Craigie’s Farm

What We Do – Workshops

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Each month we organise a different workshop

Vera Stewart is our Workshops Champion and her remit is to come up with a varied calendar of workshops, promote them to families in treatment (and in the 2 years after treatment), deal with the venue and co-ordinate the events.

This year she has surpassed herself with some pretty amazing ideas. Thanks too must go to Brenda Duncan too for two fantastic ideas for workshops – a chocolate making workshop and the circus skills workshop.

We have also had arts and crafts and a sushi making workshop, build a bear, Benefit make up,

Pictures say a thousand words – have a look at our gallery of workshops. (these are only a small selection!)

Christmas Message to all

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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

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!

36 hours, 2 workshops, 1 lunch event, 1 shopping trip and a couple of blog posts

Posted by | Charity of the Year, Events, healthy snacks project, Workshops | No Comments

How is it Sunday evening already?

Feels just a moment ago it was Saturday morning and I was preparing to head out to our knitting workshop.  I wonder if there was something in the coffee I bought on the way that speeded up the hours.

Kerry from Knitting for All is a super teacher and even if you think knitting isn’t your thing I urge you to give it a go.  Relaxing, creative and very therapeutic I thoroughly recommend it.  I started as a sceptic – no way was I going to give it a go but we were low on numbers and I felt I should at least try -couldn’t just sit watching them or make coffee or check the phone.  So I made a set of knitting needles.  Then learnt to knit plain.  Made a wee square.  Very neat it was too.

Swiftly moved onto knitting a scarf – I am not happy with it now and plan to unravel it and do it all again. Better.

But yesterday was a day for finishing my tea cosy!  Here is the end result.  Mock me at your peril.  I love it.

Lynne's first tea cosy


Kerry is going to design a tea cosy in our charity colours now with the logo on it too – I can see a lovely winter of knitting ahead.   Oh and I think we can also make some nice hats for Kilimanjaro too!!

I had to dash from the workshop to a Ladies lunch I was speaking at – and hosting a table at – at Le Monde in George Street, Edinburgh.   I know everyone says how impossible George street is now that all busses are rerouted there for the next almost year but we found a really nice traffic warden who let us stop to unload my load of christmas cards and jewellery.  It was in the middle of the road parking bays but one for permit holders.  I was only 2 minutes and my plan only came almost unstuck when I got to the entrance to Le Monde’s nightclub.  The stairs are steep and curved and I had no idea how I was going to manage the granny bag (wheeled trolley) and the suit bag and two other huge bags I had.  To my rescue came two american tourists who offered to look after one or two bags while I took others down in relays.  When I thanked them they said that someone had helped them yesterday at Waverley station and they were happy to pass it on.  Since September is my month of kindness this small act from them meant a great deal to me.

much laughter at Tracey's banter

who's showing who how to make cocktails??

The lunch was superb – Tracey, one of the organising team (rest are Karen G, Karen M and Hazel) was a superb and funny MC.    She had written a wee poem and at the end introduced me – bit of a hard act to follow actually.  There was a cocktail masterclass after the lunch – great entertainment.  Then, well to be honest with 100 women it was just an afternoon of great chat.  Noise level was tremendous.

This morning it was an early start for me and Hannah (co-trustee) as we headed off to Craigie’s Farm at Dalmeny.  We are charity of the year there and John and his wife Kirsteen look after us so well.   Today was a jam making workshop with a difference.   Suitable for all ages as the jam is made in  the freezer!

a wee refreshment before we start picking the berries

John took us for a tractor and trailer ride to the strawberries to pick them – he put 4 year old Victoria in charge of us in the trailer – telling her she had to make sure no one stood up while the tractor was moving.  Oh my, did she take this to heart!  She is quite a character is Victoria.  After picking the strawberries we headed to Kirsteen’s domain – the kitchen.  Hands washed, aprons on, the youngsters amongst us got chopping, mashing, adding sugar and squeezing lemon juice, stirring and pouring.   Voila, jam in the pots.  But wait…….it’s fairy pink.  Looks way too weird to turn into jam.  It feels a bit like when I was little and saw my first washing machine – I sat and watched my clothes going round and round for hours.  I feel that way with this jam.  I keep checking it to see if it’s changed colour yet.   Six hours have passed and it is still fairy pink.  In 18 hours time it has to go into the freezer for at least 3 days.  I shall keep you updated in case you are as intrigued as me.

John showing Victoria what kind of berries to pick

Sammi pouring the jam into tubs

wonderful scottish strawberries

So, from Craigie’s straight to that store that’s always telling us that ‘Every little helps’ to shop for this week’s healthy snacks delivery.  I have changed the delivery day to a Monday so now must shop each Sunday afternoon.  I am not sure of the wisdom of this as I like to spend my Sundays doing admin, reading the papers and defo staying home.   We will give it a few weeks to see how it goes – I think it’s better for the ward to get the snacks each Monday morning and they are who matters.   I had help from a good friend and mum to a young cancer patient.   Laura, the daughter, is having a rotten time just now – nearing the end of treatment she has had her fair share of staying in the ward.  Anyway, Sue helped me choose what to put in this week – lovely fruit pots, strawberry mousses, little cheese portions, nice biscuits and delicious juices.

Dropped Sue off at her house, back to mine and I don’t mind telling you that before I could download the photos from the weekend and write this blog I was sound asleep in a chair!

Much refreshed now, I am off to plan the week ahead and write up my beloved To Do lists.



Posted by | Workshops | No Comments

Egged on by one of our young supporters I started the process of learning another new skill at the weekend!    Knitting – who’d have thought it.  No one that knows me, that’s for sure.

I had first seen Knitting for all at Craigie’s Farm open weekend and asked Kerry if she would do a workshop for our young cancer patients, siblings and parents.  She was delighted to do it and our first day of six was on saturday.  We made, yes made our own knitting needles and the felt decoration on the end of the needle.  I tell you there was no need for the gym  – our arms got a right workout sanding the needles down.  I had no idea that you made felt with wool and washing up liquid…..

So, as some of our other participants are a wee bit shy, it is my small piece of knitting that I display to you now.  Proudly.  I reckon I can make a scarf for me to wear when doing the Kilimanjaro trek – maybe even one for every participant!! (Oh, might that put them off?)

Next day, at our Kiss the Fish craft workshop our participants made a real variety of things – 4 year old Victoria made a very beautiful painted t shirt and gym bag and loved every minute of it.  She told all of us she loved us!   Iona decopatched a giraffe and her sister Lauren made a beautiful photo frame.  Ellie, who is a bit camera shy, made a very elegant mask and will wear it at our fashion show in November while her cousin Tracey decopatched a hippo.  Rhona, who owns Kiss the Fish, looks after us so well and I thoroughly recommend organising a children’s event or party there – much fun had by all!


Craigie’s Farm Family Fun Weekend

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Our newest charity partner, Craigie’s Farm, hosted a family fun weekend – and the sun even came out a little bit!   What  a great place to visit – something for everyone and a lovely cafe too.

Charity of the Year at Craigies Farm

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Fantastic news today – we have been chosen as Charity of the Year at the wonderful Craigie’s Farm.

Several of our supporters had been in touch with me a couple of months ago to apply (I am a regular there but hadn’t seen the information about applying!) and this morning John Sinclair called to give me the great news.

Thank you to all those supporters who passed on the information and thank you very much to John Sinclair at Craigie’s – we are DELIGHTED to be your Charity of the Year.