Friday, 31 August 2012

Save the Children/RSPCA

My mum has been inspired by our decluttering and said our house looked great. High praise indeed from my mum.

I was taking a bag of things to the charity shop (a moneybox - with no money in it), some books and a couple of brand new handbags and she asked if she could contribute some things: some brand new curtains, a brand new duvet set, more handbags and another moneybox.

This required two trips; one to the RSPCA shop in Thatcham and one to the SAve the Children shop in Newbury where I picked up a book called A Drink with Shane Macgowan. Not only is it bad that I must buy something when things should be flowing OUTwards, but when I went to pay for it, they told me that the books were two-for-one!

Of course, there was nothing I wanted so I picked up a book on "seasonal living" telling you to live in tune with the seasons. It wasn't until I put both books in my handbag that I realised what a completely comical juxtaposition they made. I am loving the Shane Macgowan one and the other has already gone back to the charity shop. So much for clean living, eh?

Diabetes UK

Little man was at nursery for the weekly coffee morning which was in aid of Diabetes UK, but he was not forgotten.

Ma mere and I spent a few quid on the tombola, trying to win the "baby journal" that was one of the prizes. Neither of us had any success, nor did one of the lovely elderly men that we see every week who had a try on our behalf (before telling my mum that had he been 50 years younger, I would be his ideal woman!)

We did win this:

(a children's gardening set with a piece missing (Given to my nephew), an office darts board (given to one of MrM's colleagues) and a bottle of bubble bath (given to my mum)

And I bought this bag:

Thursday, 30 August 2012


Another day, another viewing at McTowers. So our decluttering efforts are on-going and today's donation shed a bit of light on why I find it so hard to get rid of stuff.

I have a beautiful bra given to me by MrM. Everytime I open my underwear drawer, it comes out and I look at it, wistfully sigh that it doesn't fit, hold it in my hand, wonder whether I should get rid of it, decide that it was a gift and put it back in.

He happened to be in the room last time I did this, so I simply said: "I love this. I know it was a present, but it doesn't fit so I wondered if you'd mind if I gave it to Oxfam's appeal?"

"Of course not. There's no point keeping it if it doesn't fit. I'll buy you one that does."

So there it is - my problem is getting rid of things that have some sort of sentimental attachment because they were given to me by someone I love. I've now taken it to Oxfam (where the lady, much to my delight, was very, very nice!) No guilt, no bad feeling, I didn't lose part of MrM when it left the house, and another item out, making my underwear drawer work much better for me!

Sunday, 26 August 2012

St John's Church/Headway/Brain Tumour UK

Nothing pleases me more than raising money for charity by eating cake which is exactly what the McBaby and I were encouraged to do at the Town Hall yesterday.

A gingerbread man? Don't mind if I do! Starting with the feet!

The mayor's weekly coffee morning raises money for a different charity each Saturday and today was the turn of Headway, a charity that I only heard of a few years ago when someone I knew through work died tragically:

The McBaby and I had just come from the craft stall in town where we donated to Brain Tumour UK, and before that we'd been to a jumble sale at St John's Church where I bumped into someone we knew. I casually mentioned that I had a couple of books to donate and that there were no books on sale. He looked surprised. "This isn't all of it! THere's another room back there!"

This room had cake, a tombola, toys and books aplenty. All unsignposted! To think I might have missed it!

Chapel Row Charity Fair

Sorry, can't bring myself to write "fayre"!

Did you know that aliens love underpants? No, neither did I until I bought this fab book from the stall at the Chapel Row charity event!

I also bought a couple of business books and felt extremely British as we strolled around the stalls, showed the McBaby the farmyard animals and got both wet and sunburnt within the same 20 minute spell.

The fayre (I did it!) was brilliantly organised and hopefully raised a ton for Babies in Buscott, Newbury Samaritans, Riding For The Disabled and Spring Charity Fundraisers.

And look! They've spelt it "fair" too!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Sandham Memorial Chapel (National Trust)

Today's jumble sale was the National Trust, and more specifically, the property which is nearest to us: the wonderful Sandham Memorial Chapel.

Despite getting elbowed in the ribs from two women on either side, I managed to hand over another bag of donations, this time including a couple of tops, a bottle of aftershave with one squirt gone (I loved it, but more importantly, MrM did not) and some books. Our visit to the jumble sale happily coincided with a house viewing, so I guess my decluttering is nearly done!

Or is it? Because, despite pointing out a wholly inappropriate jumper on sale for 50p(someone had donated a sweater with a picture on the front that depicted what the Olympics would look like if naked and hosted in Spain - not really your usual National Trust fare which made the volunteer blush, but then roar with laughter) I then picked up this very on-trend owl cushion and a notebook (one of my weaknesses - I seem to think that my thoughts should be written down in beautiful stationery, but the truth is, they should stay in my head and not be written down at all - particularly in the blogosphere).

Next week: Diabetes. See you there!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

The Salvation Army

This is one of my favourite charity shops in the town. Firstly, it has a great canalside location, right in the centre of Newbury, it's near one of my favourite pubs and it's always stocked with proper charity shop things priced to sell.

Not only that, but the volunteers are friendly and welcoming and the guy this morning who accepted my small donation was no exception and was lovely to both me and the McBaby.

We had a photographer come round to snap our house so it can on the market today, so I am decluttering as I go - today's offering was just a dress that no longer covers up all the bits I want it to but will look great on someone smaller, younger, slimmer etc.

Oh and a Keith Floyd cookbook that I have not used in 20 years - I doubt I will use it now!

I cunningly managed to leave my wallet in the car so resisted the volunteer's attempts to get me to buy baby clothes. It is lovely when you go into a charity shop and they chat to you and show you things they have that you would like. That's a service that you don't even get in most high street shops!

I think I will return with more donations tomorrow. And leaving my wallet in the car again seems like a good idea!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

YMCA/Newbury Blind Club/Sue Ryder

We move a step closer....

The estate agent came round to value the house and said it's ready for sale, adding: "It just needs a little declutter" which amused me no end.

So, yet more stuff has gone out. A carrier to the Sue Ryder shop in town, a donation to the Newbury Blind CLub jumble sale (including a very expensive Boden skirt that I never wore) and a load of cookery books to the YMCA shop.

I didn't see the Blind CLub ladies put out my brown Boden skirt for sale, so if you happen upon it in one of the town's charity shops, know this: I bought it for £40 and NEVER WORE IT.

I am slapping myself on the head as I type....

Monday, 13 August 2012

British Heart Foundation

Our house is starting to look a bit more like the ones you see on Location Location Location which is fortunate as our house will be going onto the market very shortly!

That means two things: firstly, if you are an investment or first time buyer and are looking for a nice house with massive garden near to the town centre, then you need to contact me now!

It also means that MrM was able to take another bumper crop to the British Heart Foundation shop!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Save the Children/Cancer Research UK/Hope for Africa

I managed the triple today - donating to the Hope for Africa jumble sale, buying a raffle ticket and NOT BUYING ANYTHING TO TAKE HOME.

My manic decluttering efforts have not gone unnoticed by MrM who has stopped asking me: "Where is the ................" and has donated lots of his shirts and suits to various charities including Save the CHildren and Cancer Research UK.

I'm off to celebrate in the sunny garden with a bottle of cider - cheers!!

Wednesday, 8 August 2012


Back in my home town of Sherborne, Dorset, there's always something wonderful to be found in the Oxfam shop.

Today was no exception when I discovered these great little books from the 1960s - can't wait to read them to the McBaby and for him to ask me what a bowler hat is...

Tresco and Bryher School Garden

Just back from the Isles of Scilly (where the gardens are so pretty*) and saw this clever way of raising money:

Who wouldn't be tempted to put their spare change in that formation?

*see here for details:

at 1.04 in.