Overwhelmed, achy and ticking it off…

My friend Sarah & myself - a.k.a. TEAM BOUNCE

My friend Sarah & myself – a.k.a. TEAM BOUNCE

Back in the day, my friends used to joke that I was like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. I was excitable and quite often couldn’t keep still and liked to jump up and down a lot. Even when I was doing my shopping, I like to take a running leap with the trolley in the supermarket car park.

As a kid from the 80s, spacehoppers featured in my childhood. I can’t remember if I actually had one of my own, but I certainly remember playing on them at nursery, playscheme and on paved gardens. For years, I wanted to do a sponsored spacehop for charity but I didn’t want to do it alone – and whenever I mentioned it people would laugh and think it was so hilarious and that I must be kidding.

After all, people do long cycles and run marathons for charity. Sponsored walks. Bake Sales. Skydives. You know those normal charity fundraising things…

Finally this year, I managed to convince my friend Sarah that this was a GREAT idea, and that we should totally do it. While I had her enthusiasm I ordered us both spacehoppers right there and then on our office computer.

spacehoppers

I worried that maybe people wouldn’t donate because it was a bit too silly. We very quickly discovered that it was actually kinda tough get anywhere on a spacehopper. Our first practice session left us bruised and blistered. And wow did our abs get a workout! We realised that we had to lower our distance goal – and hoped that people would realise that despite the fact the distance we would bounce would be walkable in about 5 minutes, it was frickin’ tough to bounce it!

Spacehop practice

Some of my friends came down to our practice session, and my friend Chris took a ton of pictures. That totally helped I think with our sponsors because people thought we looked ridiculous (we did, but it was fun).

Yesterday, we completed our spacehop. I’m not sure what distance we covered or how long it took (it was under an hour). I just know that at the end, I was laid out on the tarmac bright red, tired and in pain! Thankfully, there was a mint choc chip ice cream cone to cool me down at the end to aid my recovery. :)

spacehop day

And I know that today I’ve having trouble sitting down in seats and getting up and down stairs and slopes.

But to see that my £500 fundraising target has been met (with a little extra) makes all that pain and people laughing at us worth it. Thankfully there were lots of friends and my Mum to laugh WITH us while we did it. I feel totally overwhelmed by the generosity of so many who supported Sarah and I in this mad (yet simple) venture. The best part is that not only did we raise money for a charity that really needs it and helps many people, the smiles on faces we brought to people on Cramond Beach as we bounced along was a little bit of a bonus. Another bonus is how loved and supported I felt because I couldn’t believe how many friends donated (and how much they donated!) and how many came down to give us moral support – or tweeted good luck messages. Even my friend’s niece did a little spacehop of her own in the garden to show her support! :) I don’t know if my friends realise how much that encouragement means.

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So now I can cross it off my bucket list. Do a sponsored spacehop to raise money for charity.

GOAL ACHIEVED!

Thank you everyone who helped me achieve it. You know who you are… ;)

Quote of the Week – Week 27 goes BOUNCE!

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I remember when I got baptised, someone gave me a quote that was similar to this one. I won’t say I totally agree with Ida, because I think grief is ok and an important thing. However, the sentiment I think is true.

We can get ourselves stuck in who we once were, or who we might not end up being. So much so that we forget to live. We miss the blessings that ARE around us now. And importantly the blessing we can be.

You know, I got really down at the fact all my friends were running 10k races and marathons for charity. I’m just not sporty at all, I’m really unfit and years of dance training has taken it’s toll on my body. I have a dodgy knee, a squint back, mangled feet…

But I’ve always, always loved to jump, bounce, dance and have fun.

For years, I’ve wanted to get an adult sized spacehopper and do a spacehop for charity. Everyone I suggested this to looked at me and laughed thinking I was off my rocker. And then I noticed a bunch of high school kids had done a sponsored spacehop across the Forth Road Bridge for Love Oliver. Ok so they are teenagers, and I’m well…not. But if they could, I could do it, right?

This year, I finally found a friend mad enough to do it with me. And so I purchased us some spacehoppers, and once we got back from trips away, we took them out….

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…What was it I said about being able to do this? For sure, our practice session could have gone better. We were blistered, bruise and the next few days brought some pain as our bodies screamed at us. But I cannot say we haven’t had fun so far. And we brought a lot of amusement to the passers by on this fine Saturday afternoon down at Cramond Beach…

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…even dogs were coming to ask us what we were up to. And a lot of kids looked on curiously, pointing at us and questioning their parents and grandparents! If nothing else, we brought smiles to people’s faces. And that was before we were raising any money!

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Of course, we’re doing this to raise money for a charity that is near and dear to our hearts. Our target is raise £1000 of much needed money to keep this charity running and providing free and confidential support to people in our region. You can find our team fundraising page here.

And on Saturday 13th July you’ll find us bouncing past this gloomy fish.

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We reckon he’s just sad he can’t go boing like us.

What are you doing to live in the present and to make life worth remembering?

All photos taken by my very talented friend, © Chris Jackson. Just sayin’! ;)

Summer Recipes

My blog readers have been awesome in helping my charity raise funds by producing recipe booklets! We started with the Chocolate Recipe book, and then last Christmas we had the Winter Recipe book. (I had to doctor the cover as I can’t name the charity I work for on my blog…!!)

This time (while it’s summer) I’m looking for your Summer recipes! It could be drinks, snacks, mains, desserts…

It is helpful if you have measurements (even if they are estimates like ‘1 handful’) so other people can use the recipe more easily. We always put who gave us the recipe and the town they are from. It’s always fun for people to see how far these recipes have come from.

You can send your summer recipe, your name, location & if you like a sentence or 2 about your recipe send it via e-mail. I use Microsoft Word 2004 (so please no .docx files, as I won’t be able to read them).

If you would like a copy of the recipe book when it is done, please send me your address also! (We usually sell copies for £3). And if you would like to be kept up to date with the work of our charity, let me know and I can give you details on how you can do that! :)

Causes I support: Compassion International

“Compassion has become an international Christian child development and child advocacy ministry. Partnering with local churches, we are committed to the spiritual, economic, social and physical development of children living in extreme poverty in 26 countries, enabling them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults.”

- Compassion UK website

I hadn’t heard anything of Compassion until 2002. For many years growing up, I had fundraised for WorldVision, and I had always felt strongly that I wanted to sponsor a child when I was old enough to be able to make that decision.

I still remember having the conversation with my friend – both of us knew that as our parents would not approve of us doing this – we lived on whatever financial help they could give us and student loans (and in my case, a part-time job) as we had several years of university study ahead of us. However, we also knew that we had so much compared to these children. Surely we could somehow sacrifice something so we could pay £18 a month (which is what it cost back then!) to help a child in poverty?

Yes. We could.

A few things gave Compassion a seal of approval for me.

1. They don’t just help the child I sponsor, but their family.

I know this from the letters I have received from Henok, my sponsored teenager! He has told me of the things that his family have been given because of the sponsorship I have given him over the last 8+ years.

2. The fact that it is possible for me to go out to meet my child & his family.

Forgive me for being a cynic, but I do wonder with some charities how above board everything is. I know from friends who have lived in developing countries that charities have been very corrupt and the money has not gone to what people back in the UK have been told it would go.

3. They take a holistic approach.

They don’t just deal with one need – my child’s family get medical care. He goes to school to get an education. They partner with local churches. And some children (who want to) can be sponsored to go into further training or education. Compassion also do interventions to deal with drinking water supplies, disaster relief, and prevention of diseases such as HIV/AIDS and Malaria.

Sponsoring a child through Compassion costs £21 a month, and I can say that is so unbelievably worth it. You can find out more here:

Australia

Canada

Germany

France

Italy

Netherlands

New Zealand

South Korea

Spain

Switzerland

UK

USA

Cupcakes & Miracle Babies

Yes, in 2010 I became a bit of a cupcake baking addict. And yes, after the amazing support that Bliss gave a friend of mine when her baby boy was born premature in 2009, we hoped that we could do Cake-A-Difference to give something back to them.

We were however thwarted when Mr Teapot decided to kick his birthdate from January to February.

This year though none of us have babies in our tummies (unless my friends have news they’ve yet to share with me) and we’re hoping that we can kick some cupcake baking ass, and raise money for Bliss in the process!

Pray we would be able to make time to organise, and that people would open their doors to let us sell some cupcakes to them at churches or workplaces or Mums & Toddlers groups etc.

And while we’re on the topic of premature babies, let me remind you of another miracle baby who is turning 3 on Saturday. Once again people all over the world will be wearing Pink & Brown in honour of Gwyneth Rose Lawrenson.

Being One in Two Hundred

Can you be ONE in 200?

So you’ll know that pregnancy crisis and pregnancy loss support has been a huge part of my life for the last 4 years. First as a training volunteer, then being employed part-time by a local pregnancy crisis centre and helping out with the national charity our local centre is affilated to.

My role nationally (as a partner) and locally (as one of the local centre coordinators) is very much is education, training, networking and communications. It means I have to be flexible – so I can go visit the folks involved in centres in far flung parts of Scotland to give them encouragement and support, or raise awareness of our charity at different events, or go down to random parts of England to meet with the other partners. And it may mean next year going back to South Africa to meet with some of the wonderful people involved with centres across the continent of Africa who meet annually for training in Durban.

I know that to do the work I do as best as I could do it…a second job isn’t really an option.

If 200 people gave £5 a month to the charity I work for, I’d be able to work for them full-time, plus have more resources to increase the quality and quantity of the work we do.

That would be lovely…

So I guess the next question is…are you someone that is able to and/or feels that you want to help?

If that is you, and you’d like details on HOW you could do this, please e-mail me: by clicking HERE

Equally if you aren’t able to do this financially but would like to keep informed by receiving a newsletter, I’d still love to hear from you. :)

A cause for cupcakes?

At Christmas my Mum gave me a chocolate recipe book, and it had a ton of muffin recipes. I used some of my Christmas money to buy some muffin tins in Tesco (£4 each). I tried out two of the recipes on Hogmanay, but was seriously under impressed with the results.

So I decided to try out my own thing, creating different recipes using my recipe for Chocolate Cranberry Cake as a base to begin. Here are the results:

I’ve now managed to perfect my chocolate berry cupcakes. The nutella cupcakes need some tweaking. And I didn’t even get a lemon white choc chip cupcake out of my last batch because everyone else has eaten them before I got the chance. :)

Alison apparently said to my Mum at the weekend ‘You know, I would pay good money for these‘ as she ate one of the lemon white choc chip cupcakes.

Which makes me wonder…if…as I try and seek support for the charity I work for…

How much would you pay for a batch of 12 homemade cupcakes?

And should I offer to make them to order to raise money for charity?

Walking again

So today, I’ve gotten up early (early for me on a Saturday anyway!) to head to East Calder for the Sponsored Walk & Picnic. It’s been hectic because I didn’t get much done last week and this week I was in Somerset. As you know, I’m passionate about pregnancy crisis centre work…so I’m hoping my lack of sleep and days off just now is worth it. Maybe you can help it be so? (Thank you to blog friends who already have helped!)

Originally posted on 17th August 2009:

Last year, I, along with my friends Cat, Frances and Tucker the dog participated in the Great Scottish Walk.

Frances, Tucker and I had hoped that we could do it again, with a bunch of other people to raise money for a pregnancy crisis centre. Again.

Except there was no walk this year!

So we’ve organised another (not quite so long, but should be fun!) on Saturday 29th August at Almondell Country Park in West Lothian.

If you’re able to, and want to, I know the pregnancy crisis centre would really appreciate it if you sponsored me! You can click on the link below to get to my JustGiving page.

Thanks everyone! :)