365. Did last year make a difference?

So it’s been a while since I’ve posted and I’m not one to make excuses, but…

I wanted to post action no. 365 as a review of everything I’d done last year to try and change the world around me. So I started going back through all my past posts and after several hours, and more than one session I had the following ridiculously long list (feel free to skip past this to the end of the post):

  • Red Cross – payroll giving
  • Bookcrossing
  • Buying more fair trade products
  • Why Hunger – charity donation
  • The Pink Place – easy fundraising
  • Reading all charity related e-mails
  • Polar Bears – WWF poster and t-shirt
  • Cutting back on disposable plastic cutlery and cups at work
  • Foodbank donation
  • Saving bees – buying English Heritage mead
  • Air ambulance textile recycling
  • Turning the heating down
  • Charity shop donation – LIFE
  • Hero rats – charity donation
  • Volunteering for the Marie Curie Great Daffodil Appeal
  • Organ Donor registration
  • Children’s Heart Foundation- letter to MP and petition signed
  • LGBT History Month – buying and wearing a badge
  • Turning the tumble drier off for 2 weeks
  • Going veggie for a week
  • Paperless billing for my mobile
  • International Tree Foundation – charity donation
  • RSPB mug purchase
  • Sheldrick Wildlife Trust – sponsoring an orphaned elephant
  • RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch
  • Getting a reusable shopping bag
  • Turning the tap off when brushing my teeth
  • Swing for Macmillan charity event tickets
  • Getting an extra recycling bin put in at work
  • Hope for Justice – charity donation to fight human trafficking and calculating my slavery footprint
  • Supporting a Dryathlete – charity donation to Cancer Research
  • Using independent local retailers for a month
  • Visiting an independent pub
  • E-mailing M & S to reduce the amount of packaging used in mail order purchases
  • Using an independent petrol station
  • Boycotting HP products in protest at human rights violations and signing a petition (my new printer is a Canon)
  • Switching to Ecotricity for gas and electricity
  • Downloading U2’s song ‘Invisible’ to raise money to fight AIDS
  • Buying a copy of the Big Issue (I did not take part in the London to Brighton Challenge though… maybe this year.)
  • Volunteering to support Oxfam’s runners in the Reading Half-marathon – no response, despite chasing up…
  • Completing Walk in Her Shoes to help reduce gender inequality in developing countries
  • RAOK – positive messages in the facilities at work, staff and student
  • E-mailing the PM to ensure that aid reaches children in Syria
  • Charity donation to the Devon Flood Fund
  • Signing up to enter the Cats Protection weekly lottery
  • Making a shwop drop at M & S – donating clothes
  • Writing to Jock Palfreeman, a prisoner in a Bulgarian prison – sadly his situation does not appear to have changed.
  • Voting in the General Election for the first time
  • Charity donation to Friends of the Earth and sharing a photo of somewhere beautiful for THE BIG PICTURE
  • Switching to cotton swabs with a paper swindle instead of plastic
  • Charity donation to Mencap and signing a petition
  • Charity donation to Sane and raising awareness of the need to stop the stigma surrounding mental health issues
  • Living in the moment – life without the internet for a day!
  • Recycling my Valentine’s roses
  • Trying to use soapnut shells instead of detergent
  • Switching the printer off instead of leaving it on standby
  • Taking part in WWF’s Earth Hour 2014
  • Buying a copy of Vivienne Harr’s book to help stop child slavery
  • Making a loan through Kiva Zip
  • Donating bedding to the YMCA hostel
  • Charity donation to Dingley Family and Specialist Early Years Centre
  • Taking part in Live Below The Line for 5 days
  • Joined Amnesty International
  • Bought eco-friendly tyres for my car
  • Donating my social network image to Faces for Syria to raise awareness of the issues there
  • Celebrating and raising awareness of International Women’s Day
  • Buying a t-shirt from British Heart Foundation publicising their CPR campaign Hard & Fast
  • Ordering a Lammily doll
  • Buying Spring Raffle tickets to support Age UK
  • Getting involved in local issues – voting for a local charity to receive the Have Your Say Grant
  • Picking up litter in the local area
  • Being nicer to everyone for a day – especially if they aren’t nice to me!
  • Making bunting for Oxfam to sell – well, I would’ve done if the sewing machine hadn’t gone bang…
  • Making a donation to Petsavers
  • Visiting the Hawk Conservancy – making a donation and signing a petition to save vultures
  • Getting involved in the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination with some lesson activities
  • Using freerice.com to donate rice to the World Food Programme
  • A no make-up selfie and donation to support Cancer Research and the fight against breast cancer
  • Sport Relief donation and participation in an event
  • Fly kites not drones – donation to CND
  • Volunteering as a Samaritan
  • #crowdfeeding – a social experiment to raise funds for charity
  • National Gardening Week planting poppies and cornflowers to support British Wildlife and Royal British Legion – sadly nothing seems to have grown L
  • Writing a letter to thank nurses and hospital staff
  • Raising awareness of epilepsy
  • Finding out more about local charities and the work they do – although I never heard back from the charity promoting Black History Month
  • Becoming a donor on the Bone Marrow Registry
  • Visiting the World Food Programme website and taking the quiz about Syria, leading to a donation of food
  • Charity donation to Sebastian’s Action Trust
  • Ebay charity listing for Great Ormond Street Hospital
  • Putting people and relationships first and work later
  • Raising awareness of Autism for National Autism Awareness Day
  • Supporting the Robin Hood Tax – signing a petition and raising awareness
  • Volunteering with Basingstoke Conservation Volunteers
  • Reading The Long Walk to Freedom
  • E-mailing companies to ask them to stop testing on animals and making a donation to the RSPCA
  • Making a donation to My Theatre Matters
  • Returning my pedometer to help reduce the costs for the charity running Walk In Her Shoes
  • Switching off and unplugging everything before going away
  • Charity donation to the Waterfall Charity
  • Charity donation to support the work of Tusk
  • E-mailing governments asking them to stop using animals for soldiers’ training – supporting PETA’s campaign
  • Recycling small electrical appliances
  • RAOK – letting people out and traffic and being a more considerate driver
  • Charity donation to Highfields Happy Hens
  • Charity donation to the Tapir Preservation Fund
  • Charity donation to Star Rescue
  • Volunteering for 2 weeks in Sierra Leone – sadly cancelled a few days before my flight due to the ebola outbreak, so I’ve made a large donation of the accommodation costs and may go this year…
  • Charity donation to Ark Cancer Charity
  • Buying tickets for the Crisis Spring Raffle
  • Charity donation to the Veneziana Fund at Pizza Express
  • Donating to the WWF via my mobile bill by receiving animal pictures on my phone
  • Going to see the Basel Symphony Orchestra – appreciating the beautiful things in life and broadening my mind
  • Buying a pea seedling to support the school’s gardening club – killed it almost instantly
  • Trying to spread a little happiness and be happier myself
  • Charity donation to Angel’s Rescue
  • Charity donation to the Teenage Cancer Trust
  • Volunteering to help with gleaning – unfortunately there haven’t been any conveniently located events… yet
  • Entering the Breast Cancer Care Raffle
  • Voting for the Grassroots Entrepreneur 2014
  • Volunteering for the Diabetes UK Collection weekend – sadly this was cancelled due to a shortage of volunteers locally
  • Completing another World Food Programme Quiz about hunger to help support the programme
  • Charity donation to Aspire
  • Signing up for the 30 Day Forgiveness Challenge – I tried, but, well… I just didn’t really feel I was getting anything from this.
  • Buying a note in Kylie’s song Crystalize to help fund Cancer Research
  • Getting informed politically and voting in the local elections
  • Recycling ink cartridges
  • Sharing my New Year’s Resolution on bethechangeinitiative.org to try and inspire others
  • Charity donation to Basingstoke Hospital Radio
  • Buying and using a reusable water bottle
  • Charity donation to Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust
  • Buying charity sweets to raise funds for Jack’s Place and Naomi House
  • Rounding up my payment to include a donation to Rays of Sunshine Children’s Charities
  • Subscribing to the Why Hunger newsletter and trying to become better informed about world issues
  • Buying silver jewellery that helps to support native Canadians, the First Nations
  • Charity donation to Action Hearing Loss
  • Making a donation to All Out to help fight discrimination and inequality
  • Volunteering to be a tester for the Guiding Association – although they have made contact I haven’t done anything… yet
  • Getting someone else to vote for the first time in the General and Local Elections
  • Joining the UN’s year long campaign for gender equality
  • Charity donation to Prayers for Sophie
  • Making a purchase from the anti-bullying alliance
  • Buying ethical gifts
  • Distributing leaflets promoting RSPB events
  • Recycling my laptop to raise funds for charity  – I never received the necessary information, but did eventually recycle my laptop
  • Registering my details with Child Rescue Alert
  • Buying eggs that support Help for Heroes
  • Sharing the WWF’s status on my Facebook page
  • Having lunch at Café Dome – a community café supporting adults with learning disabilities
  • Charity donation to the NDCS
  • Charity donation to Myton
  • Using nectar points to make a donation to charity
  • Supporting CARE’s campaign to end sexual violence in conflicts
  • Offsetting my carbon footprint when booking a flight
  • Nominating The Pink Place for Sainsburys’ Local Charity Scheme
  • Joining a World Environment Day Challenge and pledging to reduce my plastic waste
  • Buying a book of actions to ‘be the change’
  • Signing up for a free online course ‘How to Change the World’ – unfortunately due to other commitments I didn’t manage to spend the time I needed on this and didn’t complete the course
  • Charity donation to the Matthew Freeman Project
  • Charity donation to Soccer Aid
  • Charity donation to Action Aid
  • RAOK – being kind to others during the London commute
  • Taking part in the Great British Bee Count
  • Leaving the car at home and walking to work for the day
  • Visiting the website and playing Games for Change
  • Charity donation to Global Life Changers
  • Signing up to the website It Starts With Us
  • Picking a favourite charity on ebay to give them the chance to win £10000
  • RAOK – giving someone a compliment
  • Shopping at Ethical Superstore
  • Shopping at Barnardos charity shop
  • Completing the World Food Programme’s World Cup Quiz
  • Sponsoring the Ask Team taking part in a triathlon raising money for Great Ormond Street Hospital
  • Charity donation to the Children’s Eye Cancer Trust
  • Charity donation to Cats Protection
  • Sponsoring my Aunt raising money for Thomley Hall Centre
  • Donating clothes to a charity shop
  • Charity donation
  • RAOK – helping someone out in a store
  • Emailing the council to protest against fracking
  • Taking on online trolls
  • Taking part in the Macmillan Coffee Morning
  • Sponsoring a child with Action Aid
  • Using recycled tissue and saving toilet paper
  • Donating goods to the Shaw Trust Charity Shop
  • Charity donation to Breakthrough Breast Cancer
  • Charity donation to the Emma Mincher Foundation
  • Charity donation to My Hero
  • Using less water and other resources when possible
  • Charity donation to WWF to help save Mountain Gorillas
  • Sponsoring a colleague
  • Celebrating Mandela Day by teaching a lesson about him
  • Sending a letter to make a child smile
  • Charity donation to Ronald McDonald House Charities
  • RAOK – giving someone a lift home
  • Picking up litter in a park
  • Getting my Dad to try freerice.com and donate to the World Food Programme
  • Buying a ticket for the YMCA balloon race
  • Charity donation to Basingstoke Young Carers
  • Charity donation to Free the Slaves
  • Buying Innocent noodle pots
  • Donating Clubcard vouchers to make a donation to Diabetes UK
  • Charity donation to International Medical Corps to help fight ebola
  • RAOK – letting a driver know they need to switch their lights on
  • Using social media to become a Messenger of Humanity
  • Making a purchase to support student enterprise at Aspiral
  • Purchasing a Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red poppy to support 6 service charities
  • RAOK – hiding bookmarks with positive messages in books at the library
  • Charity donation to the Document Foundation
  • Making a purchase to support Crocodiles of the World
  • Buying Crisis Summer Raffle tickets
  • Charity donation to Survival International
  • Recycling old jeans into dusters
  • Posting bras to Botswana as part of the Uplift Project
  • Charity shop clothing donation to RSPCA
  • Charity donation to Children in Need
  • Phoning Krispy Kreme to complain about the use of irresponsibly sourced palm oil in their products
  • Purchasing a book to raise funds for Haven who provide books for prisoners
  • Charity donation to War Child
  • Completing activities on easyfundraising.com to raise funds for The Pink Place
  • Charity donation to Make A Wish
  • Charity donation to TESSA supporting Teacher Education in sub-Saharan Africa
  • Charity donation to The Clink Restaurant supporting prisoners to reduce reoffending
  • RAOK – good luck cards to students
  • RAOK – thank you gift for a colleague
  • RAOK – keeping my mouth shut and biting my tongue for a day!
  • Charity donation to the Alzheimers Society
  • Supporting a friend’s Ice Bucket Challenge and donating to Macmillan
  • Charity donation to the Motor Neurone Disease Association
  • Charity donation to Pro Dogs Direct
  • Applying for Stars at Your Service and making a donation to the Stand Up to Cancer campaign
  • Charity shop donation of items to Barnardos Shop
  • Charity shop donation of items to the Sue Ryder Shop
  • Charity donation to 38 Degrees and protesting against the TTIP by putting up a poster and petitioning
  • Completing the Ice Bucket Challenge
  • E-mailing party leaders to try and get a bill passed making a clear commitment to international aid law
  • Charity donation to Wipe Out Whaling and signing the petition
  • Petitioning and protesting against the imprisonment of Andy Hall for exposing human rights violations in Thailand
  • Taking part in zero waste week
  • Petitioning for freedom of choice to support the Kings in their fight to get the best treatment for their son
  • Taking part in Operation Christmas Child and sending off 5 shoeboxes
  • Standing with Sanju – campaigning against child labour
  • RAOK – putting someone you love first
  • Contacting Apple to put pressure on its suppliers to treat workers fairly
  • Charity Donation to the Refugee Council
  • Taking part in the local council’s consultation process for developing the Old Common
  • Changing my laptop to energy saving mode
  • Making a loan on Kiva
  • Charity donation to the WWF’s Artic Home Campaign
  • Purchasing a t-shirt to support Music for Relief
  • RAOK – sending Children In Need T-Shirts to my nieces and nephew
  • Charity donation to Manchester and Cheshire Dogs Home
  • Saving water by not washing anything for the day!
  • Rounding up to make a donation to Great Ormond Street Hospital
  • Buying reusable Tupperware for lunches to use less plastic
  • Charity donation to the Costa Foundation
  • Taking part in the People’s March on Climate Change
  • RAOK – sharing actions for happiness
  • Giving money to a homeless person
  • Meat-free Mondays – these are now part of our routine
  • Charity donation to Anthony Nolan
  • RAOK – public appreciation of my fabulous boyfriend
  • Taking old wooden bed slats to be reused rather than throwing them away
  • Charity donation to Cancer Research UK
  • Buying tickets for the Macmillan Autumn Raffle
  • Supporting the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal by buying a bracelet
  • Rounding up a payment to donate to the World Food Programme and Children in Need
  • Charity shop donation of old gaming equipment to support Jack’s Place and Naomi House
  • Sponsoring someone completing Sober October to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support

Now you probably haven’t counted, but I only got as far as listing no. 269 and hadn’t really written any comments reviewing things: I’d hit a wall. This was ridiculously time-consuming and I just wanted to be done with it if I’m honest. I don’t really need to comment on every single thing, do I?

So here is action no. 365 and what I actually learnt/achieved last year:


  1. If you want to make a small one-off donation to a charity, make sure there is no way they can trace you, otherwise they will spend every penny of that donation trying to get more money from you. (This is probably also ruining my post-man’s day… sometimes I just look at the envelopes and all my mail goes straight in the recycling, so not good for the environment either really…)
  2. You can only do so much and invest so much, both financially and personally. I cannot do 6 shifts a month for Samaritans and be a conservation volunteer and take part in marches and protests in London and… etc. So I’m a Samaritans volunteer, I work full-time and I’m doing a Masters – that’s enough for now.
  3. It doesn’t matter how big or small an action is – just do something! So I’m not using soap-nut shells for my laundry, I don’t always offset the carbon footprint of my travel and I regularly forget my reusable shopping bag; but I do look out for environmentally friendly hotels, I’ve reduced my plastic waste and use less disposable items and eventually I might remember the shopping bag more often than I forget it.
  4. Give a damn. It seems obvious, but it’s very easy to stop caring or to ignore the things we don’t want to deal with, but if we all cared just a little bit more, about others and the world we live in, we can change it and make it better.

Thank you to all the fellow bloggers who inspired and supported me last year.


364. Helping a stranger


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How often do you get the chance to help a complete stranger?

We had the chance twice in one night on New Year’s Eve…

A woman and her son were trying to light their sparklers just after midnight and asked us for a lighter, my boyfriend stepped in and persevered, despite the apparent risk of burning and eventually sparks began to fly and their faces lit up. We couldn’t speak their language, nor they ours, but it was interesting realising how much we all have in common. When midnight struck in each country everyone celebrated in similar ways sharing the joy of the past year’s successes and hopeful for happiness in the year to come.

(My partner assured me he’d have got bored of trying to help them and moved on if it hadn’t been for my blog.)

A little further down the street a woman was walking on her own. She had dressed up for the evening and I remember remarking that to be on her own almost immediately after midnight suggested she hadn’t had the most successful evening: I felt bad for her. She walked towards us and asked if she could walk with us, she was a little uncomfortable walking alone. There were drunks and fireworks everywhere! No problem, we replied, but our hotel was just down the road. When we reached the hotel, my boyfriend asked how much further she had to go and escorted her the rest of the way home. (Admittedly, as I walked into the hotel I questioned the wisdom of this on a number of levels… however, all was well.)

If you get the opportunity today see how far out of your way can you go to help someone, because it feels great to know that you’ve made someone a little happier, a little safer or both.

363. Supporting Wildlife Aid


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Many people have been busy working over the festive period, but how many of them have rescued a python from a fridge?


If that doesn’t deserve a little bit of support, I don’t know what does!

The Wildlife Aid Foundation is dedicated to the rescue, care and rehabilitation of sick, injured and orphaned wild animals.

Established in 1980, the charity’s veterinary hospital in Leatherhead, Surrey deals with more than 20,000 wildlife emergencies every year. Their policy is to return every patient to the wild once they have recovered. The Foundation’s work is the focus of the popular TV series Wildlife SOS on Discovery Channel’s ‘Animal Planet’.

I’ve made a donation by sending a text stating WILD and the amount, eg. WILD3, to 70300.

362. Adding a donation when you shop…


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I was thoroughly spoilt by my boyfriend this Christmas. In the process of his gift shopping he informed me that he also added a donation to Rays of Sunshine Children’s Charity whilst paying for one of my gifts.

The charity was formed in 2003 to brighten the lives of children living with serious or life-limiting illnesses, between the ages of 3 and 18, across the UK.

So that was just another little thing that he did for me… and hopefully it helped someone else’s Christmas wishes come true.


361. Giving for a good cause


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I was forced to go out for supplies today… much to my disgust, I mean what sane person would go out to buy anything, on Boxing Day, as the sales are beginning?

Confident that everyone else was a retail therapy crazed lunatic desperate for bargains, I took the long way to the supermarket walking around the outside of the shopping centre. However, outside the shop I saw another person who was not a bargain shopper; they were collecting for Help for Heroes.

Grumpy as I was about leaving the house for a couple of essentials today, this person had chosen to go out and brave the crowds to raise money for a cause they cared about: fair play to them. They could have been at home with their family or watching Christmas TV, instead they were outside in the cold, in the midst of the shopping madness. I made a donation.

360. The Nelson Mandela Book Drive


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This year marks the first year of Madiba’s passing and to keep his legacy alive, the Nelson Mandela Foundation aims to collect 67 000 books towards promoting literacy over a period of 3 months. Starting from 1st December 2014.

Every book bought on the website will be donated to the project: http://www.bookpeople.co.za/nelson-mandela-drive/

I’ve bought a book.

359. Helping those in need


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As I bustled about the town centre yesterday, taking care of a couple of odds and ends, I passed a Big Issue seller. To be honest he was looking a little down, which is fairly unusual, and didn’t say anything as I passed.

I realised he’d probably been there most of the day and actually that I could spare the £2 change that was in my purse. I wouldn’t get round to reading the magazine at the moment, so I simply walked back to him and gave him the money. Hopefully he managed to get himself a hot drink to keep him going…

358. Random act of kindness


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This morning we got the post for a property in a nearby road by mistake. I decided the best thing to do was deliver it by hand – to make sure they got their card before Christmas! Then I added a little note explaining what had happened and a festive packet of sweets before I popped it through their door.

Hopefully they won’t be suspicious and will enjoy the gesture!

357. Supporting victims of acid attacks


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I was moved to act after reading a post today:


I’ve made a donation to Acid Survivors Trust International. http://www.acidviolence.org/ I find it hard to understand how one human being could do this to another and living with the effects must be incredibly difficult…

In case you are ever at the scene and need to help a victim of an acid attack, please read and follow the advice below:

First Aid Information

Pre-hospital Approach to Acid and Burns Patient Management

1. S.A.F.E approach: as for all pre-hospital emergencies

Shout/call for help
Assess the scene
Free from danger
Evaluate the casualty

2. Stop the burning process (in case of fire for example: stop, drop and roll); remove the burning source.

Remove all burnt/burning clothing (unless stuck to the patient) and jewellery making sure that the First Aider doesn’t sustain acid burns themselves to their hands or other parts!

The most critical aspect of acid burn care is the constant and prolonged washing of the area with water at a room temperature to get the acid out immediately! It will benefit the victim immensely to be taken to the nearest source of running water for dousing for at least half an hour to try and wash the acid away before subsequent care.

3. The patient should be rushed to specialized medical care or dial the emergency number. If suitable first aid is not provided to the patient the procedure becomes lengthy and increases patient suffering.

Bring bagged clothing to hospital for examination.

4. All treatments need to be conducted in sterile environments and antiseptic dressings and antibiotics should be provided along side.

5. If the wound is painless there is a chance that the wound is deep. Superficial burns are more painful and the patient should be aided with painkillers.

6. An early recognition, leading to immediate help and then eventual reconstructive surgery all lead to less scarring, less deformity and speed up the rehabilitation process.

The Love of a Mother and Her 3 Year-old Daughter, who Were Attacked With Acid by Their Husband/Father

Kindness Blog

Somayeh Mehri (29) and Rana Afghanipour (3) are a mother and daughter living in Bam, southern Iran.

They were attacked with acid by Somayeh’s husband Amir.

Somayeh Mehri (29) with her daughter Rana Afghanipour Somayeh Mehri (29) and her daughter Rana Afghanipour (3) give each other a kiss. Since their disfigurement in an acid attack, they say, others don’t like to kiss them.

Somayeh had frequently been beaten and locked up by her husband, and finally found the courage to ask for a divorce. Amir warned her that if she persisted in her attempts to leave him, she would not live out life with the face she had.

One night in June 2011, he poured acid on Somayeh and Rana as they slept. Somayeh’s and Rana’s faces, hands, and, in places, their bodies were severely burned. Somayeh was blinded, and Rana lost one of her eyes.

Somayeh Mehri (29) and Rana Afghanipour

Somayeh’s father sold his land in order to raise money to pay…

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