All Counties Craft Challenge Diary – Down To Dunoon, South To Staffordshire and Diseased At Doncaster

With the challenge entering it’s final few weeks you may think that it would have been easy going from this point – think again!

When last I left you I had just return safely to mainland UK and was heading into slightly rocky weather and had more workshops to do.

Many, many surprises were in store for me over the next few days.

So, if you’ve got your cuppa at the ready I shall began my wafflings.

All Counties Challenge Header

The first part of this journey saw me travelling down from Aberdeen to Dunoon. A journey that I decided to spread over a day.

As you saw in the last post, the weather on the way down turned a tad rocky.

Thankfully this didn’t follow me across the country and stayed mostly in the east.

To break the long journey up I dropped in on my friends in Nielston for a coffee and a loo break and a natter – to be honest, this stop was a little longer than I anticipated so by the time that I left to head over to Dunoon it was heading towards dusk.

What I hadn’t remembered was that there was another ferry to be involved in this journey.

Having literally only just got off the Shetland ferry at 0630 that morning I really wasn’t overjoyed about this but still, in for a penny in for a pound and I gave them a call to ask about tickets.

Oddly I had to go to a local shop to buy them so first job was to get there and then get to the ferry waiting area.

Basically there is a gate between me and the sea.

Not reassuring, lol!

Thinking back to the previous twelve hour journey that I had made by boat I had a look online to see how long this would take.

Tiny. I wondered how long it would take via road instead … TWO HOURS?!!!

I chose to wait for the ferry and began to wonder why noone had ever just built a bridge.

Thankfully this train of thought was ended by the arrival of the ferry. I say ferry, foil tray with a thing on top seemed more appropriate.

We waited for the other cars to exit.

Well, none of them dropped into the sea so I reckon we’ll make it.

After nervously trundling on and taking our place amongst the twenty or so other commuters we sat back. Yep, you don’t even get out of your vehicle on this one.

I texted a couple of people and suddenly realised that the journey was over. Smooth, thankfully.

Trundling off and finding our venue for the day we parked up by the coast and got some kip – finally.

The day broke waaaay too quickly and Maisy and I headed off to set up for the day’s events.

We had been invited to Dunoon by Valerie Coleman of Colemans Cards and Crafts. Here she is all bubbly and excited …

Always good to see a smile in the morning :)

Before long things were set and the ladies were making and creating…

Valerie had even made some DELICIOUS cupcakes for us all! I was going to take a photo but by the time I remembered they were all scoffed. Whoopsie! LOL.

Anyway, the project for the day was ‘mixed media with rubber stamps’.

I came up with some cool coaster ideas and talked the ladies through the techniques and was very impressed with the variations that they created – want to see?


Cool aren’t they?!

Time to pack up and head off for the next one though. Back to the ferry – I’ve taken more ferries this month than I have in my life I think!


Next stop = Staffordshire.

This venue was called ‘Living In Lovelieness’. It is a community interest project based in Essington. They host all sorts of workshops and drop in events for all ages.

On arrival I met Kerry, the organiser, and she showed me some of the things that have featured in previous workshops.

Loving Living In Loveliness!!

This workshop was a unique one with the overall event being a Crafternoon in aid of Mind organised by Kerry and my little workshop being a separate bit of this. There was a good turnout all round and there were some great things happening – I made sure to check out the cakes that were on sale…

Delicious! My poor tummy.

You got a sneak peek at one of the projects from the workshops behind the cake above.

Here were the two things that we made.

Neat eh? Think I’ll pop them into a separate blog post in the near future.

In this workshop I did find a couple of ladies that shared my love of smelling creative things like paper and MDF…

LOL! I love crafters. Sniff it, go on, sniff it! Lol!

Bless them :)

Good to see experienced crafters creating side by side with those that had never crafted before too! Can you believe that this is her first time using glitter?!!

I even got to meet the local vicar!

*thinks* Must not swear, must not swear, must not swear.

*Vicar leaves*

Phew! Made it!

Gaffs and giggles over and time to hit the road again – time to head to Doncaster for the Crafting Live event, which would be Maisy’s last public appearance :/

The drive and the sleep shot by and it was day one! Time to quickly catch up with a couple of mates …

… before the crowds surge forth …

Busy day ahead!

Didn’t have too much time on day 1 for photos but did receive a lovely gift, with donation, that I had to share.

How sweet is that? Thank you!

Manning the donation stand as I was I didn’t get chance to have a look around :/ but did get to see this cheeky little number on the wall of the Create and Craft TV stand – hehe!

Loving the additional moustache – may try and grow one just like that!

On day 2 I did get some coasters painted and took more donations.

Quick tip – don’t put your brush water in a similar container as your coffee – *spits*

All too soon it was all over. Time to pack up and head off.

I was quite looking forward to the week ahead as I had cleared it in order to catch up on so many things including the Go Fund Me rewards.

I was also looking forward to snoozing like this guy.

Unknown to me however I was taking a little something extra from the Crafting Live event.

A virus.

A Noro Virus.

This resulted in me unwillingly and aggressively removing food from my insides through any means possible for the next two days and feeling like this guy for two more.

On the plus side I dropped a belt size and didn’t need to buy food for nearly a week so saved money :)

Did mean that everything that I had hoped to achieve this week didn’t get done. Looks like it’s going to be a busy week next week!

Well, I say everything. I did manage to finally get a place to live sorted for when I finish this challenge. I will be moving to Scotland! Quite a dramatic move but I hope that it will be an exciting one too.


Right, that just about brings this wee blog post to a close. Not long remaining on the challenge as you can see!

Don’t forget, I have been homeless, cold, sick and putting myself through all of this nonsense in order to raise awareness of mental health issues and also to raise money for Mind, the mental health charity.

If you would like to get involved there are several ways in which you can do that.

  • Make a donation on my Just Giving page.
  • Make a donation via the Create & Craft TV website; for an additional P&P charge of £2.99 you will also be sent an official challenge postcard colouring book.

Thanks for taking the time to catch up. See you again soon!

J :)

13 thoughts on “All Counties Craft Challenge Diary – Down To Dunoon, South To Staffordshire and Diseased At Doncaster

  1. Going to miss your travel news when the challenge is over – You have done Brilliantly :)
    Even better that you’re moving to Scotland, it’s fan- dabbie-dosie up here. Hugs to you :)


  2. Congratulations on finishing your challenge, and so sorry that it ended with you being so poorly. I made the decision to move to Scotland 5 years ago, and have not regretted it for a single day! Hope you are very happy in your new home x


  3. Hi John, thank you so much for coming to Scotland to visit us in Thurso and many many congratulations on everything you have achieved this last year. You are a trooper and real inspiration! I hope Scotland is everything you wish for and more, good luck! Xx


  4. You really have had an eventful journey. Thank you so much for keeping us entertained for a really worthy cause. You have achieved so much and am sure have made lots of new friends along the way. I shall miss your travelogue but am sure you will still be posting about your new life in Scotland. Sy x


  5. Well you don’t do things by half do you John ….what an eventful week or so you’ve had. Not to mention an eventful, challenging, inspiring, funny and numerous other adjectives I could use to describe your last 12 months. Glad to hear you are feeling better. You are an amazing fella you should feel enormously proud of yourself. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts. Hope the move to Scotland works well. I will miss seeing you pop up in my ‘in box’. Best wishes for the future. Karen


  6. Well done John, You’ve done so really well. Hope you are feeling better soon. Really enjoyed following you on your travels and meeting you at Epsom last year. Such a proper gentleman. Hope you will be happy in your new home. Ruth


  7. So sorry to hear about you falling ill, John, and well done for getting back on track. Your blog has been a joy to read all the way through, and I am just so sad that I didn’t manage to make one of your workshops in Dumfries. Of course, if you are moving up here, maybe there will be other chances to catch up with one (or more) of your workshops, because I really do need to learn a lot, being a beginner! Your fund-raising has been exceptional, and what an inspiration to others. Thank you for all you have achieved.


  8. You poor soul! I do so love the positive way you look at life with all of your clouds having a silver lining. You’ve made a big decision by moving to Scotland and I hope that everything works out perfectly for you. Looking forward to reading about your progress on your website. Good luck! Liz X

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sorry to hear you’ve been ill John hope your feeling better. Glad to hear you are moving to Scotland, as you have already experienced our weather it shouldn’t be too much of a shock. Will miss your diaries but wish you all the best for the future. x Sheena

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Sorry that you have been so unwell and hope you are feeling a lot better. Shall miss all the news about your travels but did enjoy the workshop you did at Thatcham. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi John, so pleased you’re feeling better! it feels weird to think the challenge us coming to an end, it’s kind of become a part of my day checking up on what you’ve been up to! I was lucky enough to attend a great challenge weekend with you last November which I will always remember. “Well done” just doesn’t seem adequate for all that you’ve done over the past twelve months or indeed what you’ve achieved both personally and for Mind! you should be so, so proud of yourself John you really are an amazing guy!
    wishing you all the very, very best for your future! love n hugs Sue xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks for travelling all the way to our wee shop in Dunoon John. We all had a great day and learned loads. Sorry that you weren’t feeling too well afterwards and glad you’re feeling better now. Congrats on the move to Scotland too. I’m sure you’ll love it.
    Thanks again
    Valerie xx

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi John

    You poor thing! I hope you’re fully recovered now and feeling much better.

    You’ve really covered the miles this past week or so, the workshop looked like great fun and what a lovely little craft shop!

    Moving to Scotland… How exciting! A place I always wanted to visit (land of my ancestors) the scenery alone would excite me but also some cracking craft shops (that luckily do online delivery!!!). You’re a very lucky boy I think :-)

    I did like the signed board at Doncaster, what a brilliant keepsake, kudos to the lovely person who donated a handmade gift and well done all those who popped money in the pot.

    Not long to go now, I shall miss your travel diary!

    Hoping you and your readers are doing well and the clouds are keeping away from you all.

    Big hugs,

    T x

    Liked by 1 person

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