How did it get to be December already? Where has the time gone? We are now officially in the countdown to Christmas (or whatever winter festival you celebrate). It’s the time of year people try to be a little kinder and more charitable, and perhaps they start thinking of ways they can help others.
I watched a video yesterday that got me thinking. It wasn’t about the festive season, it was about menstruating. I know – that can be a bit of an icky subject, despite it being something that 50% of the world’s population do at some point in their lives – for a very large part of their lives, to be honest.
This is the video – please do watch it, because it’s quite interesting.
It really got me thinking, because although I donate to a local food bank on a semi-regular basis, and although it’s not always food products I donate, there is something I never thought about donating at all, and it’s something I have used every month of my life since before being a teenager. Why did it never occur to me? Well, probably for the same reason it doesn’t occur to other people too – it’s something we’re so used to, that we don’t consider it – it gets pushed to the background.
So, although we’re now half way through December, here’s a thought. How w0ould it be, if everyone who has the means to do so, made up a package to give to their local food bank this Xmas? You can backdate it and made a sort of reverse advent calendar, putting in 24 items to donate, or you can do it from today, whatever is easiest and within your means – just pop stuff in a bag or a box to hand over.
Here are some things you might like to include:
Dried goods such as pasta, rice, and lentils are good, as they keep for ages without going off. Also tinned and jarred food of any kind – beans, vegetables, fruit, canned fish and meat, are all staples to consider, along with jams, chutneys and pickles. And don’t forget condiments – salt, pepper, sauces, herbs and spices, and stock cubes – they can zing up a meal and make it much taster and less boring.
- Feminine hygiene products:
Next time you’re picking up your tampons or pads for your own use, pop an extra pack in your trolley to donate.
- Other hygiene products:
Soap, shower gel, deoderant, toothbrushes and toothpaste – take advantage of three for two offers and pop the third “free” item in your giving box. Or if you get loads of smellies at Xmas, consider donating some of those. You might also consider popping a packet of condoms in there too
- Cleaning products:
Cleaning wipes, antibacterial spray, toilet cleaner and bleach, rim blocks and cistern blocks, washing up liquid, washing powder, and fabric conditioner. All essentials that might go by the wayside when people can barely afford to put food on the table.
- Baby products:
Nappies, wipes, nappy sacks – again, take advantage of multi-buy offers and pop the extra items in the box.
None of these need to be expensive brand name items – you can donate supermarket own brands, or even the bargain range items if that’s what your budget will stretch to. Even if you can’t donate an item for every day of the month, perhaps it could be a new year’s resolution to save one item every week of the year – imagine what you could accumulate in 52 weeks, at just the cost of a few pennies extra on your weekly shopping bill? Even if you donated like this quarterly with a dozen or so items each time, that can make a huge difference to someone who needs it.
Maybe this way we can ALL have a brighter festive season. And you never know, you might get bumped higher up on Santa’s “Nice” list!
Wowza! It’s been MONTHS since I last posted on here, where has the time gone?
Seriously it’s been pretty crazy. All four of us have had birthdays – Hubby turned 42, Tadpole turned 8, I turned 40, then Choochie turned 3. Tadpole went back to school (he’s in year 3 now, how did that happen?!), and I auditioned for a couple of shows. I sang at a local war re-enactment, Halloween came and went, then bonfire night, and now, here we are in the countdown to Xmas! We’ve also been redecorating our house, bit by bit, as well as laying a drive at the front (I say ~”we”, but I mean Hubby has been doing that while I look after the kids and make the coffee!). And now we’re preparing for Choochie to start nursery after the Xmas holidays too.
Oh, and those shows? Well, I’m playing the lead in two shows in the very near future. I’ll be starring as Candy, the Christmas Fairy in The Magic Toy Box this festive season, and as Puss in Puss In Boots next Easter. I am absolutely in my element to be treading the boards once more and the people I’m working with are just darlings, every one of them – I feel like I’ve adopted a whole new branch into the family!
So, as you can see, I’ve been rather distracted and have barely had time to sit down, let alone get to the computer. But I’m still around, and I’ll be popping in from time to time…
On Thursday this week, I went to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for the very first time. Despite having lived in Kirkcaldy (which is only a couple of train stops away from Edinburgh) for the guts of four years, I’d never made it to the festival… Until now!
I was part of a team of people from Northumberland scouting some of the shows to possibly bring to our area (if not them, then shows like them), and so we all hopped on a mini bus at silly-o-clock in the morning and headed to Scotland for the day.
We saw four shows in total – all completely different from what we’d expected and totally different from each other, and each of them was wonderful in their own way.
The first show was Anatomy of the Piano (for beginners) by Will Pickvance at the Scottish Storytelling Centre. This show was aimed at a younger audience, but there was plenty to entertain folks of all ages. The music was fabulous, and the story behind his love of the piano, accompanied by quirky animation that was perfectly timed, was absolutely adorable. This is a children’s version of a show he’s done for adult audiences, but it was well worth seeing.
After that, we went for lunch at Circus Bistro, which was just around the corner from the Scottish Storytelling Centre. It was crammed full of people who were in Edinburgh for the festival, but the atmosphere and the food were great. and then we were off again.
Next we saw Pss Pss by Baccala Compagnia at Assembly Roxy. When I saw the write up mention mime, by heart sank, because I don’t like mime and never have (I subscribe to Lord Vetinari’s idea of hanging mimes upside down in a dungeon opposite a sign that reads “Learn the words!”), but this couldn’t have been more different from my preconceptions if it had tried for a hundred years. There is no accurate way to describe this act – it’s like traditional clowning-come-acrobatic act with a storytelling element that is utterly delightful – we understood every single word they didn’t say (the only sound they uttered was a whispered “pss pss”). There was so much going on between the two characters on stage, and within the audience participation sections, that to write it all out here would take forever – what they conveyed with the slightest movement or facial expression was immense. They thoroughly deserved the standing ovation they received at the end.
After the highs of Pss Pss, I feared that the next act would be a little depressing, based on the two-sentence summary I’d read. I have never been happier to be proven wrong!
One Hundred Homes by Yinka Kuitenbrouwer was presented in a large wooden hut at Summerhall, with the seating crammed together, There were blankets on some of the chairs, in case it got chilly, and we were all given cups of hot tea and homemade biscuits shaped like little houses (they were delicious, by the way!). Yinka visited over one hundred people, and talked to them about the idea of home. The resulting show, where she relates their stories and links the together in the most unusual manner, was most uplifting, filled with warmth and hope and the friendship she had developed with the people she interviewed. We were very pleased to be there when it was announced that she was the winner of an award – I think we all got a little emotional along with her, as it was very well deserved!
After being left almost completely speechless by Yinka, we headed to a giant up-turned purple cow at George Square, where we watched Closer by Circa. This was another acrobatic show with elements of dance involved – it was a very lyrical performance showcasing strength and agility, with moves that had the audiences collectively holding their breath as they performed high above us. It was quite indescribable!
Everywhere we went throughout the day, the air was crackling with excitement – the atmosphere was electric! I don’t think any of us wanted to come home at the end of it, despite being completely exhausted. The entire experience was out of this world and I know that although this was my first time at the festival, it most certainly won’t be my last! I look forward to returning for future festivals, and also to taking Tadpole and Choochie along when they’re a little older, because this is something that everyone should experience, at least once, and it will never be forgotten!
Crikey, it’s been just over three weeks since I last posted on this blog – simply because we’ve been so busy! It’s the school holidays, you see, and with both the kids at home, and Hubby having a fortnight off work, we’ve been all over the place on day trips and excursions to local events and attractions, which have included:
- A music festival
- A theatre trip (I went to see Chicago with my sister and niece)
- A family fun day (with bouncy castles and entertainment stuff)
- Rock-pooling on a tidal island with a light house
- Going to the circus
- Blackberry picking with the kids
- A trip to Beamish (huge open-air, fully interactive museum)
- A trip to the Hancock Museum
- Watching a football match
This coming weekend we have a four day festival to celebrate the Tall Ships coming to our town. It’s all rather exciting!
Hubby has been working hard on DIY projects – he’s laid our drive (all lock-blocked beautifully), and has started work on a built-in cupboard and bookcase in our living room, as he’s about to start redecorating in there (it will be followed by the kitchen, all three bedrooms, and finally the bathroom, which will be completely ripped out, a new suite put in, re-tiled, and basically started from scratch!). He’s also decorated my Mum’s spare bedroom and kitchen – what a handy man!
Tadpole has lost not one, but two teeth during the holidays, and we have tackled potty training with Choochie – he’s now something of a pro (thankfully!), and we have no problem going out and about all day with him – he’s very good at “holding it in” till we can find a toilet!
I, on the other hand, have been busy in rehearsals for Sister Act, and have also begun auditioning for other shows, as well as preparing for singing at Blyth Battery again next month. And tomorrow, I’ll be heading off to Edinburgh for the day, to take in a few shows at the Fringe Festival – I can hardly wait!
So, if I’ve been AWOL for a little while, you’ll understand, as we’ve been spending most of our time outdoors and away from all things computerised!
Today, I did something I’ve never done before – I shaved my head down to a #1 all over!
Why did I do this? For charity, of course! My hair is being sent off to Little Princess Trust to make wigs for kids who have lost their hair through chemo, and all the sponsorship money is going to Macmillan Cancer Support.
You can still sponsor me, if you like – every little helps! You can find my Brave the Shave page HERE.
It’s my 13th wedding anniversary tomorrow, and I’m going out for a meal and theatre trip in the evening, but in the morning, I’ll be getting my hair put into plaits, cut off, bagged up to send off to Little Princess Trust, and then my head will be shaved all over to a #1!
If you’d like to sponsor me, you can do so via my Brave the Shave page, and if you’d like to spread the word too, I’d be very grateful – the more people who know about it, the more money is raised for Macmillan Cancer Support, which is a very worthy cause.
Every little helps! Thanks in advance.