What a start to 2020!

What a start to 2020!

2020, the New Year we shall never forget! You see, my parents, brother and sister in law are living on the South Coast, and though they lived only 30 minutes apart they were divided by the bush fires. My parents in Tomakin and my brother and his wife in Nelligan.  When temperatures soared to early 40’s and so many out of control fires, we had no communication with any of them as they didn’t have power or phone reception. This was one of the most heart wrenching days of my life! With fire updates stating both sets of relatives had been evacuated, I had no idea where my elderly parents and relatives could be, and no way to get to them as the Bay was closed both sides. Being able to pray was certainly a comfort! 

Although, about three houses were lost in these two little pockets of land, most of Tomakin and Nelligan were saved.  It was so sad to see the mighty Mogo Forest and the tranquil botanical gardens all destroyed, the little townships and farmhouses gone or burnt beyond repair and the devastation of homes and local businesses.

Though the scars of the fires will last for a long time, we are so thankful to all the communities that rallied together , all the fire, police and ambulance men and women and countless volunteers who have tirelessly served and saved.

Such a dramatic start to 2020, and as we roll into February the Cotton and Clay team are excitedly searching for new handmade treasures, more gorgeous linen and to restock some of your favourites.

We are thrilled to expand our range of Afribead bowls, platters and baskets. These unique products are handcrafted in Uganda and woven with banana leaf, raffia and water reeds.Afribeads products are made by a group of 30 women in Kampala, Uganda, called the Kind of Mothers’ Project. Many millions of people live in extreme poverty in Africa struggling to survive each day. By selling their handicrafts these mothers are able to care for their families and send their children to school. We love that we can support these women by having a collection of their baskets on sale.

We have been able to purchase some gorgeous platters this year which can be used for decorative purposes, like one of our customers has done here. Another has used one of the bowls for fruit. Both look great on our jute runner and retro placemat (both handmade as well by a different company).

The traditional patterns and the colours used in the platters and the bowls make them ideal as a centerpiece of a dining table, coffee table or kitchen bench.
Display on their own as a statement piece or put them to work serving your breads and fruit, or displaying your favourite dried flowers.

These hand woven platters and bowls can be hung on the wall just take them down when you need to use as a serving dish. Certainly brightens up a wall where you just need that something special and unique!

We have included Afribeads large woven shopping bags to our collection this year. Beautiful, light coloured bags with a handle just the right size to whip over your shoulder or carry in your hand. Excellent bag to carry your towel and essentialsto the beach or picnic, strong and big enough to fit your whole fruit and veggie shopping into the one bag. Such a versatile bag and again handmade by the wonderful and talented women of Kampala.

We know you will admire the workmanship (or is it workwomenship?) that has gone into all their traditional African baskets.

As these platters and bowls are a great way to serve bread, I will leave you with a basic bread recipe that I fall back on from time to time…this one is from Jamie Oliver.


Basic bread 

3 x 7g sachets dried yeast (or 30 fresh yeast)

30ml honey

625ml warm water

1kg strong bread flour   

1 tablespoon fine sea salt


1. Dissolve the yeast and honey in half the warm water.
2. Place flour and salt in bowl and make a well in the centre.
3. Pour yeast mixture into well, with four fingers make circular movements from the centre moving outwards, slowly bring more and more of flour into the well until the yeast mixture is absorbed.
4. Then pour the other half of the yeast mixture into the center and gradually incorporate until a dough is formed.
5. Knead for 5 minutes.
6. Flour both hands well and lightly flour the top of dough. Make into a roundish shape and place on baking tray.
7. Deeply score the dough with knife (allowing it to relax and prove with ease)
8. Leave to prove until it doubles its size. (place in a warm place, you can place clingwrap over it to speed up process – this process takes about 40 minutes)
9. Once doubled in size you need to knock air out of it by bashing it around for a minute.
10. Then reshape into whatever shape you would like and prove again until it doubles in size.
11. Once doubled in size place gently into preheated oven 200 degrees, don’t slam the oven door.
12. You know when your bread is cook if you tap the top and it sounds hollow, if it doesn’t just put back in oven. When ready cool on rack then enjoy!
We have included links to all our current Afribeads products below, and enjoy shopping!


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