Thursday, 22 December 2011

It's December 22 and we finally decorated!

Yes, it does look almost exactly the same as how it looked in 2009, and how it looked in 2010, but we have at least moved on from December 12th when I showed you our Spartan tree.

We have a decorated tree:
Everything else is exactly the same as years past, with one addition - a Christmas pterodactyl attacking the Christmas Minis Tirith.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Merry Spartan Christmas: My Christmas Struggle

I'm going to get there. But right now, life is so packed, with more work hours than usual, two children with Guide/Scout activities, a sport each, me doing Brownies, husband working longer hours than this time last year...oh I don't need to tell you, and I'm not struggling-struggling, we're going to get there, just a little later than usual.

So if you want to see how my house will end up looking, check out how it looked in 2009, and how it looked in 2010, then you'll know pretty much how it's going to end up looking in 2011. Even if that's Dec 24, 2011, it will happen!

For now, our Christmas theme is Sparta: so, welcome to our Spartan Christmas*. We managed to find time to pick up a tree - and what a tree! - on Sunday but picking it up was sandwiched between daughter being collected from a sleepover, husband returning from his bike ride and me and daughter needing to head out to a Guiding carol concert. When we returned, she still had homework to do, so she focussed on that and the decorations remained in the box as we do like to all do them together.

We were going to try again today, but then by the time I got son from football, fed him and sent him to was well past bedtime once husband was back and son was home again, so now we are planning to try again tomorrow.
Merry Spartan Christmas!
*Spartan as in austere , don't think of my husband and me as Menelaus and Helen, please!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

First Toymaker doll finished

Our first completely finished doll came to Brownies this week - just look how gorgeous she is!

And bear in mind that this has been made completely from scratch; every piece of the doll stitched together, stuffed then stitched to the body then the girls had to make the dress, the boots, the tail, the tiny cat ears, the hair.
It's taken a lot of concentration to get to this point.

I've seen a few of the dolls that the girls have finished over the last couple of weeks, but this is the first one with all the accessories too.
She did a great job, and I can really see this being something the girls will come across 15 or 20 years from now and remember that they made that, from scratch, at Brownies.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Button Christmas Tree Update 2

I made contact with the lady that came up with the button Christmas tree, she not only gave me permission to use a picture of her tree, but it turns out she was a Guide, in Oxfordshire in the 1980s!

It's a small world, I had assumed she was American/Canadian as the stores she references are North American and she mentions dollars. She must have emigrated at some point, and it's funny that Guiding links us - although I was a Guide in Scotland when she was a Guide in England and I'm not suggesting for a second that we ever met!

Friday, 2 December 2011

Badges, Christmas and a promise

Fun evening, and I am still on a high from the great time we had.

We started with badge presentation; instead of handing out badges as they are earned, as we normally do, we saved them all up to the end of the term and had a presentation instead: nothing too fancy, we had a bag for each girl and in there was a Christmas cracker, some sweeties, next term's diary and newsletter and then whatever badges they had earned.

Out of 25 girls, just one didn't earn any: while my original thought was that half the girls might earn some and that might inspire the other half, since it was just one girl I did give her a general badge instead, as I didn't want to single her out.

At the other extreme, one girl earned five badges, plus her Brownie Adventure badge plus a Brownies Well Done badge for being very helpful to other Brownies.

After the badge presentation - and the girls seemed to like it this way so we may well do it again this way next term - we moved on to the Christmas section of the evening, as planned by my daughter as part of her Baden Powell award. The girls split into their sixes and moved round one of four sections every ten minutes:
  1. Food: mince pies, a mini yule log and a drink of squash, plus they pulled their crackers
  2. Colouring: a wooden ornament each, coloured in and then a gold tie added to hang it
  3. Button Christmas trees: ten green buttons going from large to tiny plus a yellow one to go on the top, you thread through them and tie to make a Christmas tree, it is very cute, I will say ten minutes wasn't quite enough for this, 15 mins would have been better, but as they all had their bag of badges, they were able to drop in their bits and pieces to finish at home
  4. Games: snowballs made from newspapers and a Christmas tree unravelling game which is too hard to explain!

Finally, after clearing up, we had a promise ceremony for our littlest Brownie, M. She was very sweet, "whispered" it in my ear but actually said it quite loud, and was really thrilled to be included in the pack.

So, for regular meetings, that's it for this year as the school where we meet will have school play next week and school disco the week after. We do still have two events before Christmas, one for the unit and one for units across the whole town, so more to come.

Button Christmas Tree Update

My daughter got the idea for the button Christmas tree from her Guide Guider, I had a quick search online and found it, this person made it after a failed attempt at a Martha Stewart ornament - I must email her and let her know how many people have been using her idea! Both my Brownies and daughter's Guides used normal thread instead of the suggested cord but other than that, this is definitely the original!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Jelly Babies again

We ran the jelly babies evening again - it's the second time we've run it though all the girls who took part originally had long since left, even the Guiding team has changed enough that only two of us remembered it.

Once again, it was brilliant fun, and so easy for us! And with the only expense a few bags of jelly babies, some cocktail sticks and a few sheets of paper, it is a very low cost evening.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Shelterboxes delivered

Do you remember, back in the spring, my Brownies, together with Rainbows, Guides and Senior Section, all worked together to raise money for Shelterbox after the tsunami in Japan?

We heard in the last few days that the three boxes we had a stake in (one box fully funded by us and two boxes that we contributed to) have been delivered to Kenya.

With Somalia struck by drought, famine and conflict, thousands of Somali families have ended up in Kenyan refugee camps. Obviously we originally raised the money for Japan, but you can't specify where the boxes will go, and the way Shelterbox works is that they send out the boxes immediately, people fundraise as we did while an incident is happening but by the time they deploy the boxes we fundraised for, it is often to a completely different place. We did support their work in Japan, because they can only send boxes out if they know more fundraising is coming in.

Shelterbox set up in the Ifo 2 extension refugee camp with sanitation, schools, a market and hundreds of tents - including ours. I am telling the girls they should be very proud they have helped give families shelter, warmth and dignity.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Remembrance Sunday

Briefly: very touching Remembrance event (though the minister did go on about how we must remember the fallen, he was quite literally preaching to the converted on that one as we were all there so that's exactly what we were doing) and very proud of the Rainbows, Brownies (including 14 of mine), Guides and Senior Section that turned out.

My son was a mile or two away, marching with his Cubs and looked very grown up when I dashed across to collect him and saw him march back. Daughter had come with me although as her Guides are within the same district as son's Cubs, her Guides were also marching and she's decided next year she will go there instead of with me.

"They shall grow not* old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them."

*It is grow not old, not as is commonly said, not grow old. In fact, I noticed the chap that read it out at this morning's event said it the wrong way, but as he was an ex-serviceman who had truly grown old without his comrades in arms, he can certainly be forgiven.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Concentration paying off

Remember I said the girls needed to concentrate hard to make their dolls? It's paying off - they made massive progress this week (well, the girls who brought their dolls to Brownies did, the one who left her doll at her nan's house just had to help the others!) partly thanks to the mum of our newest Brownie who brought her sewing maching along.

They have two weeks to keep working on them at home now as we have a different meeting next week, but they are starting to look like dolls now!

Sunday, 6 November 2011


Our Brownies are doing the Toymaker badge right now, and it's taking a lot of concentration. One of the leaders is running the badge and has chosen to have the girls make a doll from scratch, complete with clothes.

They will look just beautiful when finished, but my it's hard getting 25 girls to master running stitch! On my table I had six girls: one was very good, one was pretty good, one better than she thought, another had no interest whatsoever, the fifth was keen but random and the sixth just couldn't get her fingers to do what I was telling her no matter how many times I showed her a couple of stitches very very slowly!

The leader actually cut out all the pieces for the dolls, it took her a whole day - it'll pay off when we see the gorgeous results but there's a lot of concentrating between now and then.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Easyfundraising boost again

Seriously, I know I bang on about easyfundraising every three months, but if the parents in your youth group shop online, it is absolutely money for nothing. We just heard how much we are getting for the July to September period, and it is £70!

If you want to know more, here's what I wrote in October 2010.

If you want to sign up your group, do it here, and my group'll get a thank you from easyfundraising for referring you, without affecting the amount you earn.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

What is a Brownie Pow Wow?

This week at Brownies, we had a Brownie Pow Wow - a chance for the girls to have their say about what they do. In this instance, we were looking for their ideas about what they would like to do next term, there was no voting at this point, but once we have taken their ideas and come up with rough ideas for the meetings, we can take some of them back and get the girls to vote.

The most successful bit of girl decision making we have had in recent years was when we were running the Adventure 100 programme to celebrate 100 years of guiding, and the girls narrowed down the 100 ideas in the challenge to the 11 weeks that we ran the programme.

After discarding the wholly impossible (a sleepover in Australia - not Australia themed, she actually wanted to go there for a night), or modifying them into something vaguely possible (the girl who said she just wanted to watch tv all night did think a cinema trip might be fun), we will be mulling over the following suggestions:
  • Things to do: Cinema, Sleepover, Pyjama party, Midnight feast, Panto with costumes – cluedo?, Park, Climbing wall, Riding, Sports, Olympics, Art and craft, Ice Skating, London
  • People to help: Cystic fibrosis, child charity, comic relief, soft toys for the school, stroke society, teenage cancer, walking for a charity, boy in the chip shop
  • Places to learn about: Ireland, Africa, China, Italy, Scotland, New Zealand, India, Spain
The boy in the chip shop - this related to a poster two of the girls had seen in a nearby chip shop about fundraising in the name of a little boy who had been very ill. So the girls were very well-intentioned when they said "boy in the chip shop" but I did want to say: "There's a guy works down the chip shop swears he's Elvis, he's a liar and I'm not sure about you."

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Could they BE any noisier!

The Brownies were soooooooo noisy tonight! A combination of thinking up play-lets about famous scientists (for Science Investigator badge) and parent-teacher meetings running tonight so several girls going in and out during the evening.

We also had a pow-wow, and had them suggesting what they would like to do next term - as ever there were crazy ideas like visiting New Zealand for a sleepover, but there were some great ideas that will help shape the next two terms once we work through them all!

Half term next week, so no Brownies, then when we get back there will be lots of Toymaker fun!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Blog Action Day 2011

I am proud to take part in Blog Action Day Oct 16, 2011
It's Blog Action day 2011 today. I took part in this last year: Blog Action day 2010: Water and am happy to do so again.
I'm simply going to gather together posts I've made mentioning food over the years of this blog. I hope you might feel inspired to join the global conversation on your blog!

Saturday, 15 October 2011

What should parents expect for their Brownies?

This post was prompted by Working Mum's post No Brownie points for Brownies. While she's going to ring her daughter's Brown Owl and hopefully get the lines of communications going, it did get me thinking about what parents can reasonably expect of us as Brownie leaders and volunteers. (And that's not getting at you WM, as you know from my comments I do think you're not asking too much!)
  • The dates that Brownies will meet that term, and, before you break up at the end of term, the date of the first week back next term. You might not know what the girls will be doing each week, but you should know if they are meeting.
  • How much subs is for the term, and how payment is taken (eg, is it £2 a week, and do you pay weekly, half-termly or termly. Are cheques ok or does it have to be cash)
  • That your daughter will be supported towards making her promise, and, when she is ready to do so, that she will be able to (technically, Brownies don't ever have to make it if they don't want to). That may involve the Becoming a Brownie booklet, or a unit's own version.
  • That your daughter will be safe when she's with us (we do risk assessments, check venues for fire safety, give girls a chance to talk to us about anything that is worrying them, etc)
  • That we will offer your daughter a range of experiences as best we can given our own circumstances, because we are (generally) parents too who have to juggle family, work, other commitments with Guiding
  • That when it comes time to move on to Guides, we will help your daughter learn about the new section and move when she feels ready.
Anything else I should add, other Brownie Guiders?

And in return, here's what Guiders would love in return from their Brownie parents:
  • That you come in with your daughter, make sure we are there and are happy to take her - dropping your daughter off without checking first is sadly more common than you'd think and every now and then will result in a girl being left on her own because a parent didn't check if the unit was somewhere else that night. (This hasn't happened to me, but I know of other leaders where it has happened and we do have a couple of parents who try to drop and run without coming in, we soon set them straight)
  • That you pay subs promptly, ideally on the first night back so that we don't have to chase and chase and chase till we get them
  • That you send your daughter in uniform and sensible shoes, not her favourite clothes - and if you do send her in her favourite clothes, don't be surprised if they come back dirty and/or ripped
  • That you return forms on time, again so we don't have to chase them. And don't be surprised if your daughter can't attend because you ignored the deadline.
  • That when we need an extra adult occasionally, someone will step forward and help. Actually, my set of parents are brilliant for this, they know that two of us Guiders have younger children, and four of us Guiders have older children and that if we need a night off, there's a good reason. Also that "I have a younger child" doesn't wash as an excuse - so do some of us yet we are there every week, we're only asking you to help once in a blue moon.
  • That you have patience with us when we mess up: forget to give your daughter a badge, forget supplies for a specific craft etc. Just gently remind us, we're human too!
Again, other Guiders, anything else I should add to that list?
And parents - anything you think we should be doing as a minimum?

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Trying something new

This term we are trying something new with the Brownie badges, waiting till the end of term to give them out. In the past, we have always given them out the week after a girl completes a badge (or as soon as we can order them if we don't have them in) and we have sometimes felt it just seems a bit routine, the badge goes in a pocket and rarely gets sewn on.

We're hoping that by waiting and doing a whole term of badges in one go, it will get them all excited, and if they come home with two or three badges in one go, we might actually see them sewn on next term!

It's going to be up to the girls though, they will decide in January if they want to do it that way again or if they want to try another way. Right now I have acquired 25 bags, I've named them and drawn a trefoil on each, then written on the back what needs to go in each one. Just need to think of how we will hand them out now, what we can do to make it all special.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Going Away with Brownies

Quite excitingly, one of our Assistant Guiders has decided she would like to do her holiday licence. I only have an overnight licence (I honestly wish I had just done the holiday licence at the time but I just don't have time now to do those extra modules) so currently our girls can only go away for one night, or we have to piggyback on someone else's licence as we did when we went to Hautbois (apologies for missing images, my old ones got deleted) and Wales.

I did go on a training for the holiday licence and I flip flopped for ages on whether I could fit in the work to upgrade my overnight licence, then eventually decided against it.

So I am thrilled that this Guider is going to go for it, and have promised to support her. Which for a start means digging out Going Away with guiding and our list of local approved places. Oh joy, digging through the stores of too much stuff!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Guiding in Kenya

One of the leaders with our Guides and Senior Section is going on a Girlguiding trip to Kenya next year. Last night she came and talked to the Brownies about Kenya and what it is like, along with one of the Brownie's dads who has been there too.

The girls were really interested and I think it gave them a lot to think about. They were each sent home with a tube of Smarties and asked to eat them then bring the tube back full of coins, as the Guider is fundraising to go on her trip. Our district has donated £50 to her fundraising, as has the division, and we donated last night's subs in "payment" for her running the night - we have to be very careful not to just donate subs to other charitable causes as the parents pay these for their daughter's time in Brownies not for someone else. But as she ran the whole night with no cost to us, other than rent, it is the same as when we pay St John Ambulance to run the First Aid badge for us.

We did stay away from the current tourism issues in Kenya, kept it at the girls' level so it was more about animals, and standard of living. The biggest hit? You know the game where the first person says "I went on holiday and took my suitcase" then the next person says "I went on holiday and took my suitcase and..." - well, we had 23 Brownies, 2 adults, a Guide and a YL take part in that game and the very last Brownie, one of our youngest, managed the whole list of 26 items when it was her turn! I think the Brownie dad enjoyed himself too, as he stayed on to help X run a Kenya night for the Guides as well!

Here's what the Guider will be up to:
My name is X, I have been selected to go to Kenya with Midlands Guiding.,This is a fantastic opportunity for me and am due to go in March next year for two weeks. We are teaming up with a charity called Akamba Children's Education Fund (ACEF) for the project. This charity aims to advance the education and health of over 940+ vulnerable children who attend the Brainhouse Academy situated in Mathare, North Kenya-which is one of the worlds largest slums.
The children are schooled and all receive one meal a day of porridge. The facilities are basic with just two non-flush toilets, no electricity, no running water and no school books. 170+ of the children are orphaned and live within the school. This is a high standard of living for these children and often the only meal a day they get is the one provided by the academy. All these tasks are done whilst dealing with and considering that 90% of the children have HIV or AIDS, which is a taboo subject and not discussed openly. Brainhouse academy receives no government funding or development support. Based in a slum, it is simply not recognised by the government. We are going there with the aim to generally support the school with lessons, cooking, cleaning, lessons and we would like to introduce a Netball team. The charity had already established football and cricket for the boys, now its time for the girls!
In return for our work, we are undergoing training in leadership and mentoring, prior to and after the event. Giving us advancement on our skills in leadership to then better the relationship with have with our units and to spread though Guiding. This is not a 'jolly holiday' but a long term commitment to bettering ourselves to benefit the charity and upon our return, using the skills within our units. We were due to go next August, but due to this being election time in Kenya, and the political unrest this causes, it has been bought forward considerably. I have to raise £2000 for the trip to which I am finding a challenge in itself. I am currently selling a quiz though work, to friends, family etc and am doing fundraising with my unit.

*If anyone feels the urge to donate to X's fundraising, please do get in touch, however this isn't a begging blog post, more letting you know what we have been involved in.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Why should my kid join Scouts or Guides?

Well, us Guiding and Scouting leaders could tell you it's because it will build character and friendships, they will learn new skills, they'll discover the wider world and how they can contribute to it...and all of that is true.

But also, every term or so, you'll be able to get rid of your kid by giving her/him to us for the day while they go off on a fun day or another event. And if you are REALLY lucky, then even if you have two kids, sometimes event dates will coincide and your daughter will head off with the Guides on a day trip on the exact same day as your son has a Cub fun day and there is an overlap of five hours and you and your other half won't know what to do with yourselves!

Except, if this situation were to occur to me in the next, say, 24 hours, I'd know exactly what we're going to do: a few chores then off for a lovely pub lunch.

Of course the flip side is when you have children in different sections and they need to be in different places at the same time. Our Rainbows, Brownies and Guides can't have our usual meeting place this week coming and so Rainbows are going for a walk in a nearby village, Brownies are heading to a nearby shop to learn about Fair Trade and Guides are going for a chip walk. And one mum has a girl in each of the three sections and when she usually drops off one and collects the next from the same place, on this occasion she needs to be in two different places at 6pm. She'll work it out by sharing lifts, but I prefer my circumstances this time!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Newest Cub Scout

Remember the newest Beaver? Who turned into the oldest Beaver?

Well, with his eighth birthday this weekend just gone, this week he turned into the newest Cub.

*sigh* - it is only him getting older, right, not me as well?

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Back to it!

Back to Brownies - and we have 25 girls once more, despite deciding we would stick at 24 from now on. We had already said yes to a Rainbow moving up to take us to 24 then we got a transfer girl. You only have to put a transfer at the top of the waiting list but she's 9 and a half and will only have two terms with us so we just brought her in.

We've started the term off with Crime Prevention, ably led by one of the Assistant Guiders. There was much fingerprinting and giggles! We have a PCSO (Police Community Support Officer) coming next week which should be interesting, and just in case she pulls out for any reason at the last minute, we have the surefire hit Jelly Baby evening all prepared and sitting in the boot of my car - the jelly babies have an April use by date so we can use them at the last minute or use them next term, whatever we need.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Be inspired

A few blogs by fellow Guiders (and even a Scouting monkey!) to inspire you in these last days of summer:

See? Normal people (setting aside the very cool monkey!)
Could you volunteer too? If so, have a look at:

Wednesday, 17 August 2011


I want!

It's not very big, but I would put money on me picking one up next time I am in a Guide shop!

Love stuff like this, a bit different yet still definitely Guiding.

Monday, 1 August 2011

All quiet? Not quite!

While Brownies is quiet as it is summer, daughter has been working on her Baden Powell Award - the highest award a Guide can earn. The pressure is on: with her brother earning his Bronze Chief Scout Award, her sense of competition has kicked in.

For one clause, she is working to gain her Agility badge, and that's what has been occupying us: runs, cycles, and swims to fit in - all with her brother tagging along in some form.

Not a bad way to spend the days of summer!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Guide twins beat Brownie twins

Remember the Brownie twins who gained more than 120 Brownie badges? There were just four badges they didn't manage to get.

I just spotted a story about Guide twins who achieved EVERY Guide badge - 45 each.

Remarkable - yes it is less badges than the Brownies gained but to achieve every badge across all the different areas is incredible plus many of the Guide badges are a lot harder than the Brownie ones, not just incrementally harder in terms of age.

Makes me wonder how those Brownie twins are doing as Guides!

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Subs for a term times three

I know I've mentioned easyfundraising before but I just found out our unit is getting a whopping £76.34 for the last three months, so I wanted to enthuse about it again! That will cover three girls' subs for a term, if needed, if anyone is struggling to pay, or we can use it towards trips etc.

If you want to sign up your Guiding unit, or other charity, then please use our referral link: - it makes no difference to the amount you could earn, and we could earn a small percentage on top.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

What lies ahead?

Well, we've had our planning meeting for the September - December term, it's always good to do it before the summer hols start as it is so hard for us all to get together once we break up.

be studying Fair Trade, recycling things, learning about crime prevention, making toys and doing experiments, plus a party organised by my daughter as part of her work towards her Baden Powell Award.

The girls
can count a lot of what we do towards some of the Brownie badges too, so if any of the activities pique their interest, they could earn one or more of:
  • World Issues
  • Toymaker
  • Crime Prevention
  • Science Investigator.
They're all badges we've looked at before as a unit, but not with the girls we have now, so all fresh, and we're doing each in a different way too so it'll be fresh for us too.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Brownies round the world: Japan

Since my Brownies have done so much about Japan this year (both the Japan Challenge and fundraising after the tsunami), it seems only natural to make Brownies in Japan the next in my series on Brownies round the world.

Japan has had Girl Scouting since 1919 so they recently celebrated 90 years while the UK celebrated 100.

Their Brownies are called Brownies, and are followed by Junior Girl Scout, Senior Girl Scout then Ranger Girl Scout. Brownies are aged 6-9, Juniors 9-12, Seniors 12-15 and Rangers 15-17. There are also Tenderfoots, like our Rainbows, they only started in 2001 and unlike Rainbows, girls are only a Tenderfoot for one year before moving to Brownies.

The Brownie promise:
Watakushi wa:
Kami [hotoke] to kuni o aishi
Mainichi hitobito o tasuke
Tokuni uchino otetsudai o shimasu

The Brownie motto:
Te o kase

I promise to do my best:
To love God [Buddha] and my country
To help other people every day
Especially those at home

Motto: Lend a hand

Brownies wear a very sweet blue pinafore over a white blouse, with a blue sash for badges. I can't see my British Brownies happily wearing the pinafore but it is very cute!

Guiding was brought to Japan by a British missionary teacher called Miss Muriel Greenstreet. It was banned by the government during the Second World War and restarted in 1947.

The core of the Guiding programme in Japan is:
  • Self-development
  • Relationship with others
  • Enjoyment of outdoors

Useful links:

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Oldest Beaver

Remember the Newest Beaver?

Having gained his Bronze Chief Scout's Award, he has just one more meeting and he'll be off to Cubs. Time truly flies.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Masked ball

Last week, our Guiding district held a masked ball for the girls. 12 units were invited and we planned it out between us, sharing the load.

As they came in, I photographed them, sitting on a throne. Then there was dancing, then they moved round 4 areas: a game with card, musical statues, making a corsage and a chill out zone with drinks and snacks. There was also face-painting and more dancing, and they went home with a chocolate frog (as in kiss it and see if it turns into a prince!) They had already made their masks, in normal unit meetings.

It was fun - certainly more of a hit with the Rainbows and Brownies, but we had very few Guides and no Senior Section signed up so it inevitably ended up aimed at the younger girls.

Monday, 4 July 2011

All about me

I'm taking part in Jenna's Commenting Challenge and I noticed quite a few people were doing a Ten Things About Me to introduce themselves to their new visitors so I decided to do the same.
  1. I'm Scottish, living in England, born in Ireland. When the census reports are opened up in 100 years time, I am really going to confuse people - why does this woman who lives in England and was born in Ireland call herself Scottish? Weren't they crazy in 2011! The truth of it is, I have Scottish parents, was raised in Scotland and have a Scottish accent and no matter how long I live in England, I'll always be Scottish.
  2. I have lived in 19 houses in my 40 years of life, yet I have lived in our current house for 10 years. Shows you how much we moved as kids, plus quite a few six month lets when I was post student life bumped up that total.
  3. I am married, two kids, one girl, one boy. I work part-time to balance family life with work life, it's a juggling act like it is for everyone and sometimes I feel I am barely clinging on, but we always seem to survive.
  4. I love where we live, it's just an hour to London on the train but I drive past animals of nearly all kinds on the drive to work, including grouse and emus!
  5. I am a Brownie Guider, which you should have worked out from the header of the blog! I've been doing it since 2004 when I started so my daughter could be a Brownie, she has long since moved onto Guides but I still do it because I really enjoy it and I like that I am involved in our community. We are a very adventurous pack, with sports, and trips, and sleepovers.
  6. Thanks to Guiding (and me winning a competition), my Brownies and I got to meet JK Rowling at the midnight launch of the last ever Harry Potter book
  7. I love making cake pops
  8. I took up running last year and really enjoy it, although I don't manage to squeeze it in quite often enough around everything else, I am finding my weight is going down very slowly and surely, and I definitely keep up better with the kids
  9. Family is all to me, you'll never find me happier than when I am with my husband, kids, my parents, my two brothers, their wives and my nephew.
  10. My kinda bad habit is too much TV - husband and I went to the cinema a lot before we had the kids, and we've replaced the cinema trips with evenings in with DVDs
That's me, hope to see you around on the Commenting Challenge!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Comment crazy

I've been following Jenna's blog for a couple of years now, since she was pregnant with her first son. She leads what seems to me to be a real All-American life and I find it fascinating. I comment occasionally but mostly I just enjoy the pictures of her two wee boys and her amazing craft skills.

She's running a Commenting Challenge, starting tomorrow (Monday 4th) you try to comment on 10 blogs per day for 7 days, using the linky at the bottom of her post about the challenge. It gives you a chance to look at blogs you might never come across any other way, and maybe find a few you might like to add to your blogroll.

I'm going to give it a try - though 10 a day for 7 days might be hard, we'll see how the week goes. I thought it was something a bit different and you might like to try it too!

Friday, 1 July 2011

Such a good day

I know I'm supposed to say how, as a working parent, I was incredibly inconvenienced by the teachers strike yesterday. Indeed, if there are more strikes in the autumn, it will be a real hassle to juggle work and kid/s off school. But this one time?

I had brunch out with a group of lovely ladies including a friend from Germany who was here for just a few days.

I went shopping with daughter to sort out little things we hadn't had time for like changing her pin number to one she can remember and ordering her school uniform for September - because there's a whole new uniform for next school year. Watched The Apprentice with her on iplayer.

And in the evening, our Brownies, Guides and Senior Section went to the local Scout campsite and foraged for firewood, sang songs, played games, cooked sausages, toasted marshmallows and made smores (well, the UK version using chocolate digestives) and jelly smores.

It was quite simply, a lovely, lovely day.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Weekend away

Envious though I am of Kelloggsville's recent weekend in London with her Brownies, and fondly remembering the great weekend we had doing similar activities just 15 months ago, our Brownies have just had their turn to go away and we had a fabulous time at Blackwell Court near Birmingham.

Us leaders went over on the Friday night and had a takeaway, then were up in plenty of time to set up and be ready for the girls arriving on Saturday morning. Normally we race to where we are going, set up about an hour before the girls should arrive but inevitably someone arrives early etc. This time we were completely on top of things, plus it was really nice for us to hang out and spend a bit of time together without chasing after Brownies as we usually are.

So then the girls came and the weekend included:
  • zipwire
  • grass sleds
  • orienteering
  • nightline
  • swimming
  • loads of yummy foods
  • crafts
We had 17 Brownies, divided up into 3 rooms, 2 of 6 and one of 5. Then during the day, they were divided up into 2 groups of 10, including the 2 Guides and 1 Young Leader, for the activities.

We had no homesickness - I stand by my theory that all the homesickness we had last year at camp was because we were so close to home - and no bad behaviour despite having a couple of our more challenging girls away with us. They even went to sleep quite quickly after all that fresh air and exercise, though they were awake early too, but you can't have everything.

I definitely recommend Blackwell, although we had a few glitches along the way they always worked to help us and resolved all that they could.

Maybe the tented village next year???

Monday, 20 June 2011

Feel Closer

I really love this blog post my fellow Guider Kelloggsville did on Closeness or Falseness recently, inspired by the Nivea Million Moments of Closeness campaign.

I've been mulling this over myself, particularly the debate question Has new technology brought us closer?

I think technology can be incredibly useful: I researched all the options for our recent Brownie weekend online (details of that will follow in a few days!) and was able to share with my fellow leaders by email, making planning much easier for us.

And as someone who lives 326 miles away from her parents - can you tell how many times I have driven up the M6? - I love that I can email them quickly, send them a Facebook link to pictures of their grandkids or text if I need to ask something but know they are too busy at that exact time for a phone call, given that our phone calls tend to last for about 45 mins! My inlaws live just an hour away but aren't online and never turn on their emergency mobile phone and I confess they miss often out on the pictures as a result.

And technology can bring you closer to people you would never ordinarily meet: way back in 1999 I joined a group of online mums whose children were born in the same month and another for a craft I was keen on. For much of the time, it was all talk about whose kid was walking, whose kid was talking, who had made what recently, but in a very supportive and non-competitive way. I had no reason to believe I'd meet many of the women in either group, but in 2001 we were stuck in America after 9/11 happened and I was inundated with offers of help to get us from Boston, where no planes flew for about a fortnight afterwards, to wherever in the US or Canada we wanted to go to get home to the UK. We ended up driving to Ottawa, staying with one of the women for two nights, she just opened her home up to us, fed us, even had Canadian Thanksgiving early for us because she said if she couldn't be thankful at a time like that when could she be? Then we made it to Toronto and eventually home.

Since then, I've made very close friends with three bloggers in particular and we have our own secret place we go off to online to chat, support each other and thrash out the problems of the world. I've only met one of them, twice; she has been lucky enough to meet all of us, and one day I will meet everyone but in the meantime, they are among my closest friends even though we haven't all met.

So can technology bring us closer? Absolutely!

*Disclosure - the company I work for has been working with Nivea on the Feel Closer campaign, but I haven't been paid to blog, I did it because I had strong feelings on this topic. You can join the debate at and you can enter the competition to win one of 100 prizes each worth £100 - I can't, but you can!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

What a fantastic Brownie weekend!

I hope these Brownies know how lucky they are to have such keen leaders!

Friday, 10 June 2011

Penguin on Twitter

I'm on Twitter now: can't say I'll be full of insights that will rock your world but I'll give it a try! If you want to follow me, I am Penguin2005. If you are reading this on my actual blog rather than in a reader, you can click Follow me on Twitter on the right hand side.

sad Brownie not so sad

We seem to have made a breakthrough with Sad Brownie and she is now Happy but Timid Brownie - which is the girl I was expecting from knowing her for seven years!

Kelloggsville got it spot on with her advice to me, I sent her and the other new Brownie outdoors with the rest of the Brownies last night (I was inside with 17 parents running a parents meeting before our weekend away, details of that will follow after we have been away in the next few weeks) and she was much happier being in the mix of it.

I do still think the nub of the issue wasn't so much the two Guides but more what she expected Brownies to be, but as she seems happier now, and integrated, we have hopefully assimilated her (sorry for the Borg reference, you can take the girl away from her science fiction but you can't take the science fiction out of me).

So, we have 25 happy Brownies - yes, not 26, the 26th flatly refused to return and would not tell her mum why, she said she loved the week she came, but she didn't want to go back thanks. Not fretting about that, just getting on with it.

This term we've been working on the American Challenge from (need to be a member to see that one) and the Outdoor Challenge from Anglia Region, we are in Midlands Region but they let anyone do their badges. So, bit more of both of those for the next couple of weeks and then we hit summer.

Bring it on!

Saturday, 28 May 2011

sad Brownie

Other Brownie leaders, some advice? One of our new Brownies is struggling, she has been dreading Brownies all week according to her mum and was in tears just before the meeting.

When she is at the meeting, she seems to enjoy it. But away from us, she works herself into a state.

Specifics: she found the two Guides working with her on Becoming a Brownie were intimidating and upsetting. It was the first time the two Guides had worked with the new girls rather than our two Young Leaders so I had made sure I was with them for much of the time and I actually felt they were doing really well. This particular Brownie has a big sister that was in the same class as the two Guides up until July this year and is still in the same class at secondary as one of the two Guides so she knows them quite well, so I was really surprised.

I took note of what mum said and I worked with the new girls myself this Thursday instead, but if she's still finding it all intimidating I am not sure what to do next. She knows her promise, she's gone off to practice lending a hand, I've made sure her buddy is a girl she really likes, she seems to be embracing it all, but I am worried she will get upset again.

I don't want to lose this Brownie, her sister tried us and another Brownie pack five years ago and chose the other Brownie pack, which was of course her choice, but I kind of feel like if I can't get it right for this girl, I'm doing something wrong because then both sisters wouldn't have joined us.

Anything I can do? Other than hope?

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Cake pops for the school fair

Remember I made cake pops, just for fun? Well, I'm going to make them again, but this time for the school fair. I've promised to make 100. Gulp - hope they sell!

I've done a little experimenting in the meantime; I tried buying white chocolate and tinting it to reduce the cost of coating the cake pops, but it does seem that the candy melts are the best thing, I couldn't get as strong a colour or as good a finish with the tinted stuff. I wasn't making cake pops, just cupcake bites, and when I picked them up, to do the top coating, even after they had been in the fridge for a few hours, the chocolate was still a little soft so I think I will play safe and get the candy melts from Hobby Craft again. I've ordered pink, yellow and blue - pictures will follow when I make them.

Friday, 13 May 2011

It's not oh so quiet...

We currently have 26 Brownies. A whopping NINE of those are Year Fours at a single school and were on a school residential this week. Couple that with one girl missing and we had just 16 girls last night!

The hall seemed very empty, but all bar two of the 16 were Year Three and Year Two girls, and they were quite giddy and silly and didn't concentrate very hard on instructions - a game of Octopus was completely chaotic, lasting forever and with seaweed running about when they should be standing still.

Fun though - and I know it will seem noisier and fuller next week!

Friday, 29 April 2011

Back to Brownies

A very busy night back at Brownies, not least because we won't meet next week as all the girls are off school (again!) for the local elections and AV voting.

The girls took part in a royal wedding challenge, and judging from the shrieks from the hall - I was in the outer area dealing with subs and other finance stuff - they had lots of fun.

We also had lots for them all to take home. Everyone there last night got a royal wedding challenge badge - we had 23 out of 26 girls there last night which was quite good as we only had 24 badges! If they had all turned up, we wouldn't have given the newbies a badge, we'd have told them they could start earning them from next week, but as we had 3 missing, we were fine.

There were also Japan badges for all the girls who helped to fundraise last term, we didn't distinguish between who had raised what, so all the girls who were with us last term got one, the newbies didn't get one as this was their first night.

On top of those, they were also receipts for the girls who had paid up their subs, five interest badges given out to four girls who had earned them over the last month, and the china most of them had painted one night last term, one of the nights when I was ill.

The china was beautiful, there were plates and mugs and they really were excellent. The YL and the two PLs took them out to the gate where the Brownies leave so that they could take them carefully straight to their parents and not give them a chance to drop them when they had so much to carry already!

So, a week off next week, then back the week after, though our numbers will be down as quite a few girls will be on a school trip. The week after that we should see the full strength 26 girls back, we're trying out 26 this term with a view of either going to 28 in September if we can manage it or back to 24 in September if we find the girls are too noisy/uncontrolled. We want to be able to give the girls individual attention and although we have a large leadership team, we want to be sure that still happens. We'll see how it goes!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Even the royal wedding has a Guiding connection

Check out Hello Magazine, the Brownie in the back in the centre is Kate Middleton.

My Brownies will be doing a Royal Wedding Challenge this week - not led by me, I'm not much of a royalist, don't mind them but don't get excited by them.

Guiding has long had a royal connection: the Queen, her sister and Princess Anne were all in Guiding; Margaret and Anne as Brownies, Margaret and Elizabeth as Guides and Rangers. The current president of Girlguiding UK is the Countess of Wessex, Edward's wife. And now the newest member of the Royal family also turns out to have been a Brownie.

It's often said that Americans are more excited about our royals than we are, I found out about this picture courtesy of the Girl Scouts of America's blog!

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Quilts for the Olympics

Anyone done this? Am thinking it might be a fun project for the autumn with the Brownies and start to get them excited about the Olympics...

I can't quilt, though I could ask around to find someone who could. I wouldn't be afraid of doing it as two layers sewn together round the edge, which looks acceptable. The deadline is December 2011, so plenty of time to do it after the summer.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Cake Pops

Inspired in equal measures by Bakerella and Working Mum on the Verge's cupcakes, I decided to make cake pops today. I need to refine it a bit, but I am pretty pleased with them.

I took the laziest possible attitude to them, in that I didn't bake my own cake or make my own buttercream - they took long enough as to make as it was.

I managed to make 38 - if I had rolled the balls more evenly in size I might have made it to 40 but if I'd made them much smaller and ended up with lots more, the choc covering wouldn't have been enough so it's a good number.

I used:
  • 2 x Tesco madeira cakes (600g total - I would have used any un-iced cake but this was all the little Tesco near us had this morning)
  • 2/3 of a tub of Betty Crocker icing (300g - this is where I will modify next time, I think the cake is too smooth and sweet, I think a bit less icing, but that might make it too crumbly which it definitely wasn't this time, so it may not work)
  • Almost a whole pack of red Candy Melts (normal cooking choc would work fine too, and is about 1/3 of the price but I saw these at the store where I bought my lolly sticks and thought I would give them a try)
  • Lolly sticks - Hobbycraft didn't have any 4" ones in so I bought 8" ones and cut them in half - managing to slice into my ring finger on the very first cut, my wedding ring mostly protected me but I now have a plaster on and my ring on my right hand!
  • tiny little choc hearts - not a necessary part of it but they were cute
  • Crumble the cakes in food processor. Mix in the icing (can't be exact about amount, as I said, I need to work on that bit). Roll into balls, put on a baking sheet on greaseproof paper and chill for 1 hour. If the balls are crumbly, add more icing to mixture.
  • Melt a few drops of choc. Dip lolly stick in choc, then push into ball, about 90% of the way in, this definitely helps keep it on the stick when you are adding the chocolate later. Chill again for 15 mins.
  • Melt half the choc in as small based a dish as you can so that the choc is quite deep and it's easy to dip into. I microwaved for 30 secs at a time, took 90 secs total for me.
  • Dip the ball into the choc, help it go over with a small spoon if needed, try to cover all of the ball. Let excess drip off, add a heart if you want then either:
  1. put back onto the tray with the greaseproof paper, this works perfectly but does leave a straight back on the ball as the choc settles
  2. stick the stick into an oasis, I got one from Hobbycraft that fit 11 sticks, the choc drips a little but not too much if you got the excess off, and this keeps the ball round. The first is easier, the second is neater.
You'll probably find the first ones will have set as you finish the first half, melt the second batch of choc and do the remainder, return to the fridge for as long as needed. Bakerella warns to put them into an airtight box to make them last more than a couple of days.

Friday, 15 April 2011

London Olympics 2012

Not Guiding, but my family have now applied for tickets for London 2012 Olympics in the public ballot.

You have to choose what events you are interested in, what locations if there are more than one (such as in the case of football) and what dates. Then you have to say the maximum you are prepared to spend and you will only be entered into the ballot for tickets that are that much or are less.

One really nice aspect is that under 16s pay their age. So for our two kids, we would pay £13 and £8, no matter how much our adult tickets cost.

We have to wait now, find out if we have been successful, but we have applied for:
  • Cycling (track)
  • Cycling (road)
  • Tennis - at Wimbledon!
  • Football
  • Taekwondo
I reckon we should be successful with the football (as there are lots of stadia to choose from, all with thousands of seats) and the taekwondo (as it is a minority sport). Hubby really wants the track cycling and I really want to go to Wimbledon. With the road cycling, if we don't get tickets for the grandstand we may go anyway as the route is through London so there will be a lot of vantage points.

It's exciting! What it does mean is if we get tickets there will be no foreign holiday for us next year, we can't afford both plus those events are across three of only six school holiday weeks. We should be able to manage a week in the UK though, so we will get a holiday, and hey, it will be worth giving up abroad for a year to be part of London 2012, we want to be part of the Olympics in our own country.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Shelterbox and Japan

I'm much much better from my kidney infection and made it back to Brownies for the first time last night, just in time for our Japan fundraising evening.

Our girls have been working hard for weeks, not just my Brownies, but also the Rainbows that meet before us, the Guides that meet after us, and the Senior Section run by two of the Guide Guiders.

They raised loads of money by filling jam jars with change, some girls did sponsored events, lots of girls did jobs round the house for money, and the older girls ran bake sales at their schools.

Then we finished off last night with an origami evening where families came, bought the templates, and we supplied thin paper, scissors, glue and pens to make whatever they chose. We also sold drinks and home baking, ran a Guess the name of the rabbit, and one of the Senior Section Guiders made beautiful flowers out of Japanese fabric.

All those efforts together, plus parents of Brownies and Guides agreeing not to have subs refunded for a night back in March where we had to call off the meeting at short notice, added up to...


We will be sending £651.73 of that directly to Shelterbox, it will pay for one Shelterbox plus £60 left over for the charity to spend as they need. The other £152 has already gone to Shelterbox via an initiative set up by a couple of Guiders to raise money for the charity by selling badges - we bought badges for every girl and leader involved in our fundraising, a great way to say thank you but still have the money go to our chosen charity.

If you're a Guiding or Scouting leader (there's no trefoil on the badge so it is not exclusively Girlguiding) and might like to purchase the badges too (or even if you are not!), the details are in the Help Now image. If you can't click on it to make it bigger, the contact is and the badges are £2 each plus postage with all profit going to Shelterbox.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Still here / Japan

I am still here, I've been laid low by a kidney infection, I will be back!

In the meantime, my Brownies, together with the Rainbows who meet before us and the Guides who meet after us, have raised over £400 so far for Japan and are still going...details to follow once I have more energy and time to blog properly.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

What can Brownies do for Japan?

It's not even two months since my Brownie pack did the Japan Challenge, and maybe that's why what has happened there has touched me so deeply.

What can my Brownies do to help? We can't just take the good bits of Japan that we did in the challenge and not help out when they need us immediately afterwards.

Well, I have sent an email out to our sister Brownie, Guide and Senior Section unit because I have a plan. I want to buy one shelterbox to send to Japan. It offers shelter, cooking facilities, warmth, even colouring items for kids to keep them busy. It's not cheap, it costs £590, which is why I want to enlist all 4 units to work together, it would mean raising around £10 per girl that way.

So far I have heard back from the Senior Section leader and she is on board.

Ideas so far:
  1. An origami making evening and parents buy the origami their kids made, we'd sell juice and baking as well
  2. Buy cheap fans from Baker Ross and have a stall at our school fair selling them for £1 each, that would be 60p profit per fan.
  3. A Japanese wish tree, 5op to write out your wish on a slip and tie to the tree.
  4. The Senior Section leader has loads of Japanese style fabric and she is happy to make fabric roses we could sell.
I really want to do this - any more ideas that would be low cost for us but income-generating for the cause?

Sunday, 6 March 2011


First we shared Thinking Day with the rest of the division - we went to a nearby zoo, and apparently there were over 400 of us! It was great fun - very very cold, but overall the girls had a good time.

Now I'm sharing Brownies! Our waiting list has got just horrendous, right now we have 24 Brownies, only 4 of whom are 9 and therefore would leave within the next year to go to Guides. But the waiting list had 13 girls who are either old enough to start or would be old enough in the next year.

I had started trying to encourage mums on the waiting list to think about setting up a 2nd X Brownies, that's what we did six years ago when our daughters couldn't get a place locally. But then I found out that one of the packs in my district, and another nearer pack in another district are both actively looking for girls, so I wrote to the parents of all the six year olds on the list telling them where they were on the list, and what the anticipated date of them starting with us would be. I also added contact details for the other two Brownies packs.

And so far, at least three have taken up places with the other units - which means all the others on my list can move a little bit further up, and three girls get to be Brownies way sooner than if they had waited. I'm hoping another four or five will do the same, which will get things on a more manageable basis.

Monday, 21 February 2011


See the doll second from the right? That's Nonny!

For my daughter's first birthday she was given that doll, and she carried it everywhere with her for the next four years. We went on holiday, so did Nonny. She went to the loo, so did Nonny. She went to pre-school, so did Nonny. There's pictures of her at weddings, at her grandparents, always with Nonny hanging off her hand.

Luckily, we quickly realised her attachment to Nonny and were able to snap up a second Nonny, known to us as Evil Twin Derek so that our daughter wouldn't realise what we meant when we referred to it each time it was time to switch them over so Nonny/Derek could have a wash. (Why Evil Twin Derek? A short-lived obsession with the Sunday omnibus of Sunset Beach in the late nineties)

Oh, and why Nonny? We think she was trying to say Dolly.

Once she started school she started to leave Nonny at home, but she was always next to her in bed at night, till she was eight or nine, then she became one of many stuffed toys at the end of the bed, still beloved but not constantly needed.

We even felt last year that she could know about Evil Twin Derek and not be too traumatised, and indeed, she didn't really care (she's 12 now!)

Anyway, all of this has nothing to do with anything other than I stumbled across these five dolls on Ebay, truly stumbled because it's not like I can search for the word Nonny.

Sadly, these 5 dolls have only ever sat on a shelf, according to the information. Those dolls haven't lived like Nonny has. Maybe the new purchaser will love this Nonny like our girl loved hers.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Thinking Day 2011: Bolivia

The girls chose Bolivia as the country for Thinking Day, not the easiest of countries to learn more about, for example if we are learning about a country I usually line up some food but boiled lamb brains and dried llama shanks are not that easy to find in Tesco.

But I was able to find a craft - God's Eyes - that we had never done before and that isn't just Mexican, but also Bolivian, so that was fun to do, and had very varying results! Here's a link to a sheet to make them, from the fabulous Ideas4kids site.

We also learned a little about life in Bolivia for girls and women, and had a look at participation in Guiding in Bolivia.

Division day out soon, and a break for half term!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Thinking Day 2011: lemons and limes

Have been using my spare time to prepare for our two weeks on World Thinking Day at Brownies.

Don't know what Thinking Day is? Here's the explanation.

And here's some of what we have done over the years:
We will be attending a division thinking day event, and in our meetings we will be doing the WAGGGS 2011 challenge pack, so I have been:
  • writing Brownie names on lemons and limes
  • writing Brownie names on large envelopes
  • cutting up paper so each envelope has 23 pieces of paper
  • putting together a plan for the first week that involves those things and more
For the second week, I am throwing it out to the girls to make the decision, the second week will be based around whichever of the 5 WAGGGS named countries being supported by the Thinking Day fund this year:
  • Nepal
  • Cyprus
  • Bolivia
  • Yemen
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
Not easy choices for me but I know I'll come up with something, whatever country they choose! There's a sheet on each in the WAGGGS pack and I'll use those as the starting point. I am hoping they don't choose Cyprus, probably the only country any of them would have been to, I think the more unfamiliar to them, the better.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Brownie Chinese New Year

The Brownies celebrated Chinese New Year this week, with food - those girls do love their food! - Chinese lanterns and lovely scratch art animals from the Chinese calendar.

Lots of excitement too as we appointed two new sixers and three new seconds, very happy with the sixer appointments, the seconds seem quite young but I wanted to give each a chance for different reasons.

One is very quiet but has grown so much in her time with us so I am hoping being a second will give her more confidence.

One is new to our unit but was a Brownie in another unit, I am hoping being a second will make her feel included, accepted - she is very giggly and I think that may be nerves about her new situation.

And the third is very forward, always asking questions before we get to the end of the sentence, butting in when we are explaining, even when I appointed her, she yelled "Yes!" So I am hoping being a second brings a little maturity for her, the need to work together to support her six should be good for her I think.

I think they will all make good seconds, if I have judged them correctly!

PS: the badge above wasn't actually given out, we ordered them when we did Chinese New Year two years ago and they are lovely but right now we can't afford little extra badges like these, our funds are being directed towards our adventure weekend in the summer as much as possible. Not to the detriment of our weekly meetings, just directing the "nice extras" budget towards the weekend instead.
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