Winter solstice

25 days of kindness – December 21st

December 21st is the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, or in other words, winter solstice. With only 7 hours and 25 minutes of scheduled daylight here as it is, it hardly felt like the day broke at all with such low lying fog. Not to worry! Any excuse to fill my room with the flickers and fragrance of scented candles is much appreciated.

I thought I would match the shortness of the day with a brief blog post. After my failed attempt on Saturday, I successfully managed to deliver some magazines to the doctor’s surgery for anxious patients like myself to flick through in the waiting room.

So there you have it, short and sweet! I read that, like with most festivals, it is traditional at winter solstice to feast. And that is exactly what I plan to do. A cosy night in with good friends, cheesy Christmas films and even cheesier pizza!

Love,

Mary x

Three times a charm

25 days of kindness – December 20th

Three is usually a crowd, but not today.

The rough plan: a day out in my hometown to meet and old friend for a catch up and to sort out some last minute bits and bobs for Christmas.

Added bonus: the opportunity to carry out three acts of kindness that I wouldn’t normally do.

Numero uno (e due)

In light of my recent bedroom overhaul, I have a lot of books in need of a good home. My academic foreign language books are more likely to find an appreciative owner if I sell them online, but for general chick-lit novels and detective stories, Oxfam books is ideal.

However, I guessed the store’s opening time incorrectly (this seems to happen to me a little too often…), so with half an hour to kill in the damp British weather, I wandered into the nearest shopping mall. Almost immediately upon arriving I was collared by a representative for Amnesty International. Now, usually in this situation I would rattle off the unoriginal yet effective “Sorry, I’m in a bit of a rush!”, but I knew full well that this was an outright lie. So I stayed. And I listened. And I signed up. Am I in the financial position to subscribe to every charity who stops me in the street? Absolutely not, but one every now and again doesn’t hurt.

 

 

Harris Museum at Christmas

Last but not least

My wallet and load feeling somewhat lighter, I turned a corner and saw none other than a Big Issue vendor. If you read my blog yesterday, you would know that I bought the magazine when I was in Leeds, so before I had thought twice I found myself saying “Sorry mate, I’ve already got that one!” and walked away. Cursing myself for sounding so rude, I turned around and asked if I could get him a hot drink instead. “Ooh, a tea would be grand, thanks!” The man has good taste, I thought.

 

Love,

Mary x

P.S. I am thrilled to have been nominated for a Liebster Award, so watch this space for my Liebster post and nominations!

Big issue, small solution

It is much easier to be kind to people when you are surrounded by them.

Knowing I was headed for Leeds, I didn’t particularly plan a good deed of the day because I was confident an opportunity would arise on its own. And sure enough, it did.

As I was wandering through the County Arcade (in which my bank balance could barely stretch to window shopping), I noticed a lady under the archway at the far end, clutching a stack of magazines. As I approached, my initial inkling was confirmed as I heard her calling out “Big Issue”, so naturally I bought one.

Big Issue Christmas Edition

For those of you who don’t know, The Big Issue Foundation promotes ‘working not begging’ and offers ‘a hand up not a hand out’ to those who need help getting back on their feet. Official vendors buy the Big Issue magazine at £1.25 and sell it on at £2.50, keeping the profit they make. (Or in the case of this bumper edition, I bought it for £3 so £1.50 went directly to the vendor).

Though I have purchased Big Issue magazines in the past, I can’t say I have ever read one. I assumed it would just be filled with adverts and other nonsense, but I must admit, it’s not half bad! An amusing article on Christmas jobs including a segment by a cracker joke writer, TV, album and book reviews as well as a good old puzzle page.

But best of all… the cryptic crossword comes with quick clues too! I will definitely have to make this a regular purchase.

Love,

Mary x

 

 

Bloody Mary

25 days of kindness – December 7th

I’ve never particularly got along with blood. That isn’t to say I’m not thrilled that my pint-sized body seems to be filled with the stuff and it’s whizzing oxygen around and doing whatever else good blood likes to do. I just don’t feel the need to a) talk at length about it or b) see it.

I’ve had a few tests done in the past in which my blood was stolen from me, but the thought of actually willingly donating it makes me feel physically sick. Sitting there, hooked to a machine, watching the essence of my own body being pumped into a bag… no thank you.

So naturally, I felt I had to register as a donor. After all, if giving someone part of your body and soul isn’t kindness, then what is? Well, I am over the moon to announce that giving blood was not my act of kindness for the day, and nor will it be any time soon. It appears that my love for exploring far off places means I am currently ineligible as a donor. Oh, how my heart bleeds.

big love gala_save the date_RED TYPE ONLY

However, I am not completely off the hook. My new sister-in-law shared a link with me today, suggesting I register with DKMS. It’s a non-profit organisation dedicated to matching blood cancer patients with blood stem cell donors so that they can have a potentially life-saving transplant. Accepting that this really is a cause worth supporting, I signed up and am now awaiting my free cheek swab kit. The odds are that I’ll never be needed, but if so, I’ll just have to face my fear and focus on the big cup of tea and chocolate biscuit which surely must follow.

Love,

Mary x

P.S. If you were wondering what the feature image is, it was the beautiful parcel sent to me today by my dear friend and fellow blogger, Benjamin Barnabas. Be sure to check out his page!

Brews, boobs and billowing buns

25 days of kindness – December 2nd

It was as if fate empathised with my need for a Saturday morning lie-in.

From the warmth of my own bed, a prospective candidate for Day Two’s good deed appeared right before my very eyes.

As I was scrolling through Instagram, my phone virtually resting on my nose in an attempt to keep as much of my body under the duvet as possible, I happened upon an image reposted by mrsgifletcher (AKA the real-life Wonder Woman).

tassel tee

Much classier than (but not entirely dissimilar from) the look rocked by Regina George in Mean Girls, these tasselled TETTA tees are made by a team of fabulous breast cancer warriors to be worn with pride as a reminder to we girls (and boys) to check our boobs!

Aside from the cute design, Lucy and Georgia’s story is inspirational and it was an absolute pleasure to pledge a contribution to such a worthy campaign.

regina george

From boobs to bake sale

Feeling motivated, I then set to work baking for my dear friend Ruth‘s coffee morning in aid of her upcoming charity work placement in Tanzania. Oh don’t worry, I am well aware of the irony. My friend is about to dedicate three months of her life providing an education for poverty-stricken children in Africa. Meanwhile, I’m here writing a blog about acts of kindness when all I have done today is pledge to buy a lovely t-shirt, bake some cupcakes and make some brews (tea and coffee, not beer). Not only that, but I could make a cup of tea blindfolded and I love baking, yet these cupcakes were the most deformed I have ever seen.

Yet somehow, I feel I must be doing something right. I was the 79th backer for TETTA‘s campaign. I guessed there were 79 sweets in the jar at my friend’s fundraiser and… so there were. A happy coincidence? I’ll leave that for you to decide.

Love,

Mary x

TETTA:    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1979835502/tetta-the-original-boob-tassel-tshirts-and-sweatsh

Ruth’s JustGiving page:   https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ruth-snalam?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=fundraisingpage&utm_content=Ruth-Snalam&utm_campaign=pfp-share