Christmas Message to all

Posted by | Special supporters, trustees | No Comments

Although I have sent out dozens of Christmas cards there are many more people who I want to send Christmas greetings and Thanks to and this seems a nice way to do it!jingleBells

To our supporters (and that includes you)

Thank you.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your support this year – what an amazing year it has been. With your help we have raised over £300,000 – incredible and wonderful and will help us with our Retreat building.  The support has been varied – from schoolchildren doing the £1 pic challenge (post coming soon on that), cyclists taking on the Pedal 4 Paul bike ride, lots of events (even 2 Blingo events this year!) to 31 of us climbing up Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa.  I’ve spoken about the charity’s work and goals in schools, businesses, churches, cafes.

From being allowed to sit in(and being treated like family by Victor, Carina and their team) Centotre for hours on end working and sipping one or two coffees, to enjoying a curry lunch at Lothian Buses depot, to a fab bacon roll at Craigie’s Farm and great burgers at Hard Rock Cafe to our volunteers and cyclists being spoilt with fabulously fresh sandwiches made by Flavour – thanks to all our charity partners for their support of fundraising, donations both financial and prizes and awareness raising.

A special wee thanks here to all those who support us via social media – what a help you have been this year! Helping source prizes, sponsor events, even to having forms you can fill in online – all thanks to the power of social media friendships!

 To the families we have supported and still support

We know, from messages and feedback, that you do love our services and we hope that by providing them they have helped even a little bit with all you have been or are still going through – from organising the workshops, providing the snacks and parent packs, the ironing vouchers to sometimes being able to help with other requests and to saving up to build the Retreat.  We love the feedback you give us and and always consider it when planning future services.

To our volunteers

Quite simply, you are wonderful people.  Our Trustees and Patrons aren’t just figureheads – they roll up their sleeves and get mucked in.  We are so fortunate to have pro bono support from our Treasurer, Chartered Accountants, lawyers, property advisers, architect, landscape architect, IT support, and a lovely core team of volunteers who support us by being Champions – we have our Pedal 4 Paul Champions – Paul’s mum, Ruth and his godmother Aileen.  Our snacks Champion is Helen T – ever ready to shop and deliver to both wards. We’ve got Ann F who is an absolute treasure delivering and collecting and ironing and folding – no job is too tricky for our Ann. Wendy our newest Champion, taking on the Cookie Club role for 2014.  Our events wouldn’t be as pretty without Tia and Karen’s creativity and ideas – from table decorations to wrapping prizes – they have no equal!

Not forgetting our  wonderful Young Ambassadors – a group of young people  who volunteer their time, skills and ideas to raise funds and awareness.

Special mentions here for my husband and family -you are the best.   And for my admin crew – Susan, Marlyn, Vera and Shonagh – all going beyond the call of duty!

To our fellow small and local charities

How amazing are we all?  Competing with the big boys and girls of the charity world for donations and support isn’t easy but we do it.  We do it because we are so passionate about what we do, because actually we know the very people we set up to support. We do it because we can.  Because we all do make a difference.   So to The Teapot Trust,  Star for Harris,  Love Oliver,  Simba,  Calum’s Cabin,  CCLASP, TCCL, FACE,  St Columba’s Hospice (not so small but still local) I doff my cap at you and say let’s keep up the great work.


To families missing someone this Festive Season

There are a great many people thinking of you and that will include me and my family.  As we think of our own Andrew missing from our family gathering we will be thinking of you too and sending our thoughts your way.


To all of you

I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy 2014


Lynne McNicoll


 The future depends on what we do in the present.  Mahatma Ghandi

Kilimanjaro thank you’s

Posted by | Kilimanjaro | No Comments

We’ve had tremendous support from individuals and businesses.

Here are a few of our Thank You’s!

Stoat’s cereal bars – for healthy sustenance as we climb and for some of us who can’t eat porridge – our breakfast!

Jaffa Fruit – gave us ponchos for each of us.  Hope we don’t need them but they don’t take up much space.

Sunsense Factor 50 suncream – we will definitely be glad of that.

Lothian Buses – for our microfleece hats – practical and good looking and will give us a super team photo.

Templespa – Diane Harris donated lipbalm for each of us – another essential!

Centotre  – for the little packs of sweets to give us a wee treat at the end of each day’s trek and for my own logo’d up t-shirt!

Caledonian Clothing and Logo Embroidery Scotland – in particular thanks to Kirsty at CC and Sam at LES for their advice, support, patience and great prices!

JCB – for my tough phone – as well as being fantastic for this trip Ian will be able to use it later when we have our Retreat built.  I really appreciate it and it looks fab.


30th wedding anniversary gifts

Posted by | kindness | 2 Comments

You know how I like to be different.

I don’t want wedding anniversary gifts – or perhaps I should say WE don’t want wedding anniversary gifts!  Though, for sure, I think being happily married to your best mate for 30 years is worth celebrating.  My ways of celebrating are going to be very It’s Good 2 Give.

I want to benefit our charity.  Not necessarily financially (though as I have said before, if you want to write me a nice fat cheque I will accept!) but in ways that in the long run will benefit us financially.

Here’s the plan.  I have 30 small (actually in there are some not so small) gifts to give away.

What’s that I hear you say?  You want to know what some of them are?

Ok, then.

There you go then – a selection of what I plan to give away.

What do you have to do to ‘win’ something?    Easy, really.

Talk about us, tweet us, facebook us. Send us photos of you fundraising – or training for a physical challenge be it Kilimanjaro or Pedal for Paul or next year’s marathon.

Plenty of chances this week and weekend – anyone going to Blingo tomorrow night could post a photo or tweet it to be in with a chance or if you are on a training walk for Kili or a training cycle for Pedal for Paul.  Or perhaps you are zipping over the Clyde on Saturday (and oh how I hope you are after all the disappointments of previous dates for this gig!!).  Maybe you are part of Team Duns – taking part in the Jim Clark weekend and being with us in Duns main square with the It’s Good 2 Give house.  Then there is the ceilidh that three of the trekkers are hosting on Saturday night (tix still available – email if you want some).

Share our facebook page and our twitter feed and help us get numbers up.

I will choose ‘winners’ at random from photos submitted, new likers on Facebook, new followers on Twitter and from our regulars too.

Here’s the goal – to increase our twitter feed to 2000 followers and our Facebook followers to 1500 by end July.

You can help me do that.  And I will take great pleasure in giving away my little anniversary gifts to you.

Happy anniversary to us. (it’s not till July by the way so our little giveaway will go from now till end July – that’s 3 gifts a week I will give away)

It’s Good 2 Give Fashion Show

Posted by | Charity of the Year, Events, Special supporters | No Comments

What an amazing day Sunday was!

My day started at 6am as I worked on the last of the clipboards for all our volunteer team leaders.   I had been late home on Saturday from another event (in the borders) and had decided to check my emails.  Just as well I did as found out that two of the volunteers were pulling out at the last minute.  Their reasons were disappointing to say the least especially as they are Events Management students.  Hence needing to update the clipboards at 6am!

Packing the car up with all the stuff made me realise we could use a van nowadays for all our ‘stuff’!

We arrived at the school at 10am and were able to have the first hour unpacking and sorting our ‘rooms’ out.  All the boxes were marked with where they were to be put so that bit was relatively easy.   Our refreshment room was first to be set up – Ann and Helen did a great job looking after the models and volunteers. Val who owns Flavour catering and deli at Drumsheugh did us proud with 14 platters of sandwiches for the models and volunteers – they looked lovely and must have been good because there were none left by time show started!

Our 70 models started their day with us at the Charlie Miller hair salon in Stafford Street where they had their hair washed and styled.  It was organised with incredible care by Darlene, Charlie Miller’s PA.  12 stylists supervised by Karen, the Salon Director washed and styled and curled (and laughed and chatted and looked after amazingly well) our models.  Our gratitude to Charlie, Jason and Joshua and their team knows no bounds.  It was a lot to ask them to do and they did so with immense kindness and I really am so very grateful to them.

You can see photos from that part of the day here…

but here is my favourite photo!  (thanks to Jenny, their mum for permission to show you)

After their hair was done, our models made their way to the school (lesson learnt here was to consider putting on a minibus shuttle service between school and salon so that we would get all the models to the school quickly after hair appointment) and went straight into rehearsal.

From rehearsal it was to the make up studio set up by the Academy of Make Up Scotland – Sara Hill, their director,(and winner of UK make-up artist of the year 2012) had pulled out all the stops and brought a dozen make up artists from all  over Scotland to make up our models.  I got sorted too which was lovely including, thanks to some of my models’ insistence, some glittery eyeshadow.  I admit I was worried a 50something woman couldn’t do glitter on eyes but it looked fab.  There is much to be said for having your make up professionally done!

Some of the photos from behind the scenes can be viewed here.

And before you knew it our guests were arriving.

And the show was starting…..

Patron and good friend, Grant Stott did the introductions and I know him quite well now so I also knew he would be mentioning the Panto once or twice (oh Yes he did).   So I had made up a slide for the screens with all the info on the panto so that when he started to mention it Liam, the Centre’s Sound and Lighting Director, put my slide up.   It’s the small things that amuse me – it was great to see Grant’s face when it appeared on screen.

Grant then chatted to his three young co-hosts – Shannon, Laura and Iona.   All know what it is like to go through treatment for cancer and spoke eloquently about their journeys.

Grant also spoke with young Charlie Griffiths – he was our youngest member of Team Pedal for Paul cycling from Glasgow to Edinburgh in September.   What a great wee speaker he was too!   (and he got Grant to agree to cycle in our Team next year – well done, Charlie)

As the fashion show is also about raising awareness of the work we do, Grant chatted with 2 parents – Graham Lawson whose wife and daughter were modelling.   His daughter Tabitha is currently fighting cancer – she is doing well so far and looked gorgeous on the catwalk though it has to be said that mum Donella stole the show in her breathtaking red sequin dress!  The other parent was Elaine Whellans – her son Aaron also modelled again this year.  Elaine is one of our trekkers doing Kilimanjaro next year so Grant chatted to her about what we do and about her first big fundraising event which she held the night before.  Considering how hard she had worked organising her own event and attending it, she looked remarkably fresh on the catwalk!  I will tell you more about her event in a separate blog post.

Our young co-hosts introduced each set with immense aplomb and confidence (and a fair amount of humour too).  They really were incredible.

I said that our models and hosts would Sparkle and Shine on that catwalk and that is what they did.

Having the support of independent businesses in the east of Scotland is so important to me and I try very hard to give back lots of support.   These independent businesses bring their own unique style to our city and certainly to our show.

In no particular order I give you

Charlie Miller hairdressing

The Academy of Make up Scotland

The Tom Fleming Centre for Performing Arts

Hamilton & Inches

Simply Bridesmaids

Fifi Wilson

Sam Brown

Kakao by K

Pie in the Sky and Cookie

21st Century Kilts


Little World


Harley Davidson, Edinburgh

and businesses who supported us behind the scenes

Farquhar and Son, printers in Perth

Flavour catering

Zest Skin Solutions

Fishers Restaurants

Inside out Chef

Knockhill Racing circuit

MH Therapies

Kyle McPherson, PT

Curves gyms – Barnton and Stockbridge, Edinburgh

Dunedin Chapter, Harley Davidson


Centotre, 103 George Street, Edinburgh

Kleen Cleaners


During the show we were very lucky to have Olympian and former Mary Erskine pupil, Lynsey Sharp join us on stage.  She joined our tribute to the Olympics set.  ‘Hula hoops were us’.  Lynsey was a great sport (literally) and the children just loved meeting her.  We were also lucky enough to have an Olympic torch.  Bit of a story there too – our good friends at Calum’s Cabin, Caroline, Duncan and Jenna Spiers were the ones loaning it to us originally.  Sadly Jenna came down with a nasty bug the day before the show.   I only found out the morning of the show as my email had been playing up so I put out a tweet to see if anyone could loan us one at short notice.  Wonderfully I got offered two!  We were sorry that Jenna couldn’t be with us and wish her a speedy recovery and are very grateful to Lea Harris for loaning us her son’s torch.  It was quite something to hold an Olympic torch actually!

Our fashion show now wouldn’t be complete without the humour and gorgeous-ness that is Scott Hastings!   Scott gives up his Sunday afternoon to join us in our last set and this year was the ‘groom’ in our wedding set.   He is a lovely man and his humour, kindness and sense of fun is perfect for our catwalk.

Here’s a link to another photo album on flickr.

Finally, I have to say a huge thank you to the wonderful volunteers who came along and gave of their time to support our show – It was a massive show with many aspects to it and our volunteer team were superb.    You are very much appreciated!







Busy Busy Busy

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I don’t know where time goes sometimes.

I do love being busy but this week has taken the biscuit.  (And sadly, so have I.  keep me in the house too long and I start to nibble)

Anyway, it’s been a very productive week – planning started for Blingo 2013 and the Ball 2013.

Plans for fundraising for next 18months.  I’d kinda like to bring in £200k in that time and I think it’s do-able.

Ian and I are working on more detailed plans so perhaps that figure will be revised – watch this space.

I want to start an It’s Good 2 Give Choir so am working on that too but not as much as I would like.

Pedal 4 Paul is coming along nicely – 32 cyclists now signed up and we hope to get that figure to 50 by end next week – please consider joining us – £30 to register and then there is no min sponsorship – we will be delighted with whatever amount you can raise.

Dragon Boats race coming up in two weeks time – that’ll be fun.  Ocean Terminal here we come.  We have 2 boats and one boat has decided on its fancy dress – we are going to dress up as film characters.  And I am going as…….. suggestions on a postcard please.

Family barbecue at Craigie’s Farm  in August – looking forward to that too.   In fact using it as a guinea pig as selling tickets for it online at Brown Paper tickets.

The afternoon tea events are looking good too.  Sara is such a lovely speaker.

So you can see how the week has been flowing along – here is a wee photo of my flipchart – there is actually now a page 2!!

I’d like to end this post with  some photos from Monday though.  Quite my favourite day this week.

Ward 2 was holding a wee Jubilee party and asked if we’d provide some Jubilee food and party stuff – perfect – right up my street.  One of our volunteer team scooted off to get tiaras and headbands and I had the happy job of getting the food.

Red, white and blue everything!

My good friends and supporters at Centotre supplied a fabulous box of Jubilee cupcakes – photos show me picking them up and then delivering them to the ward.

Best bit of the day was when Eve, a very special little girl dealing with cancer for a second time, gave me a crown she had made.   It is fabulous – I wore it home – goodness knows what folk thought but I wore it with pride and it now sits in front of me on my desk and will for a very long time.

Lynne’s top twenty-ish christmas gift ideas

Posted by | christmas merchandise | No Comments

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 lilymosparkle@yahoo.co.uk

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!

Unsung donors

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The kindness and generosity of people always warms me.   In the next two weeks I will introduce you to a number of businesses and individuals who have donated and supported us with prizes for our Blingo event.

Today though I want to make some personal thank you’s –

A huge thank you to my friend and hairdresser Jacqui Findlay – she has an incredible challenge on her hands because I am a menace with my hair – never look after it properly and like to put knots in it!  Jac sorts me out every month and like many hairdressers is an amazing listener too.  And boy does she have plenty to listen to…….chatterbox McNicoll, that’s me.

Oh sure she likes to let me know I have grey hair – actually I think she told me there were a few WHITE hairs in there now too – (gee thanks Jac, I blame the fashion show – much as I love it and I do very very much it is a stressful event to organise!)

But here’s the reason for the mention – she won’t take a penny from me.  And takes me on her days off to sort me out – monday coming is a prime example.  A local magazine wants to do a photo of me for a wee article coming out next month and Jac just says pop in before you go and I will blowdry your hair.

So, I save up money I would have spent on hairdressing and put it in a savings account and twice a year will donate it to our charity.

Jacqui, you are a lovely lady and I thank you for ‘giving’ my hair a treat

Then there’s Val and her team at Flavour catering

In addition to sponsoring April’s nutritional snacks, Val and her team at Flavour (drumsheugh place) are always so welcoming when I go in and won’t let me pay for my cup of tea.  They put on fantastic spreads for our volunteers at events – sandwiches, crisps and fruit.  Val also helps source prizes and make introductions – oh and one day let me tell you the story of the boomerang bracelet……

Victor and Carina Contini,
at Centotre and The Scottish Cafe – always welcoming, always supportive – hosted events, let us have meetings at Centotre.  Just wonderful wonderful people.


This week the It’s Good 2 Give office had some serious issues with the printer and the new BT hub – as in it wouldn’t print.  From either computer.  To our rescue came Hugh Macfarlane.   Over a series of visits he has become the relationship adviser to the computers and printer and they are at last speaking to each other again!  He has also written us a Disaster Recovery Plan – not a document I ever considered but one I now understand is pretty important.

Many thanks to Hugh.