A Caring Crimbo!

151216012232Every year I try to do a little something for a charity, it helps them and yes, it makes me feel good too. I don’t just do it to feel good, I do it because everybody needs help sometimes, and I could be one of those “sometimes” sometime (hopefully not but you never know what’s around the corner). It has become a little bit harder asking people for sponsorship though, as everybody is finding it a little bit harder now and with Small Monkey it’s a little harder to take part in hikes and races and such. So to combat this I’ve started a new Christmas tradition (there’ll be a post to follow on this too) for us as a family….The Christmas Shoebox…or Gift Bags in our case.

I chose the following charities as they are more local to me and I think the charities at home are often slightly overlooked. Don’t get me wrong, I know their are people suffering all over the world but sometimes charity does begin at home. (You can click on the headers and highlights for links to the charity’s page or site. The * beside each will bring you to an Irish equivalent if possible. Please also make sure that if you donate, it is to a legitimate charity.)

Project Shoebox. *

This brilliant charity takes your unused toiletries & cosmetics and distributes them to women and families in domestic violence refuges across the UK. I liked this because the charity is happy to take what you have lurking about in your bathroom cupboard, in fact they suggest you have a clear out, so you don’t have to spend loads buying stuff to put in, ‘cos that can really add up. I had loads of nail varnishes and lotions and potions I haven’t seen since four Christmas’ ago that now have a happy new home. I also included some light hearted books I’d finished reading and some tops I no longer wear but that are in good condition. I did buy a few bits & pieces and a couple of Christmassy bits to pop in the boxes too though. To finish it off I covered the shoeboxes in Christmas paper and included a little Christmas card. Small Monkey enjoyed helping me put the little bits in the boxes, even if we did fall out a few times over whether or not the sweets were his.

The charity has finished its collections now for this year but keep them in mind for next year, and as they point out…refuges are open all year round, crying out for extra supplies.

Waterloo Foodbank. * *

I contacted the Foodbank after they replied to my post on a local FB page regarding local charities that would accept USED kids toys. Unfortunately, it seems most places will only take brand new boxed toys, which a) I couldn’t afford to buy new toys and b) it wasn’t solving my problem of Small Monkey’s excess of toys and books he doesn’t touch any more. The Foodbank, as the name suggests, deals mainly in supplying 3 day food parcels for local people in crisis. I watched a program earlier in the year that showed a lot of parents skip meals every day to feed their kids as everything else had to go on the rent and bills. For me, what made it hit home more was that a lot of the people shown were people just like hubby and me, working every day. I’m not knocking people on benefits and such, I just think it’s a little sadder to know that people in employment aren’t even earning enough to eat! Anywho…after drifting a little there, Waterloo Foodbank was happy to accept our donation of Christmas bags of toys and books for kids. After going through all of Small Monkey’s books and toys we had enough to do four bags for 1.5-2yr olds. Again, I did buy a couple of Christmassy extras to put in the bags; the chocolate Santas, malteaser drinks, chocolate coins, tooth paste, tooth brushes and the Christmas activity packs, which came to about £10 in total. 151216012859A couple of friends also contributed, S with the pjs and Big E with some extra lovely Ella’s Kitchen nibbles you don’t see in the pics. Everything else you see there is from our kitchen or Monkey’s toy box. Again Small Monkey wasn’t overly impressed when he noticed the toys were his, but he’s kinda learning to share so it was educational for him. 😀 151216013021 If you do happen to notice a toy you have gifted my little man, please know it was appreciated and he did play with once but not any longer. These toys are going to good homes and will make another child smile. So before you throw out the old toys ask your local foodbank or refuge if they would accept them. There’s a list of local shelters here.

Big House. *

I learned about Big House through them being customers in my day job…by night I’m a superhero…obviously! Big House is a charity which specialises in providing sheltered accommodation for ex-servicemen from the BAF. It is funded by the Royal British Legion. I got chatting to the house manager, asking if they had families, what they did for Christmas, etc. He told me last year our local M&S supplied the food for their Christmas dinner but they don’t really have family so don’t have a celebration like us or presents and such. I told him about my Christmas “giving” idea and asked what I could do personally to help, he told me they can never have enough socks and pants! 😀 There’s 11 guys in the house at present, I just couldn’t leave anybody out so along with Big E, we made up a Christmas Gift bag each. 151216013707They included a thermal hat or gloves each, a Christmas themed (of course) pair of socks and boxers, some Christmas themed sweeties and a hot choc each. I don’t know if I ever seen anybody so delighted as the house manager when I dropped them off and they weren’t even for him.151216013126

So there you go, a few local charities that you could help out if you wish. It doesn’t have to be just for Christmas, these charities will accept help all year round. Sometimes it doesn’t even have to be a material or monetary donation, it could just be your time. Alot of charities look for volunteers, such as Homeless UK, some charities just ask for your ears like Age UK with its telephone befriending service. Bisto, yes the gravy people are running Spare Chair Sunday, where you offer up a spare chair for your Sunday roast to an elderly person who would normally eat alone. Maybe all you can do is check in on your elderly neighbour next door, go and sit with them for an hour, or maybe the single parent down the street needs an ear….Charity can be so much more than a donation of money and material things, it can be a donation of you, your human touch.

So off ya go now…take leaf from Wizzard‘s book…go check on that grumpy auld lad next door, maybe he’s just lonely…”why don’t you give your love for Christmas?”

Merry Christmas


Donna xx

Feck off “Final Destination” brain!

20151202_225859_wm (1)Is it just me? Am I going crazy? (Probably!) My OWN mind is going all Final Destination on my ass!!!! Let me give you a couple of scenarios it cooks up for me….

The Shop Signs hanging overhead. 

151202104524_wmI’ll be out walking about doing me bits ‘n’ pieces, and I’ll look up and notice the shop signs overhead. Most of them are pretty safe looking, i.e lying flat, safely attached to the building front, but you get the odd “sticky out” one. Ya know like ye olde pub sign. Hanging there, attached by tiny, probably ancient brackets, swaying precariously in the breeze or God forbid, crashing about like headbanger at a Metallica concert!!! So yeah, I look up and my mind will go “hey Don, that is definitely gonna fall on you. Right down on top ya.” As if telling me that is not enough, Mind (we’ll name my mind, Mind for now) will pan backwards and show me myself spread-eagled on the path with a shop sign embedded in my head and my brains and blood leaking out onto the path! Thanks a bunch Mind!!

(I have actually seen this happen…it wasn’t as gorey in real life but the guy was hurt and an ambulance was called.)

Bus/Lorry wing mirrors.

This one is probably most likely to happen when you’re standing 151202104856_wminnocently at the pedestrian crossing waiting to cross….or walking along the footpathless roads at home. So yeah, you’re standing there thinking about what you’re gonna have for dinner, not minding the bus coming along your side of the road. Now you don’t really need to mind that bus ‘cos you’re standing on the path…you’re SAFE!! Hah! Are you? What if you get one of those asshat bus drivers that drive extremely close to the footpath? BOOM! You’ve been walloped in the head by the bus’ wing mirror…you’re face is now mush! Are you even alive? (Ok so you would have to be pretty tall for this to happen but still….)

The old Sash Windows in our house.

Not long after we moved in here last year, we had a really windy 151202104913_wmnight…like struggle to walk forward type winds…and by jayzus does the wind fly like a cruise missile down our road. At about 2.00 in the morning I woke up, actually Hubster woke too, to the sound of the wind rattling the be-jeezus out of the windows. Our bedroom door even shut!! I swear to God, only for Mind decided to cut me some slack on this one and confirm it was the wind, I would’ve thought the house was possessed!! I couldn’t sleep until the wind died down, every time I closed my eyes, I could see the windows shattering inwards, butchering us in our sleep!

The landlord has since installed draft excluders…thank fubluck!

The dodgey stair layout in our house.

It just makes no sense! You need to look at the photo for this one.151202105133_wm I mean it’s just an accident waiting to kill me! I’ll come out of the utility room one night, carrying a bottle of wine…actually more likely a couple of bottles of strawberry and lime cider…but you know it’ll be glass ‘cos that’s how it works when you’re gonna die! Anyway I’ll forget that stupid step and tumble to my doom at the bottom of the stairs, impaled by a bottle of cider!151202105240_wm Small Monkey will be upstairs crying and Hubster won’t be able to get the door when he comes from work, ‘cos my mangled body is blocking the door. He doesn’t know that though so he keeps pushing the door, squashing my head into my neck (I landed with my head against the door…two dead eyes staring widely upwards), my neck into my torso…squashing me more. Ya see? See what Mind does to me??

The Cranes a street over from us.

20151201_083740_wmOver the past 9 months there has been some building works going on a street over from us (you can’t really tell from the photo but they’re actually a lot closer). The wind also has a starring role in this scenario too. I was sitting here the other day, mind numbed from the millionth episode of Peppa on tv, looking out the window at the cranes SWAYING in the wind!!! Not only could I see the hook bit to ‘n’ froing but I could actually see the cranes body/scaffolding swaying too!!! Of course Mind thought she’d be smart and pipe up at this point….”ooh if the wind gets stronger that crane could break, I mean look at it swaying…it’s not rooted properly. It could break and fall this way and if it’s not tall enough to land in our sitting room, the “hooky chain bit will of course have extra speed from falling behind it and it will slice through the roof of your house!!”


So my question is, is it just my head that likes to draw up these grim ends to my being or do you have imaginings like this too?

(For the love of God say you do!!)

G’luck out there

Donna xx