Saturday, 31 December 2011

Boxing Day

Catching up still! MrM kindly dropped off a bag of stuff to the Cancer Research UK shop in town.

As our little boy is so, so long, a lot of babygrows for newborns don't fit, so I donated these along with a Harry Potter book that's taking up space and some toiletries.

We’ve saved millions of lives with our groundbreaking work into preventing, diagnosing and treating cancer. People’s chances of surviving cancer have doubled in the last 40 years, and we’ve been at the heart of that progress.

But more than one in three of us will still get cancer at some point. Our vital work, funded entirely by the public, will help ensure that millions more people survive.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Christmas Day

Bit behind but we sponsored MrM's brother's Movember effort...

Thank you for your donation. Your support of Movember and the more than 10,000 men who will die of prostate cancer and the more than 2,000 men who will be diagnosed with testicular cancer this year, is sincerely appreciated.

Attached please find your official receipt.

Through the Movember Foundation and our men’s health partners, The Prostate Cancer Charity and The Institute of Cancer Research, Movember is funding world class awareness, research, educational and support programmes which would otherwise not be possible.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Friday, 23rd December - Charles Clore unit

There was a table of books for sale at the hospital today which I noticed while the baby and I were waiting for his first appointment. I didn't buy anything, but stuck some money in the collection tin in aid of the local Charles Clore unit.

Wednesday, 21st December - Sandham Memorial Chapel

My mum represented me at the weekly coffee morning, buying me some jumble goodies, including a pile of Christmas biscuits and a lovely bottle of perfume.

The sale was in aid of the Sandham Memorial CHapel.

Tuesday, 20th December - Mayor's Benevolent Fund

MrM kindly bought me several pieces of stollen from a coffee morning in town....

Sunday, 18th December & Monday, 19th December - Royal Berkshire League of Friends

As I was in labour all of Sunday and had our baby on Monday, I made a double donation to the Royal Berkshire League of Friends. We had a home birth but unexpectedly found ourselves in hospital after the birth - all sorted now and a massive thank you to all staff at the hospital!

Operation Christmas Child update

The box I submitted a couple of months ago was sent to...ta-dah.....Bosnia!

Bosnia is a predominantly Muslim country based in the Balkan Region of Eastern Europe. There are less than 700 Christians in the entire country. High unemployment and little new investment in infrastructure has left more than 25% of the population in poverty.

Shoeboxes are sent by truck to the capital Sarajevo and then distributed across the country by our in-country partners. This year, we sent 72,948 shoeboxes from the UK to Bosnia.

Below is a story from a previous year’s distribution to Bosnia…

Damira’s story
In Bosnia, many children will not receive a present during the entire year. We had the privilege of giving out shoeboxes to children with special needs. It was wonderful to watch their smiles as they opened the shoeboxes and found hidden treasures inside.

Our team visited the Drina’s Rehabilitation Centre at Fojnica where we met a little girl called Damira who was 13 years old. She had a tragic background as she was born with learning disabilities and for reasons unknown, 3 years ago her mother tried to put her on a railway line in front of a train.

Instead of being instantly killed Damira survived but now lives in this rehabilitation centre. She has no visitors so it was unlikely that she would get any Christmas presents that year, were it not for the shoeboxes. When she saw that she was to get a shoebox her face lit up and she was overjoyed with her gifts.

Our work in the region

Samaritan’s Purse doesn’t just send shoeboxes to Eastern Europe. We work with local churches to provide support to abandoned orphans in Belarus and also provide medical, emotional and spiritual care for people living with HIV and AIDS in the Ukraine who have no one to look after them.

Baby arrives!

Our little boy was born at home on Monday so while I am still here, I'm a bit behind!

I will endeavour to ensure something gets done for every day that's left in 2011 though!

Meanwhile, thanks for reading throughout the year and I hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmas!

m and baby j

Thursday, 15 December 2011


Your donation has helped us to achieve another record breaking year; an incredible result and one which would not have been possible without the support of our donors and the 850,000 Mo Bros and Mo Sistas around the world. The first Movember Mo was grown in Australia back in 2003. Since that time, we’ve grown and now run official Mo campaigns in fourteen countries.

Your donation to Movember has helped us achieve our most successful year to date; so it's important to us that you know what happens next in the Movember cycle. We also want to tell you more about the programmes your money will be funding and what the team gets up to outside of Moustache Season.

Saturday, 17th December - Eight Bells Newbury

Charity thing today was actually Thursday (baby has still not appeared so I am doing as much as I can in advance!)

Lovely coffee morning at St Nics was in aid of mental health charity Eight Bells which supports people affected by mental health issues. As well as the goodies in the pic, I also bought two pieces of shortbread which didn't make it home to be photographed.

As a member led organisation, there are great opportunities to get involved with the running of Eight Bells from cooking lunch to being part of the management board. We believe in empowering our members, this creates a great atmosphere within the centre; people feel part of a community. People aren't told what to do here rather they are involved in deciding how things are done.

Friday, 16th December - Dingley Family and Specialist Early Years Centre

Some coins in a pot at the local supermarket..

Dingley Family and Specialist Early Years Centres is a registered charity that provides a place where children, from birth to five years, with special needs and disabilities come to develop skills through play. More than this, it is a place where their parents and carers are welcome, where they can make friends and share experiences.

Every child who attends is regarded as an individual with the right to take a full and active part in every day life and Dingley aims to facilitate their entry into the next stage of education.

Thursday, 15th December - GP surgery

Can I count this? New thing today was taking a pile of magazines to the surgery...

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

World Book Night 2012 update

There's still time to sign up to be a "giver" on 23rd April 2012!

We've had thousands of applications but we still need more givers to register so we wanted to ask you to help us spread the word by telling all your friends and family about World Book Night and encouraging them to be givers. We've extended the application deadline to the end of January and, in response to feedback, made the application process easier.

And we also wanted to assure you that it won't effect your chances of being a giver!

We've changed the process for how givers are chosen for 2012. Our core objective is to ensure that the WBN books reach non or light readers but we do also want to ensure that givers are spread throughout the country. Givers will be chosen first and foremost based on their commitment to give books to non or light readers and the answers to the questions to where, who and why, and then geographic location and when applications were received will be taken in to account.
So providing you've fulfilled our criteria of spreading the love of reading to new readers then how early you've applied will be taken in to account.

We'll let you know whether or not you've been sucessful in February but will keep in touch in the mean time.

Books. The most amazing gift
And finally we can't resist encouraging you to give books this Christmas. Whether it's your favourite, something they've always wanted, brand new or an old favourite, books really do make the perfect gift and we, as book lovers, that you'll receive as many as you give this Christmas!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

NSPCC letter from Santa

I just got a text to say that the young recipient of the NSPCC Christmas letter....(available here for a donation to the NSPCC) is very happy.

"So nice of Father Christmas to send Henry a letter. Very thoughtful of the little elf who reminded him xx"

Your donations make a difference

Answers a child's call for help on ChildLine.

Enables a trained practitioner to deliver one hour of support through the NSPCC Helpline, to protect some of the most vulnerable children in society such as babies or toddlers who cannot call for themselves.

Pays for a child who may have nowhere else to turn to receive confidential, one to one counselling through ChildLine, about an issue which is important to them.

Could pay for an hour of face to face work in one of our services for a vulnerable child and their family.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday - Scope

It's a beautiful day today, but yesterday - GAH! I didn't step out of the house, preferring to stay in the kitchen making mince pies and throwing around the ingredients like Tom Cruise in Cocktail. I've been making a lot of my own entertainment in the last couple of weeks.

So I did three things in one today, all in Scope whose shop has recently had a revamp and looks great. Everything is reasonably priced, easy to browse through and the staff are friendly.

So, my three things:

1. I handed over some books and other bits and bobs including this which I read yesterday in one sitting.

2. I handed over some stamps as they can make money out of them - still not sure how, but hopefully this will be worth a bit as I have an astonishing array of used stamps including one from a country I'd never heard of!

3. I bought a pair of shoes for MrM which look great but might have to go back as they're a half size too big. We'll see.

The Scope website seems to be down but from memory, they help children and adults with cerebral palsy.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Sunday, 11th December - 2nd Thatcham Scouts

After a donation, I was helped by a young lad to bag up my shopping in that orange supermarket. Could have sworn they said "2nd" not "1st" as below though?

Fundraising for 1st Thatcham Scout Group, Sainsbury's Store, 10am to 4pm. 1st Thatcham Scout Group is fundraising by packing bags at Sainsbury’s, to raise £5000 for essential maintenance that its HQ so desperately needs.

Saturday, 10th December - Newbury Round Table

A last ditch attempt to get a Christmas present for MrM saw us reluctantly head into town on a Saturday - however, it did give me the chance to put my coins in a bucket for the Newbury Round Table.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Operation Christmas Child update

Dear Shoeboxer,

First of all, a massive THANK YOU for doing a shoebox this year with Operation Christmas Child. We hope to let you know in the coming weeks where your shoebox has been sent.

In the meantime, we'd love to tell you about a great way your friends can still make a child's Christmas. How? Through Shoebox World - our innovative website where you create your shoebox online and we do the hard work of making it up and sending it out.

3 things you need to know about Shoebox World:


It's fun - play around with your kids on the site; enjoy the videos, graphics and sound effects!


It's quick - if you are in a hurry, you can even select a pre-packed box option.


It's affordable - you can do a shoebox from just £11, with gifts around 20% cheaper than High Street prices

Most important of all, a child living in Liberia who would otherwise not receive a present this Christmas will know the joy of receiving your shoebox gift.

Thank you again for your support.

Samaritan's Purse

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Friday, 9th December - Christian Aid

A day ahead as the baby is due any moment! Today is actually Thursday but my charity thing today was to meet a friend for coffee at the weekly charity fundraising morning at St Nic's CHurch. Eating coffee cake in aid of Christian Aid is the kind of "charity work" that I love!

The sale and tombola yielded a couple of interesting things including some 1970s soap which my mum might like. I also entered a "guess the weight" competition which is difficult when you're brought up in a strange world where imperial and metric are mixed - they will probably have a good laugh as I may well have confused pounds, stone and grammes and insulted the maker of the cake by saying it weighs more than I do.

Also entered the tombola and bizarrely won a packet of bread sticks. Reminds me of a bar in Tobago that I was in once where someone won a live pig in a competition. Anyway, had a nice catch up and good to talk to this calm mother-of-three who put me in a good frame of mind for the birth!

Delivering hope this Christmas

Meet Rogers, our modern-day wise man. This Christmas he will be travelling far from home to deliver hope and transform lives in rural Kenya.

Rogers describes what he does as a 'calling' and says 'it is good to have a helping heart'. His selfless compassion has saved many lives, including Patricia's; without Roger's support Patricia's two children could now be among the 1.2 million children orphaned due to AIDS in Kenya.

Please give generously this Christmas and help volunteers like Rogers continue their life-saving work in some of the world's poorest communities.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Thursday, 8th December - Cancer Research UK

Did this today for tomorrow, so yesterday really, if you see what I mean. Perhaps my hormones are getting to me, but I have to say that I was not at all impressed with today's transaction. I was quite excited about finding a maternity dress but the wind was taken out of my sails when I approached the till.

I spent £11 but didn't get the courtesy of a "hello" or a "thank you". In fact, the woman behind the counter merely nodded at me so I forced her to say hello because I am awkward that way.

Once I'd paid her, she walked off! So I was left to bundle everything into my handbag while she mumbled something to her colleague.

Visit our shops

We have nearly 600 shops around the UK where you can buy or donate goods. And to make shopping even easier, we’ve launched our very own online shopping site

Wednesday, 7th December - NCT

NCT again!
Today I purchased a strip of raffle tickets at the Bumps and Babes Christmas fair. (and nearly bought a pushchair - one of the ladies was quite amused that I hadn't got one yet!)

Hoping that lots of you are planning to come to Ace Space on Wednesday 7th - This Wednesday to do a bit of Christmas Shopping at our Micro Christmas Fair?

Monday, 5 December 2011

Follow Your Dreams update

I did a dreadfully short blog post about a charity called Follow Your Dreams last week. I found their website but as I couldn't copy and paste, I didn't really say much about what they actually do! Fortunately, someone who works at the charity is far more on the ball than I am and sent me an email to tell me that they work with children with learning disabilities.

We don't look to provide on off special occasions but rather recognise a child's talent or interest and build on that!

Follow them here on twitter too: @Follow_Yr_Dream

They also sent me the following blog post - (I'm not sure that the only reason I did a blog post about them was because I got a sticker though!)

Part of my role working for Follow Your Dreams, is to receive email alerts for any new web content appearing on Google, that contains the words ‘Follow Your Dreams’. As I’m sure you can appreciate I get a lot of alerts with this content and 99% of the time with no relevance to the charity at all!

That said today was a pleasant surprise for me, not only because the alert was related to the charity ‘Follow Your Dreams’, but also because the content wasn’t directly related to anything the office staff had produced such as a press release, no instead it was due to the sticker someone received after making a donation to one of our collectors!

A charity a day is a blog found at and each day a write up is given to a charity, a nice way of spreading the good news of what work goes on out there, and in some cases for little know charities such as ‘Follow Your Dreams’. I’m sure this post only came about due to the little sticker that was handed out in return for the donation given.

It just goes to show the importance of a little sticker no bigger than a 10p coin providing people with our web address! and also makes it clear that we don’t necessarily appreciate the impact that the people we come into contact with each day can have on our charity! Follow Your Dreams has now become visible to an audience that we may not have reached before, and our thanks is sent to the author of the blog A charity a day!

The full post can be read here

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Monday, 5th December - NCT

Yes, yes, ahead of myself again!

We went to the NCT nearly new sale for a donation. The intention was to buy a pushchair and the only one that suited us was priced at £120 (I only had £100 in cash on me and didn't realise you could pay by card until we were leaving). Very fortunately, as MrM and I are currently members of the NCT, we were among those given an extra 15 minutes at the beginning to look at the meticulously presented goodies on offer before everyone was let in. I only managed to come away with a DVD.

National campaigning

Our national campaigning work is based around three campaign areas and our three policies on Pregnancy and Birth, Babyfeeding and Parenthood.

Local campaigning

We encourage and support campaigning across the UK. On these pages you can find the support you need to help make a difference locally using our Activists' Guides to running effective campaigns.National Campaigning
NCT campaigns nationally in three areas: pregnancy and birth; baby feeding and parenthood. We campaign on these objectives:

Pregnancy & Birth
1.One-to-one support in labour
2.Birth environments designed around women's needs
3.Easily accessible, individualised services for all
4.Choice of place of birth
5.Well informed parents and professionals
6.Protection and promotion of the normality of birth

1.The Baby Friendly Initiative being fully implemented
2.Informed, individualised support
3.Integrated government breastfeeding strategies
4.Peer and specialist supporters
5.Well informed and supportive communities

Early parenthood
1.Information on parenting approaches to be evidence-based
2.Continuous parent-centred, empowering services
3.Improved postnatal care
4.High quality, affordable childcare
5.Improved maternity and paternity pay and leave

Sunday, 4th December - South Pole Challenge

I've started drinking Raspberry Leaf Tea which means that I could have the baby at any moment! This means that I am starting to think ahead to ensure that I don't miss a day of my charity endeavours - after all I've got to the beginning of December; it would be silly to give up now!

So although it's still Saturday, Sunday's charity thing was a visit to a table top sale where MrM and I bought some fabulous jam and marmalade as a Christmas present (won't say for who on here!).

The table top sale raised funds for an amazing woman with an incredible goal - more here

A BUSINESSWOMAN, mother and dare-devil from Cold Ash is hoping to join an elite group of people by attempting to ski to the South Pole.
Julie Ashmore, aged 43 of Corner Mead, will take part in the expedition in January and is hoping to raise money for a children's charity at the same time.
It was a case of being in the right place at the right time that meant Mrs Ashmore was able to secure a place on the expedition specially timed to arrive at the South Pole on the 100th anniversary of polar explorer Captain Scott’s 1912 expedition.
While on a business course, Mrs Ashmore met seasoned adventurer and business owner Neil Laughton who led the expedition in which Bear Grylls became the youngest person to reach the top of Everest.
Having already climbed Mt Kilimanjaro but having suffered bad altitude sickness, Mrs Ashmore said she wanted a new challenge and happened to ask Mr Laughton about polar expeditions. And he promptly invited her on his trip in January.
"I could have asked one million people about [polar expeditions] but the first person I asked was him! It was like it was meant to happen."
However, her plan of attempting a challenge without having to worry about altitude sickness back fired when she discovered the poles were at altitude.
She added: "It is on 10,000ft of ice and because of the thinner air, it feels like it is 13,000ft - it's ironic."
While on the trek she will have to pull her sledge, weighing about 60kg and so in a couple of weeks, she will be seen pulling tyres across Cold Ash village green to get in shape.
As well as the weight of the sledge and the fact that she has never skied cross country before, she will have to endure the cold.
“Antarctica is the windiest continent and the coldest so you cannot expose any skin," she said.
Mrs Ashmore, who is the UK Operations Director of financial services group Bibby and the mother of Elizabeth, aged seven and Michael, aged six said that fitting in the training on top of her work life and being a mum had been especially hard.
She said: "Most of my friends and family think I'm completely mad and don't know how I manage it but I have a very supportive husband.
"It's extra exciting (because it's on the anniversary) - I do consider myself to be very lucky."
If she completes the trek she will be one of only 300 people who have ever arrived at the South Pole over land.
Mrs Ashmore is completing the challenge to raise money for Fairbridge, a charity which works with inner city youths to gain the confidence and motivation to change their lives.
To sponsor her visit

and here:

Saturday, 3rd December - Follow your dreams

Just popped a handful of money into the collection tin of a man collecting for Follow your dreams. I must admit that I'd not heard of this charity before but apparently it's to help children with learning difficulties to realise their full potential.

Friday, 2nd December - RSPCA

Was on my way to the bus station and saw a lovely young lady offer to help an older lady carry her bags of groceries to her car. How cheery! I then passed the RSPCA shop which has recently not provided positive experiences for me, but thinking of the Christmas spirit in action that I'd just seen, I thought I'd have a look.

A lovely Christmassy dress caught my eye so I checked the scary lady wasn't in the shop and went in. The dress wasn't as nice when I got close up, but I did manage to get a handful of blank CDs.

RSPCA celebrity supporters

There are many ways in which we receive celebrity support. Whether it be from our patrons and vice-presidents or other famous followers.

But what is most important is that our high-profile and celebrity supporters all believe in what we do and share our mission and aims.

Our selection of videos above feature just some of the celebrities who have shown their support for the RSPCA, including:
•TV vet and LSPCA patron Joe Inglis treating animals at mobile clinics in Malawi, south-east Africa.

•Ex-Atomic Kitten star Liz McClarnon visiting an RSPCA animal centre to see for herself the many animals in our care in need of new homes.

•TV presenter and comedian Paul O’Grady who adopted Winston the lamb after the animal was found dumped in a wheelie bin.

•Actor Martin Clunes and his wife Philippa with their adopted RSPCA rescue ponies Connor and Oliver.

•TV star and comedian Julian Clary promoting the work we do in rehoming cats and kittens.

•Hollywood star Pamela Anderson making a special Christmas visit to the animals at our Liverpool Animal Centre.

•TV personality and animal expert Bill Oddie promoting the work of our Mallydams Wood Wildlife Centre.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Thursday, 1st December - ........

It just CAN'T be December already! Can I count this as a charity thing today or is it littering? I had a GP appointment so unloaded a bunch of magazines and left them in the waiting room - quite satisfyingly I saw a few people reading them when I came out of my session.

Does it count?