Cathy Cassidy

My Celebrity Daydream

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As many of you know, I’ve been getting treatment for breast cancer – last chemotherapy treatment was last Thursday (thank goodness – me and chemo really didn’t like each other), today I had a CT Scan in preparation for 3 weeks daily radiotherapy starting 23 July.  The past five months have been quite horrible and again and again I think of the kids and teens undergoing similar treatment, enduring similar and far worse side effects and knowing that some of them won’t make it and some who do make it have life long consequences.

I can’t cure cancer but I can, through it’s good 2 give, do something to make it a tiny bit better during treatment.

We hope to get building the Ripple Retreat very soon – inevitable delays but we are almost there!

I am busy working on a pledge book – you know, like buying a brick or roof tile except in our case it is pledging an item for the Retreat – like 4 mugs, the sofa, kitchen tools, plants for the garden.   Watch this space for news of that coming soon.

But as I was sitting getting last chemo I was daydreaming (anything to distract me from the stuff going into my vein) and wanted to share my mad wee day dream with you for fun.

So,picture the scene –

I am hosting a lunch and we are at the Retreat.  The food is cooked by   Ristorante Contini  and Cannonball House’s Suzanne, the Contini’s top chef and of course Victor and Carina are with us.


Organising the music is Grant Stott, of course, with help (because we would have vinyl as well as you know ipod stuff) Ian Rankin and maybe having a mini Zumba class would be Lorraine Kelly

Opening our bike track the one and only Sir Chris (yeah yeah it’s a teeny tiny bike track but hey it’s my daydream), Lynsey Sharp would organise a wee run, Sara Sheridan and Cathy Cassidy are in the library corner of the lounge sorting the books.  Dr Who is checking out the area for possible future episodes.

The tennis court is ready  and since it’s a daydream there is only one Scot who could possibly christen it and he shares a surname with me (well, my maiden name at any rate).  He brings his mum and bro along too of course.

Keeping an eye (in the nicest possible way) on the chef in the kitchen is our Ripple Retreat almost neighbour and celebrity chef Nick Nairn and he has brought his pal, Steven Jardine along. (he is also pals with Grant, Victor and Carina so it’s a jolly affair).

Sally Magnusson is popping by as (again, I say, this is my daydream so personal stuff is ok) I wrote to her when I started fundraising 10 years ago and she sent me a lovely letter with good wishes so I wanted her along to this lunch to see what it had all been about!

Live music is good too and out on the balcony taking it in turns to entertain – The Proclaimers, Red Hot Chilli Pipers (they might have to be down at the pier – they are quite loud), Eddi Reader, Paolo Nutini, Travis (I’ve actually met them and they were super nice)

We’d want a bit of a laugh too so Grant’s mates Andy and Allan would be there.

What do you think?  Sound like your kind of party?

Hey, I enjoyed it in my daydream…………

new note added 9 July – friends have commented and want to invite Ewan McGregor too!

and all will be transported there in our Lothian Bus!



10 ways to help It’s Good 2 Give this Christmas

Posted by | Charity of the Year, christmas merchandise | No Comments

In no particular order!

1.   Buy our fabulous Christmas cards – designed exclusively for us – by people we know and love – author and one of our Patrons, Cathy Cassidy, young cancer patient Tabby Lawson aged just 8, Kate Holliday of Sunlight on Closed Lids and award winning photographer Alexis Manson.  Printed in Scotland and packed right here in Edinburgh by our wonderful volunteers.  Amazing value at £4 for a pack of ten – Cathy and Kate’s cards and £3.50 for pack of ten of Alexis and Tabby’s cards


2.  Come along to our events – a few spaces left at all our events this year (close to sell out so don’t wait too long) or you can book a table at our 2014 Ball.  Join our mailing list to be kept up to date with all our news.


3.  Help us at our bagpacking or giftwrapping days – Saturday 21 December at Asda, Chesser Avenue and Sunday 22 December at M&S, Gyle – 2 hour shifts – email to add your name to the rota.


4.  Shopping online this Christmas?  Please consider doing it via Give as You Live – we get a donation at no cost to you – join here.


5.  Join our Christmas Cookie Club – a social baking experience mainly but also a wee fundraiser for us.  This is our first year and we hope to make it an annual experience.


6.  Join Team Pedal 4 Paul 2014 – our cycling challenge – late summer.


7.  Buy a voucher or products from The Make-up Studio, West Preston Street, Edinburgh and we receive 10% of all you spend. (quote Itsgood2give at time of purchase) -Chris is the only stockist in Scotland to have the Young Blood mineral make up range.  (we love it)


8. Buy a limited edition Hard Rock Cafe Lapel pin – with our logo and the iconic Forth Rail Bridge on it.  Every penny of the £8 price tag comes to us.


9. 2014 is the year of fitness for It’s Good 2 Give – register your interest in joining our ten week Pilates course (very limited availability -max 12 per course) with Iain Dunn starts mid February. cost £120.  Or you can register your interest in taking part in our Red Face Run – a 5km run/walk suitable for the whole family. Join our mailing list to be kept up to date with all our news


10.  For the jewellery lover – we have a beautiful hallmarked silver charm from Hamilton & Inches – perfect for a charm bracelet but also good (this is my way of wearing it) on a fine silver chain as a necklace.  £35 each and packaged in Hamilton & Inches signature purple boxes wrapped with ribbon.


I’m not going to add it on as number 11 but consider it a wee bonus suggestion!  We also have our Buy A Service option – do have a look here.  One of our supporters is buying three ironing vouchers as gifts for three of the mums who have children in treatment over Christmas.  Such a lovely and thoughtful idea.

Christmas cards 2013 – Meet the artists part 2

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Introducing you to our Patron and children’s author, Cathy Cassidy.

Cathy is also an illustrator and has designed these two gorgeous cards for us as part of our range of exclusive christmas cards for 2013.

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I have asked all our special Christmas card designers five questions so you get to know them a wee bit.

Here are Cathy’s answers.

Who is your best friend?
I have two! Helen is a deputy Head Teacher and lives in Coventry – we met on the first day of our teaching jobs; she was a physics teacher and I was an art teacher, and we bonded over hot chocolate fudge cake. Sheena is a silversmith and lives in France. I hate it that they are so far away, but they are the best friends ever.

What is your favourite  colour?
moss green

and your favourite smell?
Laura Mercier Almond Coconut milk Body Cream is the ‘posh’ answer. The not so posh answer… coconut, almond, vanilla, fresh strawberries… or woodsmoke!

Favourite pudding?
Homemade Banoffee pie!

Anything you would love?
A government that cares more about people than profit


Here is Cathy with one of our Young Ambassadors taken at an event at the Caledonian Hotel on Sunday 10 November.


Christmas Cards 2013

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As ever our cards have been designed exclusively for us, printed in Scotland and packed right here in Edinburgh!

Buy these and you can be sure that every penny profit goes to our projects.

Let me show you them…….

First up – stunning cards designed by our Patron and Childrens Author Cathy Cassidy.

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We have packed them 5 of the girl and  5 of the boy into packs of ten for you with white envelopes – these are size A5 and a pack of ten is £4

Next we have a card designed for us by professional card designer Kate Holliday of Sunlight on Closed Lids.












Size is 155mm square and a pack of ten is £4


Our little Robin card is a photograph by award winning photographer and long time supporter Alexis Manson.   (Watch this space for more greetings cards featuring Alexis’ photos) size is A6 and pack of ten is £3.50













and last but certainly not least a very special card featuring a picture drawn by 8 year old Tabby Lawson.  Tabby is year 3 of treatment for cancer and doing really well.  Looking at this card it is hard to believe an 8year old drew it and I love it.  Meet Tabby here.  size is A6 and pack of ten will cost you £3.50.









Our thanks to all those who have designed our cards over the years and especially this year.

We are very proud to have our cards printed right here in Scotland by Farquhar’s of Perth – it makes a real difference knowing the people who are involved in every stage of the process.  Andy is their driver and always has a smile and good chat when he delivers our printing.

Our volunteers who fold the cards, then pack and wrap and tag them are the salt of the earth as are all those who help us sell the cards at events, fairs, exhibitions.

We will have all the cards at our upcoming events and  can order them via me – payment will be by cheque, cash or BACS (internet banking) or by credit card (small surcharge applies).  We can post out and will charge post and packing at cost.

Two of the cards – Cathy’s cards and Kate’s cards are available online at the Lothian Buses webshop. 

Here is a wee photo of  the cards being delivered to Lynne by Andy from Farquhar’s printers in Perth.  Shop local!





Christmas Cards

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Three of our designs are ready for sale – two more still to go to printers.

From the start of selling Christmas cards we decided we would always have individual and exclusive designs.  Oh, and have them printed locally (Farquhars in Perth – superb service).  If that means they are a wee bit more expensive then so be it.

Our first card is by Alexis Manson, award winning local photographer – she has designed several cards for us now or donated her photos I should say.  Stunning they are too.

I love the look on this wee robin’s face.   Thank you, Alexis – it is so good to have your support.












The next two cards are special too – designed especially for us by one of our charity patrons – Cathy Cassidy.  Cathy is a renowned children’s author and illustrator and very generously made these two pictures for us – (the originals are going up for auction at one of our upcoming afternoon tea events if you are interested).

Given Cathy’s timetable it is a miracle she found time to do them and we thank her for them.   I love the little dog with his antlers!

We don’t yet have an online shop so the only way to buy is to get in touch!

please email your orders to us and we will send them out at end October.

The packs are of ten cards and are keenly priced at £4 per pack for Cathy’s cards (size is A5) and £3.50 for the Robin (size is A6).

Postage and packing will be at cost.  If you are Edinburgh based we may be able to deliver thus avoiding postage costs.

All our cards will be for sale at our events.


On the Buses

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What a fascinating day!

Invited to take a stand because we are Lothian Buses Charity of the Year I had no idea what to expect.

Loads of buses to look at – including a bus like the one I used to get to go to school – and I saw a ticket machine like the one the bus conductor would have on that bus.  Still with £, s and d (for you young uns reading that it is pounds, shillings and pennies as opposed to pounds and pence today).

I got my parents a wee pressie – a bus stop sign!  Just as well I bought it first thing as they sold out in minutes and folk asked us constantly all afternoon if we had any.  We had ours hidden away in case we got lynched!  Alison from Edinburgh Spotlight came along to help and thank goodness she did.  We were so busy.  Friend and supporter Fiona Kenny made us 250 bags tablet.  It was delicious (well, I can’t sell stuff I don’t know what it tastes like?  I HAD no choice but to do a taste test.  ) and sold like crazy.  we made at least £200 from sales of Fiona’s tablet.   LB staff gave us old posters to sell and they went fast too. I have brought a fair few home including one of our very own Grant Stott!

Ian and I had packed up lots of packs of our special Cathy Cassidy designed Christmas cards but it was too early to be selling them – we sold a few packs and folk loved them especially one lady who, it turned out, worked for Cathy till last year! Small world.

I didn’t have much time to wander around but I would go back – so much to see and do.  The Bus wash trip was popular as it is with our young cancer patients when we take them.  long queues for going on that.  facepainting that was exceptional, bus racing (little buses), goodness knows what else and the chance to get on buses, toot the horns (not so popular with me that one), sit in the drivers seat.  Fantastic.

The Lothian Buses staff make us so welcome – we feel very much part of the team now and they go the extra mile for us.  It was good to see a fair few of our cyclists from Team Pedal 4 Paul – fully recovered.

It’s all over now for this year but if you get the chance next year during Doors Open Day take it and go visit Lothian Buses central depot – you won’t be disappointed.  I’ll be back.

At our table alone we raised £500 and there will be more to come!

Cathy Cassidy Friendship Afternoon Tea Event

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What?: Cathy Cassidy Friendship Afternoon Tea Event

When?: Sunday 10 November 2013   1-4pm

Where?: Caledonian, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Princes Street, Edinburgh

How much?  £30 for adults and £15 for under 16’s

This event is going to be so good.

First of all, it is wonderful for us to have Patron Cathy Cassidy come up to Edinburgh to do this event with us.  We’ve had lots of discussion about the event with Cathy and our team and we think we have a simply fabulous afternoon lined up for you.

Between 1 and 2pm you can take part in our pre-afternoon tea area – we will have cupcake decorating, friendship bracelet making, christmas card making, teen make up, and a nail bar for any mums who come along! As we add more to this part of the event we will announce it here so do keep an eye out.

Then, from 2pm we move to the Castle Suite with its stunning views of Edinburgh Castle and enjoy the fine afternoon tea that the Caledonian Hotel provide.  Adults get a glass of something sparkling and full afternoon tea.  Under 16’s get a glass of something sparkling too but it’s a little bit different to the mums and a lovely afternoon tea especially devised for them today.

Cathy will first of all chat with one of our young Ambassadors, Shannon MacKenzie.  Shannon has battled cancer for a number of years and had a bone marrow transplant – I am glad to tell you she is now well and very excited about hosting this event.  As well as Shannon hosting the event, 3 of Cathy’s readers will have the chance to interview her for five to ten minutes asking questions of their own and those of other guests.

So, you can see there is a bit of informality and formality to the afternoon but above all there will be FUN.

Do join us if you can.

Email me to reserve your place at this event.

signing books for me!

signing books for me!


Cathy Cassidy

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Good news for us that our Patron, Cathy Cassidy, was up at the Edinburgh Book Festival this weekend as it meant I could catch an hour with her.  I also had my first visit to the Book Festival and came away laden with books from the bookshop.  I LOVE the Book Festival.  The atmosphere, the coffee, the authors – as well as being a confirmed Bus Spotter now, I am also a keen author spotter in August.  And I thoroughly enjoyed name dropping in the Bookshop – telling the guy selling me the books that I was friends with Cathy (Cassidy), Sara (Sheridan) and Nicola (Morgan).

I went to the book signing tent after Cathy’s event and it was an hour later before she finished signing books for her young fans.  She had a wee chat with each and every one of them and it was lovely to see their faces as they had their photo taken with their favourite author.

I wanted to show Cathy the Caledonian Hotel where we are hosting an event with her on 10 November so took her over for afternoon tea.  Co-trustee Susan joined us and we had a great chinwag and loved the afternoon tea provided.  We were even able to show Cathy the Castle Suite where we will hold the event.   It is going to be soooo good.  I will have an outline of the event by end of next week but there will be a wee competition too so that three of Cathy’s readers can be guest interviewers at the event.  What a great opportunity!

Wigtown Book Festival

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Popped down to Wigtown Book Festival yesterday – I love Wigtown – it is a beautiful little place with the friendliest of folk who make you very welcome.  And boy, can they put on a cracking book festival!

Wonderfully we got spoilt by being allowed to go for a cuppa in the writers retreat which was so nice.  We had been to listen to an author and were waiting to meet up with children’s author and It’s Good 2 Give Patron Cathy Cassidy.   In between though we met up with Heather Bestel – what a powerhouse of a woman – she is a tremendous supporter of ours – always helping spread our message and gives us the brilliant relaxation CD’s for parents.   (She gave us a box of them yesterday too so we are stocked up again). Heather has a Magical Me Time Challenge during October – 10 minutes each day just for you.  I highly recommend visiting her website to find out more!

We met up with Cathy just before she went into her event and outside a tepee which was so appropriate as Cathy loves teepees!   (I could also spell it tipi – so many choices for it!)

Heather and Cathy are very special friends for It’s Good 2 Give and it was such a treat to be able to meet up with them both – and Heather, thanks for the banoffi pie too. 

Lynne’s top twenty-ish christmas gift ideas

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It’s really 22 top christmas gift ideas because I am sneaking in

It’s Good 2 Give gifts –

how about making a small donation of just £1 or £2  for a message on our wishing tree – if you pay a wee bit extra we will even put it on our facebook page so you can share it with whoever you wrote it for!

or…..we have 2012 wall calendars with gorgeous photos of Scottish landscape scenes by Donald Ford – just £8 each or an insulated mug for these chilly mornings – £4 each.  Got a runner in the family?  Buy them one of our running vests – a great buy at only £12.

and if you like our events – how about buying a gift voucher for one of our afternoon tea events – £25 each and the recipient can choose from any of our 2012 afternoon tea dates once they are announced in January.  Email me if you’d like to buy one

Gift vouchers make splendid gifts – they are always welcomed and are easy to purchase (often possible to do online)

As you know, I love to promote local businesses  so, in no particular order, here goes-

1.   Hamilton & Inches, incredible jeweller in George Street.  Yes, they have utterly divine and expensive pieces of jewellery but they also have utterly divine and affordable silver jewellery – fantastic bracelets, earrings, charms, cufflinks.  And friendly, charming, wonderful staff.

2.   Renideo – what a wonderful gift to give or get – a voucher for time with Karen Finlayson a style coach who is, quite simply, fantastic and very interested in the self belief and self confidence of the person.

3.  Orocco Pier – great food and awesome views of the Forth Bridges

4.  Fifi Wilson – stunning clothes and accessories from this gorgeous boutique in the heart of Bruntsfield

5.  More gorgeous clothes – this time from Kakao by K inThistle Street

6.  All things kilt-y – and contemporary 21st century Kilts – just across the road from Kakao by K

7.  Food again – consider a voucher for one of the Fishers restaurants – Fishers, Fishers in the City or The Shore (my personal favourite is The Shore)

8.  Books your thing?  Consider a visit to the Edinburgh Bookshop at Bruntsfield – personal service and once you’ve been once or twice they will start to recommend books to suit you.  And if you need any recommendations for books – I thoroughly recommend Sara Sheridan‘s Secret of the Sands or The Secret Mandarin, Maggie O’Farrell’s The Hand that First held Mine and for younger readers any of Cathy Cassidy’s books.

9.  Bruntsfield again (well it is a fantastic shopping area) – if you like Stollen then you must visit Falko’s bakery – and why not have a coffee while you are there.

10Craigie’s Farm has a huge range of products for christmas dinner and more.   Who wouldn’t like to receive a hamper as a gift?   Plus there’s the cafe too!

11. Keen photographer?   I can highly recommend the Kolo range of albums available at 50% discount from me.  They are truly stunning albums – lots of different sizes and colours

12.  Personalised stationery – how decadent.  and luxurious.  And gorgeous.  And available from luxury online stationer Magenta Ink

13.  If  you have relatives visiting Scotland in 2012, Timberbush Tours has a huge range of tours they could go on and in luxurious style too.

14.  Maybe you need to get fit in 2012 (yes, I know that’s got to be top of my list with the Kilimanjaro trek coming up in 2013) – if you live north west edinburgh consider joining Curves Barnton gym.  if you live south east then consider contacting Pamela Stafford of Fitness Bodies and enlisting her help.

15.  We all love a bit of pampering so consider a voucher for a treatment at one of the Zest health and beauty salons – the treatment list is long and there is something for everyone, even teens.

16.  Talking of teens, how about a voucher for a meal at the Hard Rock Cafe in George Street, Edinburgh?

17.  More clothes talk – at the West End of Edinburgh we have two stores to highly recommend – Sam Brown in William Street and The Cupboard in Stafford Street.  AS well as amazing clothes the personal attention and service is second to none.

18.  Still at the West End, how about a voucher for a hair treatment -the fantastic Charlie Miller salon in Stafford Street though there are also salons at Ocean Terminal, Bruntsfield and South St David Street.

19.  What about stocking fillers?  Lily -Mo has a lovely range of bracelets and if you mention It’s Good 2 Give she will give a donation to us for each sale- she can be found on facebook or email her

20.  My ‘office in town’ and for me, the best coffee in town too.  (I’ve seen the hot chocolate and it looks sublime too) – Victor, Carina and their staff will make you feel like family.  Try Centotre in George Street and the Scottish Cafe at the Gallery on Princes Street.  Both well worth a visit.  You can buy a gift voucher for here too.  A pressie I would love.

21.  Last and certainly not least if you are in town around Frederick Street visit Dickson Reid hair and buy the lady in your life a voucher for a hair or beauty treatment or a set of GHD’s.  Super friendly and they are also promoting our Christmas Wishing Tree tags!