Monday, 27 December 2010

Leftovers

Daughter is not impressed that we're having leftovers AGAIN today.

I, however, subscribe to the theory that I cook so much on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, that I get until the end of the 27th before I have to do anything other than warm stuff up.

I even specifically cook a ham on Christmas Eve while preparing everything else, that is then set aside for Boxing Day onwards.

I don't think I am that big a meany, after all, she is able to choose from:
  • turkey
  • stuffing
  • ham
  • pork pie
  • Stilton
  • smoked salmon
  • filo prawns
  • mini quiches
  • Jacobs Crackers (why do we ALL want the digestive ones when they are the only biscuit in the box you cannot buy separately)
  • bread
Not like I am thrusting a turkey sandwich in her hand and telling her to lump it!

Hope you had a good Christmas and have a great Hogmanay!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

familiar? oh yes!





So, this time last year, I took part in Jen on the Edge's Holiday Homes tour. I'm taking part again, but for those of you who saw our decorations last year, this is going to seem eerily familiar. I take pride in the fact that our house looks the same (mess) every year.

This year, the only changes are centred around the tree:
  • the tree is slightly smaller which does at least mean we don't snag on the branches as we walk in the room
  • we have a new stand, the four plastic legged stand that we've had for years had a leg snapped off in the tree-putting-up, so I have acquired a circular one with a foot pump that clamps onto the tree. It seems much easier but I am reserving judgement until we get through the next couple of weeks without the tree going splat
  • and finally, the tree was wholly decorated by the children this year. This has resulted in what can only be described as a melange on the front of the tree and a single strand of tinsel on the back. From the street, it looks like we couldn't afford baubles. From the living room, it looks like Christmas threw up on the tree. Love it!
Here's the guide to what you can see:
  1. The paltry decorations in daughter's room, thanks to an ill-timed strop which means her brother got all the spare Christmas lights for his room...
  2. ...as you can see here!
  3. The Daleks on top of the bookcase - actually they are there all year but they inevitably end up being played with at Christmas so I am counting them
  4. My Christmas glass bells, bought in Austria in 1994 - they predate even meeting my husband and are precious to me because they represent "adult" Christmas, ie Christmas not at my mum and dad's house. Every year I am thrilled to take them out and find they are still intact, long may that last
  5. The Christmas Minis Tirith - came with a DVD boxset years ago, immediately became our Christmas table centrepiece for every year to come
  6. The heavily laden tree
  7. The star for the top of the tree
  8. The Christmas barbed wire - bought with my then boyfriend now husband to decorate the shared house where we lived, and put up for the 15 subsequent Christmases! Mangy, horrible looking, a crucial part of Christmas
  9. A reindeer card with baby son's feet and a Christmas wreath with baby daughter's hands - both are big galumphing school kids now and love seeing just how tiny they once were
  10. The string of candy canes is one of my favourite decorations, this year on our Paul Klee print
  11. Merry Christmas - I made this, back when I did cross stitch, I don't do it any more but this is one of the pieces I was most proud of. I didn't frame much, but I am glad I framed this.
  12. The thing that hangs along the mantlepiece - don't know what it is called!
  13. Our nativities: a Playmobil one, a painted wooden one and a solid wood one, plus a star Christmas tree, Santa and his sleigh, a few others bits and pieces...and son's apple juice!
That's our Christmas, apart from a few strands of tinsel round all the pictures, a cuddly snowman next to the tv, and a wreath on the front door. But it's dark now, so I can't get a picture of that!

Friday, 3 December 2010

Tiny taste

Here's a tiny taste of what we have planned for Brownies from Jan to July, incorporating all the things they love like new skills, making things and food!
  • Japan
  • division challenge
  • Chinese New Year
  • Thinking Day
  • Movies
  • Ceramics
  • Chips
  • the Royal Wedding
  • Healthy Heart
  • America
  • lots of outdoor stuff
Plus a division thinking day zoo visit, first aid training for the leaders, a district masked ball and a sleepover

More details will follow!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Last Brownies of 2010 tonight

Finishing early I know, but next week is the school nativity which means we lose our hall and although none of our Brownies are in it, many have younger brothers and sisters who are (and I have a son who is in it for the last time before he moves to the Juniors section of the school *sniff*) so no point running the meeting elsewhere. The week after, the school breaks up that day, so we don't meet either.

So this will be us until 2011! Time to say goodbye to two Brownies off to Guides in January, with two newbies starting then too. We haven't planned next term yet, our meeting is tomorrow night so there's more to come!

Friday, 26 November 2010

Kitted out

I took my daughter to the dentist to have six teeth out today as the first step towards having a brace, it actually went pretty well, much quicker than we thought and she admits it wasn't as bad as she thought.

For various reasons, our dentist is an hour away from us, in so we left in plenty of time for the appointment. With a very smooth run through, we ended up there half an hour early so I took advantage and slipped into the Guide shop in that city...for locals its the one in Princess Road East, I know at least one reader will know where that is!

Our local Guiding shop is run by volunteers and only open 6 hours a week and you have to order pretty much everything. This one? Based in county office, open for hours at a time, plenty of stock, it was heaven! I bought the things I needed: 10 Hostess badges, 2 Brownie leaving badges and 4 Sixer badges.

I also bought things I didn't need so much but have been coveting!
  • a zip up Guider hoody - so comfortable and warm
  • a formal Guiding shirt, I've got away with not owning one as the old formal shirt was this awful awful stripey number but a new version has just been brought out and it's lovely - fitted and flattering...sadly, no pic of it from the online shop, it is that new but it is a pale blue slightly stiffened fabric with a pink insert on the collar
  • and an I survived 20/10/2010 badge
I got daughter a little monkey keyring with a Guide t-shirt, she clutched it throughout having her teeth pulled!

Friday, 19 November 2010

Blast from the Harry Potter past

With the launch of the Harry Potter movie, here's a blast from the past: when my Brownies met JK Rowling.

(This memory was brought to you by the letter S, for Smalltownmom, who has her own special Harry Potter story)

Monday, 15 November 2010

Remembrance Sunday

13 Brownies + 4 leaders + 1 Guide + 1 Beaver Scout = our showing for Remembrance Sunday - I was very pleased with the turn-out.

Of course we weren't the only ones there, the village we are part of the district of had Beavers, Cubs and Scouts there (our token Beaver Scout was my son, he goes to a different group in a different district but because my daughter had a taekwondo tournament my husband had taken her so my son had to come with me), plus there were a few Brownies from the village with their leader, plus all the veterans, Royal British Legion and quite a lot of regular church-goers.

As well as my daughter, we were missing one leader and YL, they attended a ceremony at the leader's godson's military college.

It was cold, threatening rain, and the girls huddled together like penguins. But I told each one how proud of them I was for turning out.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

So simple and so much fun

Before half-term, we looked back through the scrapbook of everything we have done in the Centenary Year. It was meant to be a 10 minute time filler but turned into 40 mins as the girls recalled the fun and said what they had enjoyed the most.

Most popular answers to that question?

So we decided to give the parents the chance to see everything too, it was meant to be an evening where we set out all the pages, and parents could come and look, and chat...it didn't pan out like that but it DID pan out very well.

Some girls wanted to turn it into a chance to do their hostess badge, so the first week we planned. In their sixes they decided who they would invite, what entertainment they would provide, and what refreshments they would offer. Then we discussed it all together in pow-wow (we just call it circle though) then back to the sixes to make the invitations.

Not everyone wanted to do their hostess badge, those that did were told they had to make a table decoration on the theme of 100 between week one and two. About half did.

So, week two, we set out tables and seats for 70 people, the girls had a quick practice of their entertainment and laid out the drinks and snacks. Then 30 mins later the parents and siblings came back (out of the 23 girls present, 21 sets of parents and siblings came, one didn't come at specific request of their daughter, haven't established why the last lot didn't send someone).

Each family was welcomed into the hall by their Brownie, thanked for coming, shown to a seat and offered refreshment. Then the entertainment included playing Red Letter (parents too) and Musical Statues, a rendition of Jingle Bells on piano, flute and bells (with a solo from one newly-enrolled Brownie who was the only one brave enough to sing), When the Saints Go Marching In on the clarinet and a dance to the Black Eyed Peas!

Finally the girls cleared up and we were done!

A few parents did flick through the scrapbook (with so many people in the room and needing space for games we couldn't put it out as separate pages) but the original aim didn't really matter, what mattered is that the girls planned, executed and cleared up the whole evening and their parents were very proud, as were we.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Deleted an actor

Remember I posted about this news story?

Check out this BBC News story: [that actor bloke] turned up at a London primary, dressed as [that character], after a nine year old wrote him a letter.

And what was that nine year old wearing while chatting to the news reporter? A 2nd Greenwich Guiding sweatshirt, did you spot the trefoil right in the middle?

Ever since, I've been getting thousands of hits a day - flattering, but simply because the pic I used turned up on the first page of Google Images when people search for him. It's made it hard to keep an eye on how the blog is doing, so I've deleted the post, but wanted to keep the story link.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Are you a Guiding unit? Do you use easyfundraising?

Because if you don't, you really are missing out on free money, ignore this if you don't help at a UK charity but do read it if you do!

My Brownies have been given just over £500 over four years and seeing that amount on our total made me want to make sure all the leaders from other units that read this blog are signed up too. I know I sound all salesy, but seriously, £125 a year is a boon for the unit.

By using the links on the easyfundraising site to visit online shops, a percentage of whatever your supporters spend with each retailer goes to you as a donation. So, when a supporter spends £100 with M&S online, they’ll raise £2.50 for you without it costing them any more than if they had gone directly to the site. Some donations can be as much as 15% of the purchase price. Purchasing with insurers like Direct Line, Churchill, More Than and Aviva will generate a one-off donation, I switched our house insurance a couple of years ago and earned £50 for our Brownies, but that is the single big amount we've had, mostly it is 20p here, 75p there but it all adds up.

It’s much cheaper for retailers to sell goods online than in the high street so they’re happy to pass part of the extra profit to your organisation as a donation.

Use this link http://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/referral/679 to sign up for free. When you sign up via this link my Brownies will receive a thank you from easyfundraising for referring you. Don’t worry, this won’t affect the amount you raise and when you’ve signed up, you can introduce new groups and benefit in the same way.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Save the planet...

350 pounds of carbon were just offset in my name.

What am I talking about? Have a look on the left hand side of my blog and all will become clear...

Friday, 22 October 2010

Officially 100 - time to move forward!

The nationwide end to the Girlguiding Centenary year was Wednesday night - and we had a blast!

Across the UK, members of Girlguiding got together and made or renewed their promises at 8:10pm - more than 500,000 of us in one go.

We went to a division-organised event and the ladies that put the night together really did us proud.

The girls took part in (chaotic) Scottish Country Dancing, then there were drinks and little buns - two of our Guiders took it upon themselves to make sure the Trefoil Guild members were supplied with tea and coffee, usually the Trefoil Guild are seen manning the tea urns at events so that was a lovely gesture. Trefoil Guild is open to anyone over 18 who wants to stay connected with Guiding, generally it's retired Guiders etc, and that was certainly the case with those there on Wednesday.

Then the Vision CD was played, every event had a copy and was told what time to start it, it was 10 minutes of uplifting photos and videos of events that have taken place over the Centenary Year, with a countdown every minute: 9 minutes to go, 8 minutes to go etc. By the time we got to five minutes to go, every girl in the place was yelling it out! It ended with the Chief Guide leading the promise, followed by the Rainbow promise as this is slightly different from the rest of the organisation.

We had 5 new Brownies make their promise as well as 15 who renewed it (out of our unit of 24 we had one who didn't sign up to come, one who didn't turn up with no contact to us, and two who were ill and were able to make their promise in front of the Community Channel at home instead as the same video was broadcast on there.) so we spent the next few minutes pinning on the beautiful 20:10, 20/10, 2010 promise badge that only people who renewed their promise at 8:10pm should get.

Then we made it outside and were able to see 100 Chinese Lanterns being sent off into the sky (wholly biodegradable ones, I checked). It was a beautiful sight seeing them drift off across the valley. And that was it: back in for a quick wrap up of the night then exhausted girls off home to parents.

I was so impressed with the organisation, yes there was chaos, and queues, and milling about, but there were hundreds of people there, that's going to happen! And the organisers had thought of so many things, like there being 2 screens to see the video so that no matter where you were, you weren't "at the back" and unable to see.

Our girls really enjoyed themselves and it was a lovely way to wrap up the centenary year. Half term for us next week, and just 5 more meetings after that in 2010.

That's my daughter holding her hand up to block the camera by the way! Other 20:10 posts include:
Here's to the next 100 years!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Wednesday's the big night!

The centenary year of Girlguiding UK ends on Wednesday night, with a big celebration across the UK. Hundreds of thousands of Rainbows, Brownies, Guides, Senior Section, Leaders, other adult members and Trefoil Guild will be making or renewing their promise at ten past eight.

Why then?

It's 20:10, 20/10, 2010 - a memorable moment for us all.

What have my girls done since the centenary year began on September 5, 2009 (100 years since girls first asked Baden Powell for Scouts for girls)? Well...
  • Attended the launch party
  • Made suncatchers, dreamcatchers, puppets and other crafts
  • Learned First Aid including helping people having an asthma attack
  • Helped the following charities: Marie Curie, Send a Smile, Heart Research UK
  • Attended Remembrance Sunday
  • Pretended they were Doctor Who
  • Broadcast on the local radio station
  • Learned about World Guiding
  • Visited a fire station, a vets surgery and an observatory
  • Holidayed in London: London Eye, Centenary Maze, Platform 9 3/4, Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace (inside the gates), 10 Downing Street
  • Learned to dance and climbed all over an outdoor playground
  • Played games in the dark and jumping games outdoors, and had an Olympic Games with medals
  • Made their own ice cream sundaes and dark desserts
  • Learned about Germany and Scotland
  • Attended One World One Beat with thousands of other Guiding members
  • Met unusual animals and ridden horses
  • Learned about endangered species, and water
  • Planted daffodils
  • Went to the pantomime
  • Rehearsed and performed a show
  • Joined in a giant 100 and made 100 out of all kinds of materials
  • Made racing paper boats
  • Camped in pouring rain with the rest of the division's Guides
  • Took over an airport
  • Went to two campfires
  • Joined a wedding Guard of Honour
  • Celebrated Rosh Hashana
What a year it's been!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Blog Action Day 2010: Water

Sneakily, since the Blog Action Day topic is water, I'm reposting a post from May!
It cost all of £6, but tonight, as part of Adventure 100, we did water-tasting!
I was kind of surprised it went as well as it did.
But the girls really seemed to enjoy it!
They tried six different waters (you can see them all here); some fizzy, some not, some flavoured, some not.
They each picked a favourite and in each case, tried to guess the flavouring (or not) and the country of origin.

The waters I chose were from Wales, Scotland, England and France. The girls guessed the Caribbean, Africa, Canada and more! We had a wee talk about how much Africa needs water and how very wrong it would be to take their water!
We also talked about pumps (some of these waters involved fundraising for pumps in Africa) and how we can save water - and how we can't: as 90% of our girls live in houses under 10 years old, we already have low flush toilets so can't add water-saving devices, for example, as they use so little water already.
A success, and all for £5.42.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Scrapbooking our meetings

I started a scrapbook for the unit last September, I've posted about it before.

The plan was to have at least one page for every meeting, event and sleepover during the centenary year - and I've actually done it!

Now, since it was planned to run
from September 2009 to theCentenary end on 20th October this
year, I have just two more pages to add! This week's meeting and the Centenary end party.

Then I shall tie up the ribbons neatly and have a great reminder of a fantastic 14 months. While I think I will do more scrapbooking, I won't be producing a page per meeting again!

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Blog Action Day 2010


This year's Blog Action Day topic is water. Are you going to join in on October 15th?

Change.org|Start Petition

Friday, 24 September 2010

Just what did we do last night?

Well, we THOUGHT we were going to visit some stables, see some horses, clean some tack, maybe stroke a few horses...

No. All 26 girls (24 Brownies and 2 Guides) got 30 minutes horseriding each, courtesy of the stables. Can you believe it?

You've never seen 26 happier girls! Or 5 more panicked adults - we had to ring 21 sets of parents and ask for permission for their girls to actually ride, all we had asked for was permission for them to attend!

We managed to reach a parent for every girl, so we were sorted. Half the girls rode for the first half, while the other half were halved again and either cleaned tack or groomed a horse, then swapped.

Horse-riding lessons round here are £15. £15 x 26 girls = nearly £400 worth of horse riding last night! It was amazingly generous of the stables - yes I know most of the girls will now be pestering their parents for riding lessons and that stables is of course where they will now turn, but still. There were 10-15 girls and adults helping our girls, giving up nearly two hours of their time for us. It was fantastic!

Update: Some kind of miscommunication happened when this was arranged, and it turns out that we have now been invoiced for nearly £200 by the stables. A bit of a shock! Fortunately, we had claimed Gift Aid from the government that we can use to cover that without affecting the rest of our term's plans, but it does mean we won't have that money to use for a trip or overnight in the January term. We feel we have to pay, we can't argue we didn't get that money's worth last night, but it was definitely a shock, and explains why the girls were actually riding rather than just meeting and grooming the horses. It has taken a wee bit of a shine off it for us adults, of course we're not letting the girls know, and since we can cover it by adjusting our plans, we're not telling all the parents either.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Drama v her smartly-dressed mama

Jumping back to daughter for this one post - she was waaaay happier yesterday, so far she has been willing to concede that each day is 1% better than the day before but yesterday it was 5% better. I wondered if I over-dramatised just how bad she felt those first few days
but I read my post back and I still feel a/ her pain and b/ the fact that she's happi-ER but still not happy.

So we're getting there but wow - it's been a tough few weeks!

Now, partly to compensate for home-based misery, partly because I had a 30% off voucher and partly because I'm trying to 21st century my wardrobe (those t-shirts that end on or near my waist have all gone), I spent quite a lot in Gap yesterday. I bought:
Can I confess I already own this in a burgundy and now I own it in this grey and also a navy?Despite me being nearly 5ft 10, this dress was closer to my knees than this. So this model must be about 6ft 2 I reckon! I'm thinking with a long sleeved tee underneath?
Again, this dress was longer than this on me. It looked very smart. Although I work in a very informal office, I'm thinking this will be good for when I train clients externally, and also for parents social stuff at school rather than my same old jeans-and-nice-top.It's hard for me to find a cowl neck that doesn't make my boobs look enorme. This fit the bill.This was like wearing a hug. Goes well with the smart dress too.

I drew the line at leggings under the dresses, not quite ready to make that 21st century leap but I did feel drawn...

Friday, 17 September 2010

Part daughter part Brownies

Thanks so much to everyone who posted helpful tips to help my daughter adjust to secondary school, we're still a long way off happy with her but there's signs that she's beginning to adjust, the odd smile, the first refusal of a lift so she can walk home with some girls. There's still tears, and feeling ill through nerves, but we can see the light even if she doesn't and your comments and emails have really helped us.

Brownies went back last night, we had a full house of 24 as ever but even more shocking - every girl paid up their subs (dues for non-Brits) for the term! No chasing subs this term! Yaaaaay!
We had a meeting about Rosh Hashanah (yes a little late but we missed our meeting last week as the school needed the hall) and sorted all the consent forms for the events this term: a visit to a stables and a vet plus the 20:10, 20/10, 2010 end of the centenary year celebrations.

So back to normal for Brownies and finding a new normality for my daughter - September is all about getting into the routine, right?

Monday, 13 September 2010

Ideas to boost my daughter

Not Guiding I know, but I’m asking for help from you guys, especially those who may have been through it.

Daughter is finding the transition to secondary school tough. Nothing major has happened, but the stress of lots of little things has combined to make her say I hate secondary school this morning – and she LOVED primary school so this is very new.

The little things:

• The friends she goes with walk slower than her, she worries about being late in the morning (alternative is walking alone, which I will let her do rather than worry but I’ve told her to stick it out with her mates until she actually is late as it is better to be in a group)

• The software that registers the kids for the canteen and library keeps breaking down, she was given a penalty by her registration teacher for staying in the queue as the technician told her to, thus making her late for a lesson (this was later retracted due to the obvious injustice, but it was really upsetting for her)

• Her instrument lesson is scheduled during another lesson, so 20 mins out of the 60 mins class. She is worried about a/ not being there at the start of the main class and therefore getting a penalty (I told her her classmates will say she is at her instrument lesson) and b/ the fact that this lesson is a new subject and there is only one per week and she will miss 1/3 of it each week (can’t do a lot about that, I have told her if she finds it very hard, we can withdraw her from instrument tuition at half-term and we’ll look at having instrument tuition after school somehow)

It’s been bad enough that the school have actually rung me one day to say she was not well, she was flashing hot and cold. I am 100% certain she felt ill, but she felt ill because she was stressed about these things.

This is before we even add homework etc!

I keep telling her in a month’s time, she will be in the routine, it will all make sense to her, she will wonder why she was getting so stressed about these things now. And that when she has a problem she can’t see how to deal with, tell me, and we will work out the solution.

What else can I do – all constructive comments welcomed whether you’ve had a kid start secondary or not but particularly from those who have. My brother remembers losing his money for pictures a week into starting and scraping together the money himself and forging a note from mum saying sorry the money was late, all because he didn’t want to get into trouble. His guidance teacher pulled him out of class, showed him the note and asked him what this was all about, he confessed, and his teacher pointed out he had already handed the money in. So he remembers how tough starting a new school is, but my daughter feels like she is the only one struggling.

Update: She had more highs than lows today for the first time, she got to school on time by marching ahead of the others (suspect she may just end up walking alone), she finally got registered for the software thanks to the lady on reception who looked after her when she felt ill and arranged for her to have it done today, her instrument lesson went well and she made it to the other lesson without missing too much. She did feel ill again but managed to stay in class.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Brownies round the world: Denmark

Part 2 of a series about Brownies round the world, if you want to read part one, about Brownies in South Africa, click here.

If you were a Brownie in Denmark, you would be a Minier (as in a Mini Scout), a Smutter or a Grønsmutter depending on which group you were with. Unlike in the UK which has Girlguiding
and also Scouts that take boys and girls, in Denmark there are lots of different organisations, including:
  • The Danish Guide and Scout Association (Danish: Det Danske Spejderkorps = DDS, that's their logo, above)
  • YMCA Scouts (Danish: Kristeligt Forening for Unge Mænd = KFUM-spejderne i Danmark)
  • YWCA Girl Guides in Denmark - the Green Girl Guides (Danish: Kristeligt Forening for Unge Kvinder = KFUK-spejderne i Danmark - de grønne pigespejdere. Their Brownies (Grønsmutter) were formed in 1919.)
  • The Danish Baptist Guide and Scout Association (Danish: Danske Baptisters Spejderkorps = DBS)
  • Mission Covenant Church Scouts (Danish: Missionsforbundets Spejdere=MS)
Of these, only the YWCA (that's their logo, left) is girls only, all the others have boys and girls. DDS has over 25,000 members, YMCA is roughly equally popular, then YWCA has about 6,000, DBS has about 1,400 and MS only has a few hundred. In a country of just 5,000,000, that does show Scouting is very popular.

Like in the UK, Danish Guides are 100 years old this year, the DDS Scouts began in 1909 and Guides in 1910 - October 10th so their centenary is coming up very soon!

Danish Brownies would wear the same as Danish Guides, you buy a shirt and neckerchief and then just buy a bigger shirt as you get bigger.
You can see the DDS uniform, left and the YWCA uniform in the all-girl picture.

The YWCA promise is:

As a Guide I promise to do my best to honour God by living according to his will.
Therefore a Girl Guide should:
Speak the truth
Strive for peace
Share with others
Be a true friend
Cherish the living world
Be caring and help others
Show love and thoughtfulness in her home and community

(Spejderlov og spejderløfte
Som spejder lover jeg at gøre mit bedste for at ære Gud ved at leve efter hans vilje.
Derfor skal en spejder:
Tale sandhed
Stifte fred
Dele med andre
Være en god kammerat
Værne om naturen
Vise hensyn og hjælpe andre
Leve i hjem og samfund med kærlighed og omtanke
At høre andres meninger og danne sine egne)

Want to know more about Danish Guiding and Scouting?
DDS: http://www.dds.dk/
YMCA: http://www.kfumscout.dk/
YWCA: http://www.pigespejder.dk/
DBS: http://www.dbs.dk/

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Trivial? No, life-changing

Girlguiding UK has today launched a campaign to have airbrushed pictures labelled so that girls (and boys) don't have unrealistic expectations of how they can/should look.

Read all about the campaign here, including a petition you can sign.

Fellow Guider Kelloggsville posted on this already today, including some videos of untouched/retouched pictures.

Trivial?

Not when you consider these statistics:
  • 50 per cent of 16- to 21-year-old girls would consider having surgery to change the way they look
  • 42 per cent of 11- to 16-year-olds admit to watching what they ate or cutting down on certain foods to excess.
This campaign chimes so perfectly with the GGUK principles of letting kids be kids but arming them with the information and skills they need to become healthy, well-balanced adults.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Brownie Guard of Honour

So, the thing we were up to yesterday that I couldn't tell you about...

We were asked to be part of a surprise Brownie Guard of Honour for a Brownie leader in our district. This lady runs the unit with her mum and has just seven Brownies, and though the mum tried to arrange it using their own Brownies, because it's summer holidays she was only able to get two girls lined up.

So, she threw an appeal out to the whole district, and, despite the hols, we were able to come up with 5 Brownies, 3 Guides and 3 leaders. Two of the Brownies were mine, and the Guide was, of course, my own daughter.

It was a really nice thing to so, the bride looked really happy to see us when she came out. She did go in 20 minutes late, and we ended up having to wait an hour, so we did have some very hungry Brownies who'd put off having their lunch as they thought we'd only be there 15 mins or so but they were very pleased to be part of it.

(As most of the girls there were not mine, and I am not sure how they or their parents would feel about their pics being online, I have covered their faces in the pic. I also didn't include the bride, as I don't know if she would want her pics online.)

Thursday, 29 July 2010

On holiday but STILL Guiding!


Yes, it's the holidays here, but despite shutting down Brownies from the start of July to mid September, there's a busy few Guiding days ahead.

Tomorrow I am taking part in something very special that I have wanted to do ever since I was a little Brownie, more than ahem years ago. Details will follow after the event as it is a surprise for someone.

And this weekend my daughter heads off to Guide camp. Not to the same place as last year, this time it's an international camp, though rather handily within this country! So while she will meet Guides from all over the world, I only have to pay a UK camp rate. Woo hoo!

At the parents meeting we were warned to expect some quite smelly girls back. Although there are showers, there are going to be hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of girls there so shower time is likely to be so restricted it might be as little as once.

Nose peg will be acquired before she returns.

Friday, 9 July 2010

THIS is why we do it

Five of our Brownies left last night. One gave me a bottle of wine (lovely!) and another one's dad sent me this email today:

Dear J and Company,
Just a quick note to say thankyou for giving K such a lovely time
at Brownies.Over the time she has been with you she has grown in
confidence tremendously.Your professional approach is refreshing and
your personal attention to detail is faultless.You have always kept us
informed about forthcoming events and given us regular and continual
feedback.
The Brownies are happy and content bunch and this is due to your
outstanding leadership qualities and skills.
With K, in particular, you have taken care always over nut
products and indeed beef products too and in so doing again, time after
time, your personal professionalism always shines through.
On behalf of K and myself a sincere and big thankyou to all the Brownies gang and the very best for the future.A voluntary job
without any form of remuneration just goes to show how committed and
understanding you are for the Brownie cause.I think we are all to quick
these days to criticise.So well done and keep up the very good work.


How nice is that? I feel all warm all over!

Friday, 2 July 2010

Finished!

We started it last year and now we're finished!
What? Adventure 100.
The aim was to collect 100 points over 10 areas to get the badge.
Now, having wrapped it up, our 24 girls have points ranging between 340 and 170!

It's been a lot of fun, you can see some of the things we did if you search adventure 100 on this blog, many of which we would not have thought of if not for the ideas within the badge syllabus.

So what lies ahead?
One more meeting this school year, a campfire jointly with our sister Guide unit.

Then in September, a very animally term - we're going to do the Friends to Animals badge, and also Canada Brownies' Pet Talk badge, which a friend sent me ages ago in return for some UK badges. We're also fitting in some stuff on Jewish holidays (about the only religion none of our girls is a member of!), Healthy Heart badge, and a few other things. More details when we've sorted them!

Friday, 11 June 2010

Brownies round the world: South Africa


I thought it might be both fun, and useful, to do a series on Brownies around the world - not least because I can go back and scoop up the information when I need it. I'll add to each country if I learn more.

So, to kick off, South Africa - because the football World Cup just kicked off there.

South Africa has a really strong Guiding tradition - like the UK they are celebrating 100 years of Guiding this year.

South African Brownies are called...Brownies!

They have a lot of similarities to Brownies in Britain:

Their promise:
I promise that I will do my best
To do my duty to my God
And to my Country
To help other people
And to keep the Brownie Law.

Their law:

A Brownie is Truthful, Obedient and Cheerful

A Brownie thinks of others before herself


They have sixes, with Sixers and Seconds, their sixes include Bushbabies, Dassies,

Duikers, Hares, Squirrels and Tortoises. They can earn interest badges.


And they sing Brownies Bells to close - not quite the same as our Brownie Bells though, it goes:

O Lord Our God, Thy Children call, Teach us to love, Thee best of all.

Dreamcatching



Last night we made dreamcatchers (Baker Ross). We showed the girls what to do, but let them do it all themselves.

That resulted in a few finished, perfect dreamcatchers, a few finished but not perfect ones, a few that just ran out of time and a few that decided they would take theirs home unfinished so they could unlace them and try again to improve how it looked.

It was a good personality guide: the girl who rushed to be first then had to keep coming back for help because she was rushing, the girl who made perfect perfect flowers but took ages so didn't finish, the girl who steadily plodded through and achieved everything then helped others on her table, the girl who carefully colour-matched everything to her thread and feathers.

These cost around 50p each, you can make them for less, my daughter's Guide unit made them a while back with paper plates and a stash of beads and feathers, but this made it easy for us since we knew we had everything.

And the results were great!
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