cape Town, wow that place has inspiration everywhere you turn. Besides its obvious natural beauty, it is a real fusion of old and new, rich and poor, traditional and contemporary. It is in Cape Town that the Rainbow Nation really covers the spectrum. From the décor, to the food, to the transport, to the languages and dialects, to the mix of cultures, to the people, Cape Town has so much for us to absorb as stimulation. Our senses were filled from start to finish and it’s really motivated us to use Tilly Rose Designs as a vehicle to give back, to make a difference, no matter how large or small, in the city that means so much to us.

    ‘For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others’ Nelson Mandela.

    The effect of South Africa’s recent history is still so present and naked to see- for those willing to open their eyes that is. Huge steps have been made of course but there is still a lot that can be done to continue the progress, ‘to enhance the freedom of others’. We took Nyana to meet some new friends. A bunch of little people born into a world much harder than hers. These particular little people live at the Christine Revell Children’s Home in Athlone; one of the many homes for children who have been placed in care by the social workers or by order of the children’s court. The children who live there are either neglected, abandoned, abused or orphaned and this safe home for them allows them to play freely in an environment based on ‘educare’. It was such an incredible visit for us. We went with the intention to “make a difference” when in actual fact we came away having learnt more from them. We have kept in touch with CRCH and are now looking into the different ways that Tilly Rose Designs can continue to support them. We will keep you informed of progress and our ideas and if anyone would like to know more please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

    ‘We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference.’ Nelson Mandela. (that guy said so many true and great things!)


    Some say that freedom is a state of mind and yet it often takes someone else’s actions to enable someone to feel free. So is it a state of mind or a state of being? When we were being denied Michael’s visa, Michael was not free to work or drive and we were unable to travel out of the UK as a family. Having said that, we were not in chains, we were not hungry, we were not unsafe, we had a roof over our heads, yet we still didn’t feel free. Perhaps we made our mind up that freedom is a state of being. Are those children we met at CRCH free? They certainly played with freedom and smiled with ease, yet they have less than most and have fewer opportunities than so many. Perhaps it’s easier to forgive the world as a child but these guys had it right, to them freedom was a state of mind. It was a powerful lesson to learn. I’m sure for us and for many other privileged people of this world freedom is a mixture of state of mind and being. We are fortunate enough to have an awareness and experience of what should or could be, but we often let that cloud our judgement of where we are right now and how lucky we really are in this moment. So relax, take a step back, contemplate what you have, where you are and the beauty that’s around you, and in your mind, be free.