Life

Marie Louise McConville: I'm happy to give to deserving charities - but don't appreciate late night cold callers

Marie Louise did not appreciate being targeted in her home at night by a charity trying to sell her a donation subscription

I like to think I'm quite a giving person.

I like to help out where I can and when I'm met with the sight of a charity collection box, I do my bit - if I can.

With so many charities in need these days it can be hard to pick and choose a good cause to support. And as we can't support every single one of them, each of us makes a choice.

Of course, like everyone else, it's not always possible to find the necessary coinage for those who volunteer their time on behalf of charities, often standing in cold, wet and windy conditions.

However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to pick and choose a charity to support as we are confronted on almost every street corner, in every supermarket and even along our roads by charity volunteers.

In recent years, the charities have also adopted the approach of calling at people's homes in a bid to convince householders to take out monthly subscriptions.

When I was on maternity leave with both Abbie and James, my door was knocked regularly by individuals working on behalf of charities who wanted me to sign up to a monthly direct debit for their good cause.

And while I accept they are all good causes, which do wonderful work for those in need, I do not like being given the hard sell at the front door of my home. It's awkward.

Of course, what really annoys me is charities calling at my home late at night, when it is dark outside and even when my curtains are pulled across my front door.

With two small children, evenings in our house can be hectic enough with baths and pyjama time and toast before bed and then settling down and I really don't like my door being knocked at 8pm by two strangers. It's like they waited around until we came home and got settled just to ensure we were in.

Opening the door the other night, my husband was confronted by two guys who were calling on behalf of a well-known UK-wide children's charity. They soon launched into over-friendly conversation about what a lovely development we lived in and how our neighbours are such friendly people.

They told us they were working for this charity and were looking people to pay £2 a month to fund a project.

Abbie and James were running around and it was obvious we were quite busy but they kept on and on until eventually, I had to tell them that we needed to settle the kids and we needed to close the door, which we did, after saying goodbye and thank you.

I really was quite annoyed that this charity, which I would have a lot of respect for, would target people's doors at 8 o'clock at night.

And while I did feel for the two guys - as it's a hard job - I did not like the plea being made to me on my doorstep with my two children running around.

Here's the thing, if I want to give to a certain charity, I will do so.

I used to feel bad about not being able to give a donation to every single charity box I pass but now I don't because it's simply not possible.

I don't like being purposely targeted, especially not at my home and especially not in the evenings when I'm spending time with my family.

I really think this is a step too far.

Charity may begin in the home but I feel my home is my personal space and it's really not where I want to feel cornered and under pressure to hand over my bank details.

It's not on and maybe charities need to start accepting that.

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Competition

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What's Hot?

Sparkle - Get the popcorn at the ready, Strictly Come Dancing starts back tomorrow night with all the usual sparkle, glamour and sequins. Not sure who my money is on just yet but there's sure to be some fun along the way.

Quirky - I am loving the new series of The Great British Bake-off on Channel 4 and in particular, quirky co-presenter, Noel Fielding. I think he's fun and I adore his one-liners. More please.

Laughs - Comedy duo, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders are to reunite for a Christmas special to mark the 30th anniversary of the first series of their sketch shows. Great news.

So Not!

Postpone - Lady Gaga has been forced to postpone the European leg of her World Tour due to "traumatic and chronic pain". Oh dear.

Split - Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie and Transformers star Josh Duchamel (so handsome) have announced they are to split after eight years of marriage. Sad news.

Retirement - Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, one of opera's most celebrated stars, has announced that she will never sing in public again. The 73-year-old, who has performed at some of the world's most famous opera houses and concert halls, said she didn't "want to hear my voice".

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Competition

The winners of the Don't Close Your Eyes competition are Joan McShane, from Co Down, Kieran Quinn, from Co Antrim, Patricia DeOrnellas, from Belfast, Sinead Owens, from Enniskillen, and Leona McAlister, from Co Antrim

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Easy Peasy Recipe

This week's Easy Peasy Recipe is Toffee Apple Bread and Butter Pudding

You will need:

3 red dessert apples

juice of 1/2 lemon

4 tbsp golden caster sugar

397g tin caramel

6 brioche finger rolls, sliced into rounds

3 eggs

400ml full-fat milk

200ml double cream

1tsp vanilla extract

To Make:

Core the apples and slice them into rings and then lay them in a bowl of the lemon juice mixed with a one tbsp of sugar.

Spread around 2 /3 of the caramel over the base of a baking dish.

Layer the brioche and apple rings in the dish in overlapping lines. Dot spoonfuls of the leftover caramel on top of the mixture.

In a bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, cream, vanilla extract and 1 tbsp sugar and then pour the mixture over the brioche and apples, making sure it's all well covered. Wrap in foil and leave in the fridge overnight.

Heat oven to 170C/Gas Mark 3.

Scatter the remaining sugar on top of the baking dish and bake for 50 mins until the top is golden.

Serve with ice cream.

Do you have an Easy Peasy recipe you would like to share?

Are you the queen of quiches, magnificent at muffins or can you turn out some nice scones?

If so, then we want to hear from you.

You can send your name, address, contact number and recipe (plus photo if possible) to:

Easy Peasy Recipes,

Marie Louise McConville,

Irish News

113-117 Donegall Street,

Belfast,

BT1 2GE

or

m.mcconville@irishnews.com

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