I wanted somewhere to permanently keep the blog entries from when I gave up caffeine in 2012 to raise money for Sanctuary for Kids. So this is what this page is. $200 raised in a week, and who knows, it might happen again in a slightly different fashion.

31st January 2012

The day before NoCaffNat begins.

It’s the day before NoCaffNat begins. I have to admit that I didn’t quite realise what I was letting myself in for
when a couple of months ago I decided that giving up caffeine for S4K was a good idea.

My friend, Julia, warned me to wean myself off slowly before the big event and I thought she was nuts, but I reluctantly agreed and have taken out one of my regular caffeine supplies (diet coke) and replaced it with the
caffeine free alternative. I’m glad she did, I’ve already had headaches and moments of extreme lethargy and I
haven’t taken out the tea and chocolate yet.

The taste of the caffeine free Diet Coke isn’t all that different really, but the headaches have been something else. This might be explained by highlighting what it’s like on a normal day when alternatives aren’t on the menu.

Take today, if I wasn’t already replacing the diet coke, I’d have had:

· 6 cups of tea

· 3 cans of diet coke

· 5 chocolate bars

And that is just at work. When I get home there’s another:

· Can of Pepsi Max

· Chocolate bar

· 2 cups of tea.

That is the average caffeine day for me and that’s not including the extra stressful days.

Right now, as I embark on this journey, I’m grateful for four things:

1. Four of my friends have already donated, so I can’t back out.

2. My wonderful fiancée has agreed to do it with me even though she’s not doing it for charity.

3. A certain supermarket on my way into work, sells all the alternatives I need for this week.

4. I got paid today so i have stocked up on the above.

As Thomas pointed out to me when I announced this mad cap idea to the rest of the Small Pebbles team,
sacrifice for others is a good thing. I just hope I make it through the next week okay. And that it helps raise
more funds for such a good cause.

1st February 2012

The first day of NoCaffNat

This blog was written in sections throughout the day and then sent to Cyn to put on the website. I think this is
the way I’ll do it every day.


No chocolate. No caffeinated beverages. The hardest things so far have been the lack of caffeine upon waking
and the chocolate cravings. Thanks to one of Amber Benson’s followers on Twitter (babyridge116), my headache went from full blown to non-existent. She advised me to use B vitamins to help with the cravings. And isotonic sports drinks do not have caffeine and have added B vitamins. Half a 500ml bottle and my headache disappeared. YAY for tips on how to keep going!

My energy levels are about the normal, at the moment. They’re usually up and down due to the CFS anyway. So they’ve been on a par. I’m a little more grumpy than usual but then Mike just ate chocolate in front of me. And I’m craving it so badly and feeling like someone’s taken away my favourite toy. Then I remember that someone is me and that I’m doing it for a good cause. Come on Nat. 6.5 days is all you have left.


I’m starting to think this was a bad idea. I’m feeling sluggish and my brain and body are begging for sleep. I won’t be home til at least 8:30pm as Ju’s school have some Shakespeare thing on and right now watching 9 and 10 year olds butcher the Bard is not what I want to do.


The show wasn’t that bad. Actually the kids were pretty good. They served tea and coffee and juice at the interval and I was good and had juice, avoided the chocolate biscuits and went for crisps instead. I’m tired but actually despite my moaning earlier today hasn’t been that bad. Got another donation today from one of the girls at work. Another $20 for the pot.

2nd February 2012

Day 2 of my trip into NoCaffHell


Wow am I a grumpy mare without caffeine! This morning when Kidlet came downstairs, every noise she made irritated me for no particular reason. I love that child like she was my own, but wow, me without caffeine apparently equals me with PMS like symptoms. I had to stop myself from snapping at her. Which a) would have upset her and b) would have made my headache this morning much worse. That headache was pure evil. I also realised that my normal caffeine intake reduces my arthritis pain marginally. Today is as cold as yesterday was, but on the way in my pain doubled. Caffeine leaving my system is having insane side effects.

An interesting development has been the PMS-like symptoms. I feel like I do once a month, every month but without the cramping. I am close to tears on and off and craving chocolate like there is no tomorrow. I feel like I’m on the mother of all mood swing cycles. And the day seems to be going slow to spite me, no matter that I’ve been busy all morning and am only getting lunch now. Time to take some more Vitamin B I think.


Shoot me now! I mean it. I am a fool for putting myself through this. Is it for a good cause? Yes. Am I trying to raise money in order to give children in other countries a better life? Yes. Am I impressed by the side effects? No.

I am seriously looking forward to Wednesday when I can eat chocolate again. I nearly gave up today. Nearly. But I haven’t and I won’t. Manda reminded me that it’s worth it, and I will continue. But I’m only doing this ONCE this lifetime. It’s worse than trying to quit smoking!

What I need to keep me going are more donations and… well to be able to remind myself that I can see Amanda Tapping in three weeks and tell her all about this.

3rd February 2012

Day 3 and NoCaffHell becomes NoCaffHeaven

I’m myself again. I’m not feeling hormonal. I have a headache still, but it’s marginal. I’m not all over the place. I’ve had a good day in that respect. No more diet coke cravings. A fair few chocolate ones but they have been more manageable today. So when it comes to my daily routine, things are looking up.

Tomorrow will be the real test, charity shop shopping, probably coffee (of course I’ll drink decaff) and a trip to the cinema with friends. All of which I’m seriously excited for, especially the cinema as we’re going to see Underworld.

Oh and who knew I’d develop an insane craving for Nakd Apple Pie bars during this thing. I ate an entire 5 pack today and still want more. They’re soooooo good.

I got the news yesterday that we will be over $120 raised so far when one of my friends puts his donation in. That made me smile, I’m hoping for more donations because it all goes to a good cause.

Tomorrow’s blog may well be appearing together with Sunday’s as I will get back late tomorrow and don’t know how tired I’ll be when I get in. But keep donating people, it’s for a really good cause. I thank you all for your words of encouragement, and above all your donations to Sanctuary for Kids. It means the world to me.

4th February 2012


So I didn’t think I was going to get the chance to type up today’s blog until tomorrow, because I was going to the cinema tonight, but the snow has made us postpone until next week. I did get to test my resolve today though as Eileen and I did manage to charity shop in Ilkley, a little village not far from where I live.

We got into Ilkley just as the snow started and headed for a little Vegetarian cafe, which serves beautiful food, but as I discovered not much variety of decaffeinated hot drinks. I did find decaff green tea and so had that, but I was kinda disappointed at the lack of variety. Also all those flaming chocolatey things they sold were not helping with my resolve but I managed to avoid all caffeine.

After a trek around all but one of the charity shops we stopped in Costa coffee, I had a decaff vanilla latte and a banana and walnut breakfast loaf. The coffee was weaker than normal but it tasted pretty good. The snow grew heavier as we sat in Costa.

Eileen got the bright idea we’d go up to The Cow and Calf pub…. yeah let’s not talk about the drive up that steep road to the pub that is situated on Ilkley Moor. The view was beautiful though and so picturesque. And instead of my normal diet coke I had an Appletiser. So yay for me resisting temptation today. It wasn’t easy, at times I severely struggled, but Eileen is a good friend and steered me away from the chocolate as all good friends would.

Day four of the NoCaffNat challenge hasn’t gone too badly. I still want chocolate to make up for the fact I didn’t get to go to the cinema, but instead I’ll settle for the cough candies I bought in Ilkley. I haven’t had them since I was little so it was nice to find them in the sweet shop there.

To all of you who read this blog and keep track of my progress, thank you. I’ve got three days left after today and I’m glad that I’m raising money for charity even if it has been a struggle at points.

Please keep your donations coming in and please spread the word. It is for a good cause after all.

5th February 2012

Day 5, I’m counting down the days til CaffNat returns.

I don’t mind the not having caffeine in my tea, don’t mind the not having caffeine in my diet coke but for the LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY I WANT MY CHOCOLATE BACK!

The cravings today have been out of control. I went to a friend’s, drank lemonade instead of tea, didn’t bother me. But dear Gods give me back my chocolate! I’m going slightly loopy without it. It’s cold weather, it’s freezing, in fact below freezing and I’m craving hot chocolate, my snow day drink and I can’t have it. I WANT it badly.

Hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows, with cocoa powder sprinkled on top. That’s what I am craving so badly it freaking hurts right now.

2 days left. I can get through this. At least I hope I can.

Please keep donating, please keep supporting me and S4K.

6th February 2012

The penultimate day of NoCaffNat

It seems fitting that today, the day where I have been extremely busy and haven’t had much time to think about cravings, that I only have one more day left of going without caffeine. Now that I’m home, I’m once again craving chocolate, but that’s okay. I can last another day. I know I can. I have the support of so many wonderful people in undergoing this endeavour. Tomorrow I’ll be thanking a few of them in my final NoCaffNat blog post. I say my final one but in reality I’ll make one more when all the money has been counted, because I feel that if you’ve made it this far in following and supporting me then you deserve to know just how much has been raised.

I haven’t really noticed that my drinks have been caffeine alternatives today. I’ve been grateful for any drink and any food, it’s been a really busy day at work, so my mind has been elsewhere and any cravings I may have had have been sated by alternatives. I’m actually considering not having as much caffeine once this is all done. I think I’ll revert to my normal Earl Grey tea though because the decaff is soooo weak. As for the diet coke, the caffeine free tastes just as good and maybe it would be good for me not to have as much caffeine, it could reduce some of the highs and lows of my cyclothemia. Now that my withdrawals are subsiding, I’m finding myself more level than I have been in a while, although not as much as Julia thought I would be.

Talking of Julia’s, one of my month’s treats turned up today that made me smile. And it’s something I think every woman should read. Julia Hague’s ‘You is for Unique’. Why am I plugging this book during my NoCaffNat blog entries? Simple – 100% of all the profits go to S4K. I read a copy that belonged to a friend and have finally bought my own, it’s an amazing book that gives every woman the message that they are not alone. So yes, this LGBTQ activist is going to sit here, whilst still requesting donations for NoCaffNat and beg you all to also buy ‘You is for Unique’.

One more day left, so plenty of time to get those donations in people. I’ve almost made it and I couldn’t have without your support. Please keep them coming in.

7th February 2012

The final day of NoCaffNat

Wow, I’ve almost made it. Just need to get through tonight and then I will have lasted 7 days without caffeine. Can’t say it’s been the easiest ride, but it’s taught me a few things about how much I depended on caffeine and also about how getting through something with support is a lot easier than going it alone. So I’m going to use this blog post to thank a few people who have been instrumental during this fundraiser.

Rachel – the ever wonderful, ever busy unofficial boss of Small Pebbles. *ducks for cover as Rachel throws something at me for calling her the boss* Rachel was the one who agreed to make this a Small Pebbles endorsed event and came up with the blog idea. Rachel I owe you big style for all your support in making this happen.

Cyn – for posting the blog posts for me each day and for being a towering strength during this time. She’s also promised me proper Swiss chocolate as a reward. Nothing could be better than that right now. The chocolate cravings will not go away. Thanks honey.

Manda – for doing this with me, even though she wasn’t fundraising. My wonderful fiancée went through every moment of this with me, quitting as well in order to support me and to reassure me I wasn’t the only one who went through withdrawals. She even donated too. Thank you my darling.

Thomas – every day we have spoken on Skype IM, and every day you have started it with a count of how many days and told me how much you support me. Talk about good friend. Thank you.

Sara, John Goode, Geonn Cannon and everyone else who has retweeted requests for retweets and the daily blog posts – you guys are awesome for your support and I love all of you. Also doesn’t hurt that the three mentioned at the beginning of this thank you are dear friends.

All those who have donated so far – Whilst I won’t reveal full details of money yet, you’ve helped this fundraiser reach nearly $200. That’s not bad at all. I’m still hoping we can make it reach that $200 by the end of today. Maybe even by the time I get home from work tomorrow.

Can we make that one last push and reach over $200 for Sanctuary for Kids?!?

8th February 2012

A little update on the monies raised during NoCaffNat

So I wanted to quickly update you all. Whilst one email failed to come through, I know the donation was made and, NoCaffNat has raised… drum roll please…

$200 for Sanctuary for Kids

That’s right thanks to the wonderful people who donated during my week of no caffeine, $200 was raised for S4K. That equates to 10 bricks on one of the houses of the main campaign. So thank you so very much for your donations. It means a lot to me.


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