craigies farm shop and cafe

Busier than a bee

Posted by | Charity of the Year, Events, kindness | No Comments

The weekend starts here!

Or I should say, the weekend started here.

Here being Greenbank Church.  Chosen as one of two charities that the Greenbank WAGS are supporting in 2013, this was the second event they had organised for us.  First had been a coffee morning earlier this year. I knew that this event was a quiz night but didn’t know much else.

The hall looked lovely on friday night with the summer evening sun coming in the roof windows and the tables all decorated.  The WAGS (that’s women at Greenbank by the way!) were busy doing final prep.  I love helping so I gave a hand pouring the prosecco.  And then I found out that the plan for the night was that each table brought their own food and drink.  What a variety of food there was!  A fabulous buffet with a ring of prawns, a chinese carryout, italian buffet, and a pizza medley table. (I sat with them for an hour and the pizzas looked superb). Much as I would have loved to stay I had to get home around 9pm to prep for the events over the weekend so I stayed for round one of the quiz.  Oh boy was it hard!  It was about WAGS (this time as in  wives and girlfriends) and who they are married to.  Err, my problem was who were they never mind who they might be married to!

Carrie, Chief WAG, popped into see me on Saturday with some beautiful flowers – gorgeous Sweet Williams that still look stunning in my kitchen. It was so kind of her. I hope I can go back to another of their events – they are a really interesting and lovely group of women.  And almost my neighbours.

Chief WAG Carrie

Chief WAG Carrie

Folk beginning to come in

Folk beginning to come in

The gorgeous Sweet Williams I was given

The gorgeous Sweet Williams I was given

Aren't they gorgeous?

Aren’t they gorgeous?












So, now it’s Saturday morning and we are off to our Lego workshop. (and Co-Trustee Susan is off to Craigie’s Farm for first day of their Open Weekend,  trekker Aileen is off to Marks and Spencer, Princes Street, to do a day’s bagpacking with her team, trekker Fiona is off to Newtongrange Gala Day to sell home baking at her stall).  It was our busiest workshop yet and was fantastic.  The wonderful staff at the HIlton Hotel, Edinburgh Airport looked after us so well as usual. Our lovely supporters had provided most of the Lego kits and children and parents alike enjoyed putting them together.  Refreshments included a box of Krispy Kreme donuts (bought early enough in the morning by Vera to avoid the queues!


IMG_7776IMG_7786 IMG_7783 IMG_7776 IMG_7775 IMG_7772 IMG_7771 IMG_7768





my old school - JGHS - hall with a cafe set up and slides showing.


Here comes a wee bit personal stuff – I had to fit in some Kili training – Ian and I had swum Saturday morning for half an hour but I wanted to do more so I walked to my next appointment – just 2 miles but it felt good.  I walked to my old school, James Gillespie’s High School.  It seems like an eternity since I was there and it kind of is – almost 40 years since I left!!!   My oldest (as in known the longest) friend was there – as well as going to secondary school together we went to primary school together.  My mum and dad came along to see round the old school.  Imagine a school only 40 or so years old being torn down.  Ridiculous.   So it is.   As I mentioned it on twitter and facebook it turns out that a fair few folk I know there had also gone to JGHS.  Such a small world.  Our Patron, Grant Stott, also went there but obviously much later than me!  I must go into the attic and see if I still have my hat.  Jings, that was one ugly hat.



Feet up saturday night to watch Britain’s Got Talent, to think that every single act had oodles of talent and courage to get onto that stage  – didn’t agree with the winner but hey that’s the way the cookie crumbles sometimes.

Sunday morning it was my turn to take my shift at Craigie’s Farm.  However if you remember it was a lovely day on Saturday – roasting hot.  I was looking forward to being outside at Craigie’s.  Ha ha.  What did I get?  Clouds, wind and chill. Well at least till lunchtime.  I was frozen!!  We were situated near the front door so actually got to chat to dozens of folk as they went into the shop cafe.  Goodness me, was that shop and cafe mobbed all day.  I don’t know how they managed.  John, Kirsteen and Anne do a tremendous job and are always so welcoming and they are so thoughtful – checking on us often to see that we were ok too. I think, I hope we recruited a fair few cyclists to our Pedal 4 Paul team and quite a number of folk showed immense interest in our family afternoon tea event at the Caledonian too.

Knitted gardener Sammi, Donella and Susie Sonni smiling Donella, Tabby and Graham LawsonThere to help me in the morning was co-Trustee Marlyn and in the afternoon I was joined by newest trustee Donella and her daughter Tabby (still in treatment but doing great thank goodness). Later Donella’s husband Graham came along too and did a great job chatting up new potential Pedal 4 Paul cyclists.





IMG_1404 IMG_1412 the view from behind the ski slopeHome by 430pm I managed another personal training walk – Ian and I decided to give the lower bits of the Pentlands a go.  We parked in Swanston village car park and walked up through the fields filled with highland cattle – who were almost tame, up behind the T woods and then up behind Hillend Ski Centre and down to the Steading for a pint.  Back along the bridle path I think to the car.  Only 3 miles but it was my first proper ‘hill’ and I was out of breath but well chuffed to manage it.  We had a moment of immense unbelievable catch your breath sadness as we were walking up a narrow path – a mountain cyclist cycled past us saying hi as he went past.  Crumbs, we both could hardly speak.  Just made us think how much Andrew liked doing just that – cycling the pentland hill paths. And now he never can again. Just awful.

Anyhow I did the walk and feel so much better for it too.




This morning (monday ) I did a pitch to a company about the charity and think I did ok.  Time will tell.  Then scooted to the Gyle to meet Catherine, one of our supporters and a new friend of mine – I was sharing ideas with her and we had a great brainstorming session over a cappuccino – we came up with some brilliant ideas.  Came home briefly and then scooted off to meet Clare from Lothian Buses (and colleagues of us both) at Edinburgh Academy.  We were there to discuss a great physical challenge coming up so bear with us while we work on them!

Earlier this evening I was handing out Pedal4Paul flyers (if you can take some to your work please get in touch).  Then had a meeting about (wait for this, it’s hilarious) a breakfast we are helping at – saturday 22 june we are getting up at 330am to be cooking bacon rolls and putting out the muesli and yogurt for the returning cyclists from a night bike ride!  How cool is that?  I will talk more about this on our Andrew Cyclist website.

And that brings me to now.  Which is 11pm monday night and definitely definitely time for bed.

So I bid you a good night!


Trekkers Ceilidh

Posted by | Events, Kilimanjaro | No Comments

Last night at the Young Farmers Centre at Ingliston, a crowd of over 250 danced their way to the tunes of band, Callanish – great ceilidh tunes (and help with instructions for the ceilidh dances too).

Organised by Anne Baird and her sister Catherine Barr and another of the Kilimanjaro trekkers, Mary Porteous – this event got off to a roaring start.  My pal Janette and I were in charge of the raffle and goodness me the guests were generous chucking money in our buckets.  I think the raffle raised close to £1000.  the prizes were superb and you can see some of them below. Once again, lightweight that I am, I had to leave at 11pm – Blingo on Thursday  was so late that I really cannot do that too many nights in a row. Food was supplied by one of these firms who do hog roast rolls – there was a huge choice and chips!  There was always a queue for the rolls……

Well done also to Jenny Campbell and family for staffing the bar – great job, guys

I am so proud of my trekkers – doing so well with their fundraising.

Our 2013 Ball

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As much as we (the Ball organising committee) love organising the Ball our real pleasure lies in being at it!G2G_8152 G2G_8326

Saturday was a hive of activity as my wrapping gurus Tia and Karen G wrapped prizes and vouchers and made them look stunning. New volunteer Jayne proved her worth instantly by being a superb PA for me!  Learning from last year we had job descriptions for the different volunteer roles and put them up on our flipchart with a timetable for the day and evening.  it worked a treat – we all just went about our various tasks quietly – well we did have Karen G’s ipod to keep us going with some music.  Blair, the hotel’s Events Manager for the event was with us all day and looked after us so well – tea/coffee and biccies.  The biccies weren’t so welcome to those of us wearing ballgowns later though!!

The flowers arrived early afternoon and we were all so delighted with them – they were burgundy orchids – almost the colour of our logo, in tall vases. John at Bloemen Ecke did us proud.

As did another John – John Sinclair at Craigie’s Farm and his team put together an amazing cheeseboard for us.  Well, I say cheeseboard but of course I mean 34 cheeseboards – one for each of our tables.  4 scottish cheeses, Craigie’s own chutney and lots of oatcakes and crackers(not forgetting the physalis for decoration!) on each plate.  Cheeses from Dunlop dairy, Connage and Barwheys, biscuits from the Cress company and from Nairns.  They were absolutely fabulous and well received by all our guests.

Guests were welcomed at the main hotel entrance by a piper from Erskine Stewart’s Melville School and then handed a glass of prosecco once in the main reception area – the reception drinks were sponsored by David and Susan Stewart.  Susan is one of our Trustees and works tirelessly for our charity.  She prefers to stay in the background though and I would shout about her more if she let me!  We are a good double act!

Our guests first bit of entertainment was supplied by the amazing children of the ESMS Junior School.  Their Show Choir (with children as young as 10) was quite frankly, incredible.  I was astounded to see their lead singer (changed for each song) quite comfortable about walking amongst the guests singing.  I can remember, aged 11, being told I was to make a speech at school and nearly being sick.  Come to think of it, when I started fundraising 7 years ago I remember feeling sick before speaking at events!  To be as confident as those children were will be such an asset to them in adulthood.

If you’d like to see them in action here are links to their Youtube clips

We had a surprise for our guests with the first ever appearance by the school’s flash dancers.  Dancing to a Pixie Lott song this dance group wowed our audience.  Two of the boys in the group were nine years old.

I really love being able to show what young people can do and to encourage them to ‘give’.  The Junior School choir and dancers should be very proud of their part in our event.

I am talking too much now, aren’t I??

Ok, I will fast forward the rest of the eveningG2G_8206  G2G_8413

Grant Stott is the best.  That’s all.









Our prizes were fantastic and I,with a heart full of gratitude, say thanks to each and every donor of a prize.G2G_8306

Our guests were fabulous too and generous and I thank them too for such wonderful support of our cause.

The ball committee and our team of volunteers on the day – couldn’t do it without you.

meet a few of them here







So, you want to know the financial result of the evening?

Our best ever.  A very very nice £33,350

What a great start to our Double our Money Year.

Photographs on this page courtesy of Scottish Events Photography

If you would like to see a short film of the event go to our Vimeo channel  -it’s just 2and a half minutes long but fantastic.  Thanks to Angie and Alex from Baobab films for making it for us.

We made it to the pages of No 1 Magazine again and you can see the photos in the issue out today (Saturday 23 March)  and here online.




Fabulous, amazing, wonderful Friday

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

Well, it was!  A quite amazing fantastic day

Our first event was at Craigie’s Farm shop and Cafe.  We are charity of the Year there and they have done us proud.  Got us superb cheeseboards for our Ball in March, run for us, cycled for us, modelled for us and then on friday organised a superb event to raise funds for us.

It was so good.

Guests loved it.   The food was just as you would expect – from puddledub honey roast ham, summer isles smoked salmon and cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches to mini scones with clotted cream and Craigie’s own jam to shortbread and cream with Craigie’s rasps.   You had a choice of six teas including a delicious sounding chocolate flake tea!

(though Tung Ting Oolong Tea sounds gorgeous too)

Anne Baird, the Cafe manager had also organised a wee game too – The Price is Right and it was such fun – we shall be doing it at our Mums and Daughters afternoon tea events too.  Anne also knew that one of our guests needed gluten free food and made a special afternoon tea just for them.  The solo scone in the photos below is a very special gluten free scone and apparently tasted just fantastic.

I’d like to take this chance to say a huge thank you to John and Kirsteen Sinclair who own Craigie ‘s and to Anne and her team for their tremendous and very much appreciated support of our charity.   If you haven’t yet visited Craigie’s I can hardly recommend it highly enough.  John, Kirsteen, Anne and all the staff make you feel very welcome – go soon!

Wait till you hear how much they have raised for us!    over £2250 on Friday alone!!

Just fantastic.

Here are some photos to enjoy.   It only scratches the surface of the atmosphere and banter during the afternoon.

And I have a list of wonderful people who contributed to the event either financially or in kind.   What would we do without you all?  Not as well.

Thank you so very much

S Mitchell butcher Bonaly dairy
Wicked Chocolates Knops Beer
Spencerfield Drinks co Lilly’s Kitchen Dog food
Simple Simon Pies Glencarse Food Co
Caledonian Clothing Oliphants Bakery
Stuart Lowson Fishmonger Cairn o Mohr wine co
Stewart Brewing Jonathan Winchester Mystery Shopper
Ruthies Scones Pat Rambout Cards and pictures
3663 Wendy Barrie Food Writer
Isla Hall florist Findlaters Foods
Scotland Food and Drink Ally Bally Bee
Hideaway Experience Canny Cook
TJ Ross Timber Craftsman
Lady Rosebery
RCS George Henderson Ltd
Standhill Cheese Co Tayforth Machinery Ring
GM Supplies Cleaning Chemicals
Brodie Label Services
Country Puddings
Clarks Fine Foods
Bairds Eggs
Your Piece Baking co The Cress Company
Wilson of Polmont


Afternoon Tea and Fizz at the Farm

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What?   Afternoon tea and Fizz at the Farm

Where?  Craigies Farm Shop and Cafe, Dalmeny, South Queensferry

When?  Friday 5 October 2012 3-5pm

Cost?   £20 per person includes afternoon tea and a glass of prosecco

How to get tickets?   Tickets are available from Craigies directly or you can email us for your ticket.   You can pay by credit card if in person or over the phone.

This is going to be  a lovely afternoon tea event.   Sampling the lovely food from the shop and cafe with a wee glass of prosecco to wash it all down.

We might even manage a wee game of The Price is Right with a great prize for the winner.

Wonderful raffle prizes up for grabs too.   Craigies and It’s Good 2 Give are most grateful to all who have donated the prizes.  (and I, for one, wish I could buy a ticket)

Map on how to get to Craigies is here.

Edinburgh Cake ladies event

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What’s not to like?

Some blethering (aka networking), a great cup of tea and tasting cake!

The Edinburgh Cake Ladies are a growing group of mainly but not exclusively women who share a love of – go on, guess – yep, you are right. Cakes.

When I was invited along to this Edinburgh Cake Ladies event I wanted to contribute (I had been to one other event and had merely spectated – and eaten). This time I wanted to bake something.

I am a good baker.   Ask friends and family.  They will all say the same  but when the day arrived for the event I became all of a flutter.  I made the cake I always planned.  It looked fine.  But then I started to worry  – what if it wasn’t?  So I made a victoria sponge cake.   Was that enough?  Oh no, I had to go and make a lemon cake too.  I was also baking for my parents so that was how I rationalised it.  However it was quite one of the busiest weeks I have ever had and I could have done without all this baking!

Those darned nerves.

On my way to Craigie’s Farm laden down by now with three cakes, a mixer (I wanted to whip cream to serve with well any of the cakes) a plate stand,  I was left wondering at this spate of baking nerves.

I arrived to find one of the big tables at Craigie’s laden with quite the most fabulous cakes I have ever seen.  I wanted to run away with mine.  To pretend I had  had to do an emergency stop en route and it had been destroyed.  Honestly, these were wonderful cakes.

I put mine out, sprinkled it with icing sugar and raspberries, whipped up cream to eat it with.  It looked not too bad.

Kirsteen made me a cup of tea and we set to tasting and talking.  I tasted my own first such was my lack of confidence!!   Again, in my head I planned to conjure up an imaginary farm dog or goat or John (John and Kirsteen own the wonderful Craigie’s Farm shop and cafe) if it didn’t come up to scratch.  I was pleasantly surprised.  It tasted good.

I reckon we’d all be in agreement about the cakes.  A wide range of cakes to suit all tastes.   We even got to take some home.

My dad was waiting up for me so I popped to see my mum and dad on the way home with his box of much anticipated cakes.  My dad loves cake.  He was very pleased with my box of goodies (and don’t forget reader he also got a huge victoria sponge cake and lemon cake!!).

The Edinburgh Cake Ladies are superb supporters of It’s Good 2 Give – they have already taken over 40 spaces at our Christmas Afternoon Tea at the Caledonian Hotel in December.  (Note to chef in charge of cakes for the day – no pressure, mate!)

Thanks to the ECL for so kindly supporting us and for allowing me to come along and share the event.  Superb!

A taste of my week gone by

Posted by | Events, General, patrons, Rotary clubs | No Comments

A selection of photos from this week!

The cake is one we  had made for a mum on the ward, lots of photos from the simply fantastic Dragon Boats Race – The Givers, Laura’s Dragon and Team Crewsaders all raised funds for It’s Good 2 Give and had a brilliant time in the water even though the weather was dismal.

I put Donald in as he is such a great supporter and a good laugh (and don’t we all need that?) and I helped him set up his online giving page which then took off with donations.

The photos (not very good but we just got a quick peek as the room was in use) of the furniture are in the study room in ward 2 at the Sick Kids.  We bought them and the tables.  It was nice to work with the Sick Kids Foundation on this – they did the cupboards and decorating and we bought the furniture.   Looks so much better than it used to!

The chocolate brick tasted delicious and was the result of me (personally) making a donation to 2 fabulous women taking their business to the next level and crowdfunding – I am now a founder of Nucoco chocolate and will forever get 10% discount (and let’s face who doesn’t want discount on great chocolate?).  Went to their launch and met them and many other lovely folk – more twitter folk and facebook folk – and new friend of It’s Good 2 Give Hazel who is going to spread the word amongst her friends about our upcoming and still quite secret Biggest Ever Blingo event.

it really has been quite a week – very busy professionally and a bit worrying personally as we had a bit of a hospital scare again this week with a member of the family.  All is well now I hope.

And so, onto next week – tons happening.  It is so amazing.

Quick rundown for you

I am speaking to Hard Rock Cafe Edinburgh‘s new Charity Ambassadors tomorrow, then meeting a guy from the BBC later.   Tuesday bright and early Susan and I are heading to Eyemouth to speak at a school.  This school has raised over £1000 for one of our trekkers so well done them.  Taking Ellie with us to that one.  later that evening I am a judge at Queensferry High School at an event there.  Wednesday I have to bake in the afternoon as am at the Edinburgh Cake Ladies summer event at our special friends the Craigie’s Farmshop and Cafe in the evening.

There is more but I will share it all later in the week with some more photos!