Proteas to Roses

Updated: Mar 6, 2020


As a child of Africa, I’ve seen and experienced hardship. I cherish the ingenuity of the African people to make something extraordinary from something deemed worthless. This constantly remains in my thoughts and from where I draw inspiration.


Born in South Africa, a child of the 70’s, I grew up on the Natal South Coast in Amanzimtoti – oh, what a carefree life we had as children, swimming in the sea, eating sugar cane from my uncle’s farm, having fun with friends and family! After university, I spent some time in Germany as an au pair. I just loved travelling Europe and experiencing different cultures; their art, food, music and lifestyle. I am always intrigued and amazed to see how different cultures do things differently, but also how we as humans are all inherently the same, with the same basic needs – to be loved, to be forgiven, to be encouraged, to be given another chance, to be given the chance to sow into other’s lives and make a difference, regardless of our social standing.


I was fortunate to have a career in recruitment where my need for making a difference in other’s lives could be met – finding someone a job; especially when they have fallen on hard times; was oh so humbling! The corporate world, though comes with it’s own set of challenges and I found being creative in some form or another very therapeutic and a release of tension, so on those days that things got tough, I got creative! I baked, made cards or painted furniture. But I needed an outlet for all these handmade items and baked goodies – so they often turned into much loved gifts for friends and family.



In 2000, I relocated to England with my husband, Duncan. We have 2 wonderful children, Caitlyn & Aidan and I was privileged to be at home with the children, whilst they were little - to change nappies, feed, read stories, play taxi service, feed more, host the friends, cheer along, kiss the “einas” better – you get the idea!! I also kept myself busy with various volunteering roles at our local church, the school and with Guide Dogs for the Blind.


As the time drew near for my youngest to start secondary school, I was more and more aware of the yearning in me to stretch my wings a bit and plough back into other’s lives some of the love and encouragement I received during some very difficult times. I am at my happiest when I can bake a cake, paint or sew something and find that these times of creativity bring stillness and time for reflection. Simply Renew was born from my passion to give everyone and everything in life a second chance. And who does not need a second chance? I, for one am thankful for the many chances I have had!


The challenge of transforming an item that has lost it’s lustre into something beautiful, something with a new purpose, is what motivates me. I jazz up bits and pieces; breath new life into much loved objects; upcycle furniture and create unique handmade gifts and decorative items. What I do; is often influenced by my South African roots or the pretty English countryside, where I now live.


I truly believe that we are all, in some way or another, created to create. I carve out that time and space for people to come and connect by hosting creative skills workshops, especially decorative paint techniques, in my home – always with tea and cake! As an added bonus, we make new friends, have fellowship and find time for reflection and healing in the process of creating something new and beautiful.


I look forward to getting know you all a bit better and sharing my creative makes with you!


With much love

René







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