Tuesday 19 November 2013

The In Thing - a night in for Cancer Research

I'm pleased to have been asked to share with you details of Cancer Research UK's new fundraising initiative, "The IN Thing". The charity has teamed up with a whole load of celebrities including broadcaster Edith Bowman and Twiggy, the model and fashion designer, to help you plan your perfect night in - and at the same time raise money for Cancer Research UK. They've also asked me to share my top five ideas for a night in.

But first I want to say why this charity means a lot to me. Cancer Research UK is the world's leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research, and it is partly thanks to charities like this that the survival rate for cancer has doubled in the UK over the last 40 years. Cancer Research UK is also the parent organisation of the Bobby Moore Fund, a charity for bowel cancer research that was set up by the footballing legend Bobby Moore's widow Stephanie, after Bobby died of the disease.

My grandmother also passed away from bowel cancer so in 2011 I decided to get involved with the charity. Thanks to the generosity of family, friends, work colleagues and complete strangers, I raised over £4,500 for the Bobby Moore Fund and traveled with Stephanie and more than 30 other volunteers to Namibia, where we helped renovate a school. It was an amazing experience and I felt very privileged to have been able to help in this way.

 Here are a few pictures from the project, which was very hard work but so rewarding.

Cancer Research UK's initiative The IN Thing is the perfect way to get involved closer to home. Forget queuing to get in, your feet hurting from high heels and the choice between waiting in a cold bus queue or an expensive taxi home: invite your friends over and throw a party at home instead! You can collect donations up front or afterwords or even charge an entry fee for what will certainly be a great night in. You can host your night in any time in November and register for a free party pack on the In Thing website. Cancer Research UK will be posting ideas, tips and exclusive offers on its Twitter and Facebook feeds so keep an eye on those; in the meantime here are five suggestions from me.

1. Doctor Who viewing party
This weekend millions of views will be glued to their television sets for the 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who. It's a great theme for a night in, either alongside the anniversary episode on Saturday or at any time of the year. Check out my blog post for ideas and menu suggestions (Sonic Screwdriver, anyone?) for a Doctor Who themed party.

2. Festival themed party
If you couldn't make it to Glastonbury this summer, or you did but are now missing the festival vibe, why not bring the festivals to you? Check out my food, drink, decor and entertainment suggestions for a festival themed party here.

3. Fabulous Shoes party
The idea of the IN Thing is that it's a girls' night in - and what girl doesn't love shoes? I had a shoe theme for a recent birthday party; here you can find everything from cakes to quizzes that would help you host your own shoe themed night in.

4. Russian doll theme party
Another motif I love is the Russian doll. I collected a few sets when I visited Moscow and for my birthday this year I made a Russian doll cake, decorated cookies and bought some cute props to decorate the room. And don't forget the Russian cocktails that would go down a treat for your IN Thing night in! You can read about my Russian doll theme party here.

5. Mad Hatter's Tea Party
Who says a night in has to involve alcohol? Invite your friends round for an afternoon of tea and cakes, and give it a twist with an Alice in Wonderland theme. You can buy giant playing cards online, play indoor croquet (with an inflatable pink flamingo, of course) and serve strawberry tarts. You can even dress as the Queen of Hearts if you like... as I did at my housewarming party a few years ago! There are plenty of ideas here for an Alice in Wonderland themed party.

Of course, your IN Thing doesn't have to be a themed party; sometimes there is nothing better than inviting a few friends round, getting a selection of DVDs, a bottle of wine and some popcorn. But whatever you do, remember this is your opportunity to raise money for a fantastic cause. Visit the Cancer Research IN Thing website for ideas, inspiration and details of where to send the money you have raised.

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