Friday, 29 June 2018

Putting the Fun into FUNdraising

It's hard to believe that I haven't blogged since November of last year but life seems to have been pulling me in a few different directions recently and, as John Lennon once said, 'Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.'

So, forgive me for the blogging silence but understand that there have been valid reasons and certain news I'd love to share (regarding an exciting development in my writing journey) but things are still too much in the early stages to go shouting from the rooftops yet.  All I can say is, watch this space.

BUT ... I do have some fantastic news about my fundraising for Age UK, Wandsworth.  Regular followers will know that I've now been working with this charity since I lost my lovely mum in 2016.  Three events later, I've raised approximately £3,500.  My next event will be on November 10th upstairs at The Telegraph Pub, Putney and will take the form of a 1960's night with live entertainment from The Kitsch Kittens, food, raffle, cupcake lottery and dancing until midnight.

Every year the hardest part is approaching companies for raffle prizes.  I send HUNDREDS of emails and, more often than not, don't even receive a reply.  I usually manage to source about 30 prizes with the help of friends, and the raffle is always a great boost to the proceeds.

A chance email to a favourite restaurant of ours in Chelsea Wharf - Yamal Alsham - proved to deliver a result beyond my wildest dreams.  We went there today and had a drink in the London sunshine with their charming marketing manager, Imad, and were told that they are happy to donate vouchers for meals for 6 ( the BEST food!) AND ONE THOUSAND POUNDS!  Eeek!  Can you imagine how hard it was for me not to throw my top over my head and do a little happy dance around the waterfront?!  Also, they're going to start a campaign in their sister cafe/deli next door, Marhaba Express whereby for every pound their customers give to the charity, they'll match it up to another thousand pounds.

Once the news had sunk in - if you'd been passing, I MAY have been the one who looked like a demented goldfish as I opened and closed my mouth in delighted shock - we agreed that out of the first £1,000 they are donating we will cover the cost of the entertainment and that will still leave over £600 profit for the charity.  That means that now, for the first time in doing this, I officially have a cash sponsor.  I can't begin to tell you how many businesses I've approached for prizes or sponsorship to simply be ignored.  Estate agents are THE WORST, by the way!

The restaurant would like to work with us on an ongoing basis and this really is the stuff of charity dreams for me. When I watch TV programmes with WAGS or celebrities raising funds for various charities I always feel a bit down-hearted that, as a nobody, I can never even hope to raise the amount that they achieve but I have to keep reminding myself that I'm doing this for my mum and EVERY PENNY I raise goes to help an older person in my area. OK, I may never get to five or six figure sums but I sure am heading in the right direction.

Excuse me now whilst I go off to have a celebratory G&T.  I'll leave you to take a look at the list of prizes below that I've accumulated so far - aside from the ONE THOUSAND POUNDS AND COUNTING!  Did I mention that?!  Also, if any other businesses, multi-millionaires or even estate agents (!) would like to show their generosity, you know where to find me - here or on Twitter @mummy_misfit.  Or, if you'd like to donate the odd pound or two, you can do so here and also read the story behind my fundraising. Remember, one day you may be old and lonely, and Age UK may be the ones who come to your rescue.


The Spencer Pub, Putney - £50 voucher for dinner
The Flower Yard, Putney - flower arrangement
Cook - £20 voucher
A Time To Heal, Glasgow - pamper hamper
Panacea Health & Beauty - 2x hampers worth £40
The Pheasantry, Kings Road Chelsea - 2x tickets for live entertainment £30
Kingston Lodge Hotel - Sunday lunch for 2
Ma Goa, Putney - Sunday lunch or dinner for 2, up to £50
Cannizaro House, Wimbledon - afternoon tea for 2
Tastecard - annual subscription £40
Fullers Brewery - tour for 2
The Dance Lab, Putney - beginners dance course for 1 month for 2 - £100
Avenue Cookery School, Putney - £30 voucher
Headmasters - cut and blow dry
Chiswick House - 2 x vouchers for 4
Yamal Alsham - 2 vouchers for dinner (2 guests and 4 guests)

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Blimey! It's the 1950's!

Last night saw the culmination of months of work for my third fundraiser in memory of my mum for Age UK, Wandsworth.

Friends, family and strangers (some who came last year and are fast becoming friends!) donned their 50's finery and sang and danced their way back to the era of leather jackets, swing dresses and pedal pushers.

We raised just over £1,100 and I think everyone who attended would say that it was a night to remember - the pictures speak for themselves. As usual The Telgraph Pub, Putney, provided a great back-drop for the event and I look forward to working with them for next year's 60's night.

Special thanks go to my wonderful husband, my son and his fiancée, Mireille and Alan, Toby and my side-kick 'Fenella' - I couldn't have done any of it without you fabulous people.

Also, thanks to Emma at Age UK, who came with a couple of her friends and set the dance floor on fire with their glamour and moves!

 A rather picture-heavy blog, but these capture the mood of the evening:

College freshman and the Grease monkey

Fabulous Emma from Age UK and her posse

He had a gingham bow-tie on in that fur somewhere!

My baby!

The boys! He-e-e-y!!

Stunning cup-cakes from 'Fenella' raised £93


The table settings

Me and my men

Not quite Danny and Sandy!

The welcome stand that took me months and will now go to the dump.

Having a breather after air-guitaring

Waiting for the raffle

The 50's aren't complete without a pearly queen

Peggy, my mummy - the black and white photo of her was in the 50's on her honeymoon

Which karaoke number shall we do?

The raffle table

A rush to get ready but we made it!

Check out the 50's baseball boots!

Pretty in Pink

Karaoke for the brave ones

Tense raffle moment

A winning ticket!

Hubbie drilled a lot of holes through those records to make the mobiles

50's sisters

Age UK won the flowers but presented them to me!

Glamour pusses

My trusty raffle helper on the left

'Chrissie Cadillac' leads the revellers in a four-step

The dumped cabinet we found, transformed beautifully

They've got the Colgate look ...

With 31 prizes, the raffle takes forever

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

France, the French et moi!

Eight days and 1,500 miles later, we're back from our French holiday and I'm pleased to report that a fab time was had by Mr & Mrs Misfit and L'Alfster (our dog).  19 years of waiting for an overseas holiday was worth it and we've now explored Calais, Beaune, Valence, Uzès and Reims.

Lots of photos to follow but first a few anecdotes.

*  On arrival in Calais after braving the Eurotunnel (not too bad at all for a claustrophobia sufferer!) we headed off to the restaurant we'd decided to have lunch in.  Using my rusty French I asked if we could eat there with Alfie and we were led to a table where I asked for the menu. 'Steak, frites, salade!' I was told rather abruptly.  OK!  It looked like we'd be having steak then!  We still have no idea why everyone else in the other part of the restaurant was able to choose from a variety of dishes but put it down to the fact that it was a very French restaurant with no other Anglaise!

*  As we left the restaurant and headed back to our rather smart (borrowed!) car I gaily greeted it with, 'Bonjour voiture!' - only to realise that there was a French gentleman leaning out of his window.  He was greatly amused.

*  Again, braving the use of my French I successfully booked us into our first stop-over hotel in Beaune explaining that I was English but still managing to hold a decent enough conversation.  The receptionist however decided that when I asked if I could smoke on the balcony or outside that she would suddenly become my new best friend and speak English fluently!  'Of course!  Of course!  I'm a smoker too.  Not a problem!'  United by a foul habit!

*  Dinner in Beaune found us presented with a 69 page wine list!

*  Mr Misfit couldn't believe that the French word for swimming pool was 'piscine' - he seemed to think that would be an open invitation for abuse.

*  On leaving our hotel the following morning, Mr Misfit decided to attempt a bit of French himself.  'Bonsoir' probably wasn't his finest hour but he insists that was how she bid him farewell!  I somehow doubt it.

*  At a restaurant in Uzès with the friends we were staying with, I popped to the loo and heard an exasperated English mum in the next door cubicle with her son as he told her,  'Mum!  Mum!  I've peed all over the seat'.  When we met at the sink he went on to say, 'It's good isn't it, 'cos I can say what I like and no one understands me'.  I couldn't resist!  I looked at him with a cheeky grin and said, 'Except me!'  I've never seen a child disappear so quickly behind a mother as he shrieked, 'I thought she was French!'  The mother thought it was hilarious.

*  Walking back through the quaint backstreets of Uzès, Alfie decided to do what dogs do on pavements and we bent to put it in a poo bag - only to tread in a dollop that another dog had left!  We then heard from behind - from an English man - 'That was bad luck!' and his French wife added, 'When we saw you cleaning up after your dog, I commented, they must be English!'  It would seem the French aren't big on Pick Up Le Poop!

*  Playing one of our stupid games in the car - 1,500 miles is a long way - we decided on 'Would you rather?'.  I asked Mr Misfit if he'd prefer an extra nose on his forehead or one on his bottom.  His instant reply was on his bottom because he could cover it up.  Until the realisation of the smelly consequences hit him and he said, 'I didn't think that one through, did I?'  We laughed so hard, I lost most of my mascara and my stomach muscles were in spasms of agony.  Then every few miles, one of us would start chuckling and the whole Gigglefest would begin again. 

*  Our friends' beautiful house has steps and arches in unusual places.  We developed a new way of getting from room to room, especially at night, called The Uzès Walk - a kind of dip of  the head with an exaggerated lift of the feet.  Rather comical after a couple of glasses of rosé.

I managed to cross almost everything off my French Memories list:

* Citron pressé swiftly followed by an orange pressé
* Pernod and water
* Steak et frites
* Oeuf Russe
* Gallettes with cheese, ham and egg
* Crepes
* Rilettes and French bread
* Deliciously stinky cheese
* French apricots
* Les Croustilles aux cacahuètes - or as I like to call them' Peanut flavoured Nic-Nacs'
* Rosé wine with ice cubes - la piscine!

I didn't get the chance to savour mussels, tomato or celeriac salad but I'll save those for next time.

Our first stop-over in beautiful Beaune.  Spot the dog!
Welcome drinks at our friends' place in Uzes.

My favourite doorway at their place

Their rather splendid pool

Morning coffee and a paddle

My favourite photo of me and Alfie heading into town

Delicious artichokes for lunch

Monsieur Misfit braved L'Escargots!

Clearly content with the French food, wine and company.

Heading back from town

Charming Uzes at night

L'Alfster by the pool.  He attempted the first step in but no further!

Every street is unique and pretty

Coffee in the sun

In Valence avec my French Poodle

Pool at final stop-over hotel in Reims. Not as grand as our friends' but very welcome in the heat.

Our holiday souvenir.  36 knobs to transform our kitchen.  Or Ker-nobs as the shop assistant pronounced them!