Sunday, 29 July 2012

Walking to Cornwall...

I don't know this lady, but I am JEALOUS. What a great idea for a great cause. And while pregnant too!

Back to my own charity efforts. WHile it's not a charity as such, I've decided to log my efforts to make the world rethink its plastic use and have finally, finally got round to ordering this book (after reaching payout on my nectar points)

I am thrilled that there is someone else out there who feels the same way I do about plastic invading our lives.

This kind of thing:

makes me want to cry. Who does it benefit apart from the packaging companies who must be making a...ahem packet? I am looking into either joining an environmental charity or setting my own up to spread the word about the damage that is done by plastic and turning myths on their heads such as the man in Wilkinson's who laughed when I said I didn't want a bag for the tiny purchase I made, telling me that their bags are "Biodegradable" (they're not, and even so called "biodegradable bags don't biodegrade completely), because they're made from recycled plastic.

Saturday, 28 July 2012


More clearing out!

A bag of clothes including a bunch of my trademark long skirts which are becoming hazardous, particularly when coming down the stairs with the McBaby!

I took the McBaby out in Henley for the day, so we dropped the bag off to Oxfam.

Cross Roads

Thursday's jumble sale was in aid of Cross Roads which is the charity that looks after carers.

Our 90-year-old friend wasn't there, but all was not lost as we picked up these two skirts for 50p each (will wear one and make bunting with the other!)

and won the Southern Comfort and perfume in the raffle! Cheers! (Hic)

Crossroads care has been providing shorts breaks for carers in West Berkshire since 1988.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012


I get quite a lot of racial abuse because I am stupid enough to look ever-so-slightly foreign. This is fine and a bit dull really, but when I am holding the McBaby, I find the racist comments much, much harder to take and in fact, for some reason, had a bit of a cry after abuse was doled out from one Corsa amongst a convoy of four souped-up chav mobiles speeding down our street and past me trying to cross the road with the baby in my arms.

So, rather than feel sorry for myself, I've started looking at houses and began my search in the town of WHitchurch where I stumbled upon a charity shop called Rotations.

I went in and handed over a bag of toiletries and dresses while pondering the nature of the charity; a welfare scheme for former helicopter pilots perhaps?

You are probably a step in front of me; it's called ROtations because the premises are rented out by a different charity every fortnight. CUrrently, it's a charity called Adonai which is a word from the Bible, meaning "extensive love".

One of the volunteers spent a lot of time telling me about the project - it's an educational charity for children in Uganda which gave me huge wanderlust and the desire to do more to help in Africa. I then pledged to buy a car seat for the McBaby but realised I had two pounds in my wallet which I then handed over for a 20p book. I literally gave her my last bit of cash, such was her enthusiasm!


Tuesday, 24 July 2012

National Trust

I cannot resist a sign like this:

I bought four old books and one new one

for the McBaby from the Vyne National Trust property which has one of the most beautiful second hand bookshops I've ever been in, with a stunning window looking out onto the grounds.

I have to admit that I was a sod later on though. Naomi House was collecting money via stalls, one of which was yet another book stall. I picked up three and was about to pay for them but realised, as is pretty much the story of my life at the moment, that I didn't quite have enough cash.

At I realised this and had started to shout the "M" of MrM, the woman on the stall yelled: "GUess the amount of teabags in the teapot" at me. These three thoughts ran through my head at the same time:

1. It's "number" of books, not "amount", (my grammatical bete noire) and you should know that if you are selling books.

2. You are becoming a complete grammar Nazi - stop it!

3. If I guess the amount/number of teabags, I won't have enough for the books.

It's lack of sleep - I promise I won't do it again....


Monday, 16 July 2012

Sue Ryder

When I was pregnant, I bought myself a velvet jacket from Sue Ryder in an attempt to jaunty up my outfits. Having worn this the other day, I have realised the error of my ways and decided to take it back to Sue Ryder.

Like yesterday, I had to wait for some time for the staff member to say thank you - in fact she only did so when her manager came out to assess my donation. But wait! On the way out, I spied a lovely baby coat! Yes, it's red, but it fits the McBaby, so I took it to the till where I discovered that I was 38p short of the £2.50 sale price. However, the manager let me have it for the 2.12 that I had in my wallet as I'd donated the jacket.


Community Youth Project and Scope

It's been a pitiful summer which means everything is a washout. Crucially, that means boot sales are thin on the ground (while mud is thick on the ground). I am in the midst of a never-ending clear out, caused in part by the fact that I take things to the charity shop and then come out with more than I went in with!).

So I was quite excited when I saw an indoor boot sale advertised. Here was my chance to have a clear out, assisted by my little helper, pictured below.

However, I struggled to sell anything and still can't work out why. I only sold a bunch of candles and had two people walk away when I quoted prices of 50p for a cushion and a beautiful coffee plunger. I only bought one thing; a Jennings book, and coffee was provided. Actually, one of the volunteers also provided biscuits for the McBaby - so generous of her that I let him have one, despite it being coated in sugar. Eek.

Interestingly, another seller gave me £2 when I groaned about losing a coin that had shot out of the hole in my jeans pocket. I couldn't accept it from her but she put it in my bra! I pretended I'd found the original coin and returned it when I was leaving.

And so we left with quite a lot, so I was able to drop off two bin bags at the Scope shop in town. I specifically chose this one because the prices are reasonable and the staff polite. Until today. I had to say "thank you" in a certain tone of voice before the manager said thank you for lugging in two full binbags with one hand and a baby in the other!


Falkland WI

It was a Thursday, so it had to mean that it was our weekly jumble sale! This week held in aid of the Falkland WI (as in the area of Newbury called Falkland, not the Falkland Islands).

I donated a bag of new baby stuff that I can't store and some books and then bought a teatowel (simply because it reminded me of my mum's old duvet cover) and a chocolate cake because I had friends coming over.

I then chatted to our 90 year old friend and somehow seemed to have signed up to the WI! I am actually going to a meeting in September!!


Sunday, 8 July 2012

Love Hope Strength

We braved the downpours and mud to watch our favourite band last night. The Levellers headlined a concert at Avebury at the end of a 20-mile fundraising walk to raise money for Love Hope Strength, a charity that supports cancer sufferers in developing countries.

Despite getting utterly drenched, we (and that includes the McBaby at his first ex-utero Levs gig) had a brilliant time. There were some great acts; The Jess Hall Band, The Fixx, Mike Peters and of course, the Levs who performed a set that started with "WHat a Beautiful Day", ironically, and songs from their latest album including Raft of the Medusa that I filmed here:

Little guy laughing at the incessant rain

Friday, 6 July 2012

Mobiles for Meals

Having just unpacked my suitcase after a month-long holiday, I was surveying some of the weird and wonderful things that I had brought home from Hong Kong. None of the usual souvenirs for me - instead, I had encouraged my mum to declutter and leapt upon the chance to rid her home of the old, no, not old, antediluvian mobiles that were sitting in her drawer.

With these three mobiles in front of me, it was therefore very good timing that I received an email from netmums who are appealing for people to hand in their old mobiles to Orange for recycling. Any profits will then go to Kids COmpany who will then help pay for meals for disadvantaged children.


There are an estimated 15 million unused mobiles in the UK, each one worth from £5 to £100+. Orange and T-Mobile are kindly putting any unused phones we can find through their recycling programme. It’s an amazing opportunity to provide nurturing (both food and love) to a child who otherwise will stay hungry.

This website encourages you to take a picture of yourself as you recycle your mobile. I did take a photo but it just shows a very raindrenched hand in front of a blurry store. Trust me, you're not missing anything.

Ufton Court Educational Trust

A rare evening off for MrM last night, so he and I took the McBaby to the horseracing! We wanted to show him that gambling is wrong, so we deliberately lost £5 on an each way bet. Ahem. But there was a great atmosphere and since the racecourse is actually nearer to our house than the supermarket, it was fitting that we should finally spend some time here to let him experience the thrill of horses galloping by.

Last night's racing was in aid of the Ufton Court Education Trust which provides education for children in an inspiring historical context.

At Ufton children and young people explore the historical and environmental world through real, hands on experiences.

Ufton is an educational centre for children and young people run by the Ufton Court Educational Trust, a registered charity established in 2006, which aims to provide an inspirational historical home offering innovative and challenging experiences to young people.

Over 6000 young people visit Ufton Court each year and take part in a wide range of activities. Those studying history have a unique opportunity to live in an Elizabethan House as if it were their own, to explore and discover the house’s secrets and to experience firsthand sixteenth century life.