Preparing for a busy week ahead.

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I hope you have had a great weekend too – we sure have.

Lots of us-time and that made us more productive when it came to work-time. Plus we are loving more daylight hours.

It felt so spring like I started to do some spring cleaning – always good for our charity as I usually sell stuff.  I will work on that later this week.  However, we also did a fair bit baking and cooking – on Sundays for past few weeks I have made big batches of soups – for us and for my parents and recently widowed sister in law.  I also made some bread and lasagnes.  We are all set for a busy week.  However Ian cut his finger and went in search of a band-aid.  Easy to find in this house as we have two big first aid boxes – filled with a variety of things to cure all ailments.

When was the last time you checked your first aid box?   If, like us, it was more than a couple of years ago, it is worth doing.  We threw out bandages and plasters dated 1999 (yes, really), expired Savlon, allergy cream, Vicks vapour rub and have a wee bag ready to hand into our local pharmacy to dispose of old medicines.  I will replace some items tomorrow but realise we don’t need them all.  It also reminded me to replace the first aid box we have in the charity office – mostly it was fine but best to be safe.

No pics of me cooking but some of me working later and I also thought you might like to see this time lapse video (combined with some drone footage that the It’s Good 2 Give Ripple REtreat architect, Tony Kettle, took in December).  Starting from October 2015 right through to January 2017 you can watch the progress of our Retreat in under 2minutes!

Thanks to Broughton Removals

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we are very lucky to have two storage units at Broughton Removals in leith.

‘Today we took dozens of smaller storage boxes to add to the units. For one awful moment I thought we were going to need a third unit but fortunately the guys helping us were seriously impressive at packing.

Suddenly our garage looks empty!

‘It’s all progress though. We got several donations today and so I added thank you cards and letters to my to do list for today. Having also done a fair bit of gardening today I’m feeling tired. Good tired. But means I’m doing a short post today.

Enjoy photos from this morning.

working out

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Had a mainly personal day yesterday as had my annual check at the Western General Hospital so today has been a lovely day – variety is the spice of life, they say!

Banking, paying invoices, replying to emails, initiating requests and then there was the heavy stuff – we have hired a van to take a lot of boxes and furniture to our storage units in Leith tomorrow.  But that meant we had to move huge boxes which seemed awkward and heavy to us! I have new muscles tonight and may need to soak in a bath later with epsoms salts.  Quite a workout we got! We will be glad to get space back in our garage – just in time to fill it again no doubt. It is incredibly kind of Broughton `Removals to support us

I am also working on the plans for the volunteer teams we need to get the big storage boxes emptied – we have a very short window of opportunity end April and beginning of May. I bought lots pairs of Marigolds at the weekend for all of us to use.

It’s wonderful to have so many offers to help and I will work on a wee rota soon.

It’s Good 2 Give Ripple Retreat site visit 14 February 2017

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Me and my Valentine spent the day doing a site visit and visiting two local supporters.

What a great day it was.

We started off by having an early lunch (1115am!) at Blair Drummond Smiddy – then we went just along the road to Doune to meet for the first time a great supporter – Cheryl Sievewright who owns Woodlane of Doune – a fashion boutique. Cheryl held a fashion show raising £1000 for us which was tremendous.  It was so good to finally meet her and she loves the Ripple Retreat and will continue to support us.  I can see myself popping in to Woodlane from time to time. (I saw several items I would have liked to look at more ).

From there we drove along to Callander and stopped to say hello to another local supporter, Ishbel owns the Crown Hotel. It was super busy as we arrived at 1pm so we just said hello and had a very brief chat then agreed to pop back at a quieter time!  We had a bit of time before we needed to be at the Retreat so we took a wander up and down Callander High Street, finding a lovely wee lane to wander down – it took us to a bridge over the river and an ancient graveyard which mentions Burke and Hare.

It was such a lovely February wintery sunny day  and the light was lovely as we approached our Ripple Retreat.  Parking was difficult as the site was so busy with contractors!  (Which was wonderful) – so we parked at our neighbour’s house (with permission I might add).  We had a VIP supporter visiting with her 3 sons so I had bought 3 child size safety hats and hi viz vests for them.  Kirsten runs KDMedia who have supported us through the Scottish Property Awards, Scottish Legal Awards and Scottish Home Awards raising over £60,000 for us in past three years. In addition to the funds, we have met several other supporters through those awards dinners.  I was a wee bit nervous as wanted her to love our Ripple Retreat as much as I do!   It was unnecessary worry – she loved it as did the boys.  On site today was a digger doing work on the road to the new Pier and the boys loved watching it.

Before heading home we met up with our neigbour, another VIP supporter and friend, David and had a cuppa and chat discussing the garden and other landscaping plans.

To top off a cracking day – daylight stayed with us till almost 6pm – a wonderful sign of approaching spring.

Must do better………

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Oops. Missed a few days again. It is harder than I thought doing a blog post a day.  Will try to do better!

Past few days have been same old same old but on speed.   We have been working on a project plan for the opening and the open days following the opening.  There are A LOT of people we would like to invite to come see the Retreat before it goes ‘into service’.

As part of our own food shopping, I am popping in packs of biscuits that are on offer wherever I am – so far, this month has yielded offers on kitkats and oreos.  the biscuits must be individually wrapped so I am keen to take up offers when they appear. The amazing folks at Tunnocks are donating 700 biscuits and along with my 150 so far I am getting there.  I need about another 300 I reckon. So far, no cost to the charity.

I would love love love to tell you my desk is tidier but sadly, I can’t.  Mini fail there. I have a few personal appointments this week and so have kept my diary light (one of them is my annual mammogram – 2 years since I started chemo, and it makes me a bit nervous beforehand).  I may try to do a bit of work on the old desk! Don’t hold your breath though.

Trustee and friend Susie Bradley has been busy on our behalf too – she has been speaking at Inverkeithing Scouts telling them about us and our Ripple Retreat.  The Scouts are fundraising for us which is terrific and Susie has also been invited to be interviewed about her role and that of her Wee Broon Dug’s role as an Ambassador for it’s good 2 give.


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It’s been a long busy week and today we had some personal time too.  My OH makes spectacular fish and chips and my parents love this dish when made by him.  So today we invited them over with OH’s big sister and made them fish and chips for lunch.  It was a lovely interlude for us and took us out of thinking about all things fundraising, building, official openings.

At least till mid afternoon when they left!  Since then it has been good to work on official openings and other day to day charity tasks. I tend to tell you about the bigger stuff but we are a tiny charity really and the smaller stuff has to be done too – the filing, the office cleaning, the maintenance of computers and printers, checking on stationery stock, going to the bank, post office, printer, working out how much coffee, tea and biscuits to buy for the opening and open days.  It’s a joint role for us – I do most of the charity’s admin and Ian does most of the Retreat construction admin but we dip in and out of each others tasks.  When I write a report he reads it over, when he does complex emails I read them over, we both share any amendments to plans or finances.  All the tasks are important no matter how small they seem.

We have several supporters willing to run for us this year – in all sorts of events.  Today we posted a running vest to one supporter and ordered running tops for two others.

One of those is Callum Craw – I first met Callum many years ago through his wife Ruth.  Ruth endured tough treatment for cancer – once she was better she organised a fundraising event in Galashiels – it was one of the best events I have ever been to – her school did a Stars in their Eyes event and were just spectacular.  I don’t remember how much they raised but I do remember the event it was so good.  Ruth and I became friends – indeed I became friends with her whole family. She went on to climb Kilimanjaro and got to the top (something I didn’t manage!) and her dad and brother climbed the Great Wall of China last year for us.  It is husband Callum’s turn now – he is running the London Marathon for us in the spring.

Even better he is keeping a blog of his training and fundraising – and it is well worth a follow.

You can find it here.

I will keep you updated too on his progress and the progress of our other Marathon runner Heather.  (she is doing great in her training and also has been posting updates on her Facebook page).

Thanks to both of them and to our friends at Virgin Money for giving us this amazing opportunity.

Callum and Ruth

Best laid plans…..

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Well, we were supposed to be up at the site today.  Got up early, breakfasted, did some letters for posting, got parcels ready to post – some Young Ambassador stuff to post out, some info leaflets to one of our London Marathon runners Heather in Dumfries.

Was running a few mins late and got an email from one of the parties we were meeting up there to say they were sick and wouldn’t be able to come.  As we hadn’t left, (and because we are back there on Tuesday) we decided to postpone our other meeting in Callander to Tuesday too.  It has given me some time to send some request letters and emails – I still need some major prizes for events in March and am also trying to get an electric bed for the Retreat.  I also sent out a few requests to biscuit makers/coffee and tea suppliers to see if any might help by providing biscuits/tea/coffee for our official opening and the open days at our Ripple Retreat.   No joy so far.   Of course the charity can buy them but I like to try to seek support first!   I may do some more gumtree sales and use that money to pay for them.  I still have a few things in the attic to sell! (friends usually at this point say, How? What can you possibly have left to sell that you haven’t already? But I always seem to find something).

I have managed to re read Young Ambassadors log books from 2016 and add notes and return to them.  My desk looks a wee bit better than usual (not a lot but a little is an improvement), and Ian and I spent an hour or so looking over the planting plan for our Spifox garden.  (which is going to look so lovely by the way and many thanks to Spifox for supporting us). One of the team is off to a Data Protection event today and will report back later – it’s good to keep up to date.

Maria the publisher of Scottish Woman Magazine has taken us on as charity to support this year and we will have a wee piece on the Retreat and our upcoming treks in the next issue which is most exciting!

Hoodies for all…

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We love our itsgood2give hoodie.

Super comfy, super quality, washes well and those who have bought them say they are fabulous.

We would like to sell a few in February and March and so have reduced the price by £5 to £20 each

available in small, medium and large – contact us to buy one.

Techy stuff back on track – phew!

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Bit of a stressful couple days tech wise.  I won’t bore you with the details but I wasn’t a happy lady.  Hoping it is all fixed now.

So been an amazing couple days – Yesterday was  a whizzy kind of day – I had a meeting out at the Hilton Hotel at Edinburgh Airport – Shonagh and I were working on upcoming events and our Young Ambassadors Programme – we got through a huge to do list which was most satisfying.  I had a second meeting at a cafe in Frederick Street – I managed ten minutes in our house to have a bowl of soup then was straight out, met Emma (who, wonderfully, is going to run for us in June and is planning an event to fundraise), popped up to see Colin and Steven at Callprint who had printed our family newsletters for us. I bought them a couple of Ripple Retreat mugs and gave them to the lads as a tiny thank you for their tremendous support.

Straight home, had time to make some smoked salmon pate (as a gift and for our lunches this week), have a cup of tea, and 20minutes later I was out the door again – this time to join the Ten Mile Tuesday gang – I had a one hour window to walk and was determined to make the most of it and managed 3 miles.  Happy with that I went along to a friend’s house and had a lovely evening with a group of amazing women.  We put the world to rights, and I learnt a bit more about new tricks for my new watch, enjoyed a curry and definitely decided to do that again!

Today I took some time out to walk – getting fit again this year is a priority after 3 years of not so good health – I walked to our bank and did some banking before a meeting with one of our Trustees, walked home and spent the rest of the day on the computer (right up to now, 9pm) getting a lot of work done – I have a few packages ready to post and am ready for a visit to our Ripple Retreat tomorrow.

So, that’s you up to date.  I have lots more to tell you but will save it for tomorrow.

Monday – catching up!

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Hope you didn’t miss me too much 😉

Missed a couple of days because website was being naughty as they sometimes can be and because once the day was done, so was I!

Someone asked me if I ever sit down and I do, often.  But I love being busy.  Monday’s privilege is being able to take my elderly parents shopping and for a coffee. They are funny to be with and fantastic for their ages and I know how lucky I am to still have them around.

I usually get home early afternoon but today we decided to go to Costco to check on a few items we need for our It’s Good 2 Give Ripple Retreat.  That was fine.  We saw them, we priced them, we noted them.  Then we spent a fortune on stuff for us – garlic and books and goodness knows what else.  That place is terrible to go to – always something you see that you must have. (she says, laughing).

Oh and it was my turn to cook dinner.  Sigh.  I used to love cooking but after I got sick and Ian took it on, I find I way prefer him being chef.  However he is just as busy as me and so it only seems fair to share the task.  (In fact, yesterday I wrote a two week plan for our meals and did the shopping for them too.  We have such a busy period ahead I felt it better to plan the meals than do the whole “what are we going to have for dinner” routine. You know it, don’t you? )  All of that means I have been on the computer for past three hours doing emails, writing request letters (saw ladders and fire extinguishers we need so I have written off asking if the companies might donate), and working on a fundraising plan.  That blooming plan should have taken me an hour to write but I keep tweaking it and changing it and have spent far too long on it now.

I am very pleased to have sorted out a great team of volunteers for the first event of the year that we are benefitting from – now just need to organise the prizes for said event.  If anyone ever suggests to you that fundraising is easy, send them my way and I shall tell them otherwise!  It is rewarding, wonderful, inspiring but also hard hard grafting.

Anyway, photos – here are some from the past few days – Ian getting the chair into the house that had just been delivered (for our Ripple Retreat), a book I bought to read as we have a Young Ambassadors workshop coming up on Mindfulness