Monday, 30 December 2013


I've been prepping for the new term in January, there's a lot happening here from the end of the first week of January so I am taking advantage of some downtime now.

So far:
*28 term diaries printed - we consulted the girls and will be doing the Big Brownie Birthday Challenge using their ideas, and we like to let parents know roughly what we will be doing each evening.
*43 permission forms - for our district Big Brownie Birthday event and for our county Thinking Day event, we already know who's going just need to get those forms.
*lots of bits and pieces - an attendance sheet, etc

Still to print: 400 sheets to go through local doors about a special project we want to involve former Brownies in! I think I can reduce the text down so I only need to print 134 but still need to work out the best way to do that without using all my printer ink! More info to follow, as ever, after we've done it, in order to protect my girls. 

Friday, 20 December 2013

Christmas cards

I have not succeeded in writing Christmas cards this year. Not for my family, my friends, my Guiding friends my neighbours, or my colleagues. 

With a wide variety of non-standard things happening in November and December (that can't be mentioned publically, nothing awful but involving people who don't like to be mentioned online), writing cards never made it to the top of the list.

And now, on December 20th, I'm giving myself permission to say that ship has sailed and those that I love know I love them already.

Try it, it's liberating!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Party planning, planning, party and pause...

Our Christmas party went very well, the Rainbows, Brownies and Guides all partied together and seemed to have a great time.

The party was organised by our Brownie Helper, a Guide from our sister unit and she did a fantastic job.

We're planning next term in a couple of days time, using the suggestions from the Brownies that we gathered a fortnight ago. Then all that's left is a party for the Guiders and we're all done till January!

Have a great Christmas!

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Hello, goodbye and planning Big Brownie Birthday

It was an interesting meeting this week, we welcomed a surprising number of Rainbows for a visit (surprising because we have four starting in January, we actually had six visiting! One would be starting but is moving over Christmas and wanted to at least have her visit, and the other because the mother was stuck in traffic and hadn't been able to collect from the Rainbow meeting before ours) and we had four older Brownies doing the Go For It Brownies and visiting Guides afterwards before we say goodbye to them next week.
And in between all that, we did some planning for next year's Big Brownie Birthday. We have a whopping seven events scheduled between January and July so this was all about the regular meetings and what we will do there.
The leader in charge for the night (the one who got her Commissioner's Award last week) asked us all to bring our Challenge posters that we had been sent with our copy of Guiding magazine. These were packed with ideas of things to do from Brownies through the years. Each six narrowed down the choices from 18 to 3 or 4, with one each from You, Community and World, the three central aspects of the Brownie Adventure.
My six wanted: candle decorating that reaches out to the community around us (I'll explain more if this goes ahead), a meeting without electricity, campfire cooking and making art outside. I can't wait to hear what the others have picked, we are just trying to schedule a planning meeting for the leaders to get everything pinned down.

Monday, 25 November 2013

So many Guiding things, not enough time to write

So many things to tell you!

We had a plan a promise evening and the girls did so well, then we followed that up with the actual promise evening, where 3 newbies made their promise and lots of us renewed our promise using the new one, it was a lovely moment.

In between the two evenings, we had Remembrance Sunday. I was very proud of the girls, we had 15 turn up on a bitterly cold morning. We've attended every year since 2009 (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012) and this year my daughter, as the oldest member of Senior Section present got to lay the wreath. Meanwhile, my son was marching with Cubs in a different village and he got to carry the Cub flag - so proud of the pair of them.

Then the weekend after, I was busy with Guiding again on the Sunday, this time to attend the Midlands Chief Commissioner Award. I'd nominated my fellow Guider and she was kind enough to invite me as her guest. It's an award I was lucky enough to be nominated for myself back in 2008 (pic missing but it's just of my badge which looks just like this one, my friend's, though less shiny now) and it goes to those working hard at a local level.

In her case, she had not just made a great contribution to our unit, getting her residential licence so we could go away but also then stepping in to another unit when both their leaders pulled out for various reasons and a third leader was only able to attend in the daytime. She deserved this thanks - and I have another leader in our unit who deserves them so much too, there's three of us planning to nominate her next year.

There was a special added bonus when attending as well, I got to meet Kelloggsville!  She was also receiving the award even though she Guides in a different county - the Midlands Region covers a good nine or ten counties. She's written about our meeting already, I was waiting to let her post first because she is quite particular about what information she shares and I didn't want to overstep the mark. I bounded up to her and went in for a hug because I feel like she's already a friend despite it being our first meeting, she was a little frosty and I didn't click why at first. I don't hide the fact I have a blog, I don't volunteer the info, but I don't hide it. She's a little more cagey and was basically worried I was going to bust her!

So, we kept our conversation in the presence of others to other topics, and we need to meet up again and have a good, unrestricted chat. I really enjoyed meeting her and hope that was just the first of many meets.

Moving on to this week just gone, we celebrated 50 years of Doctor Who at Brownies with a night all about the Doctor, including decorating gingerbread Tardises, making chocolate Daleks, cutting out fondant Weeping Angels, creating a Tardis basket to carry it all home in, and taking part in a quiz and two games: a Doctor Who version of Port and Starboard - I made it up so I can't link to it, it was things like Gallifrey and Skaro instead of Port and Starboard, walking around with arm out saying Exterminate for Dalek's Coming, etc.

Finally, we had Girlguiding County training day this weekend (rest assured, I shall NOT be doing anything Guiding any weekend soon) which went really well, I learned a lot, got to pick the brains of a couple of advisers, find out more about the pending Big Brownie Birthday - lots more to follow on that - and connect with some fellow Guiders from around the county. My daughter's Switzerland group did the lunchtime catering as a fundraiser and they provided a great spread, I was quite proud.

Just two weeks left for us before Christmas (we always break up early because the place where we meet needs the hall for Christmas events) and then a break till the New Year and all the Big Brownie birthday craziness!

Friday, 18 October 2013

Brownie Cosmic Camp Summer 2014

Sadly my own Brownies won't be going to this, for a number of reasons:
  • Arden 2014 international camp overlaps with it, and 2 of the Brownie leaders are going to Arden
  • I can't go as although it is a long weekend, our office has a lot of parents and we all want time off in the same six weeks, so I can have time for a family holiday or for Brownies, not both. Husband is understanding but he's not that understanding!
  • Even if I could rustle up leaders, our Brownies are already signed up for a county sleepover and a weekend at a Training and Activity Centre in the months before the camp, adding the camp is just too much cost for parents on top of that.
Setting that aside, if you haven't planned much yet for the Big Brownie Birthday, this camp does look fabulous and the girls will have an amazing time. I have camped with Brownies a couple of time and they get a lot from it, they grow up so much!
For more info:

Monday, 14 October 2013


What happened
Well it was good having every member of the pack on a sleepover, like an extended 
It would have been good to have more sleep though - the little darlings went to sleep around 12 and were up capering and screeching at 4.40am!
Despite that, it was a good time overall, we had a bears bedtime theme because it was a Midlandswide sleepover with the same theme and the girls made some excellent crafts and enjoyed themselves.
What we learned
That it was a real achievement to persuade every girl (and her parents) that they should come away overnight. But that we need to either restrict the numbers if staying in a hall like that (no beds, all the girls in one big room) or if we do have high numbers, go somewhere with bedrooms where we can better manage the overlap of girls who cried, girls who screeched and chattered, girls who react to how others behave, girls who genuinely want to get some sleep!

Live and learn! Even now, less than 36 hours later, I know we'll do it again! (I even knew that when shouting at them at 4:40am!)
PS: our Rainbows went away the night before, to another hall. They also did not fall asleep till midnight. What lies two years ahead!?! :-)
A PPS: we made them do chores. Not through meanness, but because they needed to contribute. The photo is one of our very sweetest older Brownies sweeping up.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

So far this term...

We have:
*Had a welcome session
*Thrown a pyjama party partly to say goodbye to a leader off to uni and partly to enthuse the girls for our upcoming sleepover (and it worked because for the first time in our nearly 9 years of doing this, we will have all 24 girls on a sleepover!)
*Learned about what a foodbank does and why it is needed
*Brought in contributions for that foodbank - we filled a shopping trolley with the items that are really needed
*Made chocolate cakes in microwaves
*Had a last minute games night after we called off our chip walk due to bad weather
*Gone to Legoland with our whole district

What lies ahead:
*The sleepover
*Remembrance Sunday
*Two nights on Africa, including a session run by one of the Young Leaders in our district who is off to Ghana
*Dr Who night to coincide with 50 years of Dr Who
*A planning night (by the girls)
Promise party
*Christmas fun jointly with our Rainbow unit, run by our Brownie Helper, a Guide who is working on her Baden Powell Award

So, a busy term but it has nothing on 2014. Oh the things we are doing to celebrate the Big Brownie Birthday in 2014! Details will follow...

Friday, 4 October 2013

The new promise

Very proud of how well our Brownies took to the new promise last night.

I promise that I will do my best:
To be true to myself and develop my beliefs,
To serve the Queen and my community,
To help other people and
To keep the (Brownie) Guide Law.

We've had a busy start to the term with some community service and saying goodbye to one of our leaders, but last night we worked through the new promise and they just got it!

I heard after that one of the more nervy girls has really embraced the true to myself bit, they all got develop my beliefs far more easily than us adults did, and the change from country to community was obvious to them! The majority voted to keep Brownie Bells that we sing at the end as well (it is in essence a prayer, but sung, though there are alternative words) though there was a significant minority so we will revisit that in the future.

As well as the three newbies making their promise, about half want to renew with the new promise, the others will learn it but wait to renew at thinking day or make the change when they move to Guides. Now we just need to learn it off by heart, we played a game where we passed the ball and said a word of it, and we were close but not perfect!

Friday, 13 September 2013

Two weeks in

We're two weeks in now and it's going well. Every girl bar one paid subs on the first night, which makes life so much easier for us, not having to chase for them. The one girl was missing the first night though she did turn up week two, still without subs!
First night was a lovely "welcome" evening, with games to find out more about each other and make the newbies feel included.
Then this week we had a pyjama party, partly because the girls did some of the things they do on a sleepover, which helped us sell the benefits of the sleepover we're planning next month. And partly, sadly, because one of our leaders is leaving, off to university. We're happy for her but sad for us. That's our cake, above, that we shared when saying goodbye.
So next week we're focusing on community and after a meeting today with a local councillor who suggested the idea, I'm quite inspired for what I'm going to put together.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

This is why we do it

Released this morning.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Ready to go?

Nothing like the feeling of nervous new Brownies telling you how excited they are about starting and how they're going to get their uniform on Friday so they can turn up in it on the first night. :-)

It's time to start up again! Just one term till the Big Brownie Birthday in 2014, and we're having a sleepover, having a night planned entirely by the girls, having fun with Dr Who, helping the community, learning the new promise...

Let's go!

Saturday, 3 August 2013


Here's my Facebook status today. It's strange having no kids at all, I'm used to daughter being away for a week at a time without me with Guiding or school, and son has been away for the weekend with Cubs. Very occasionally we have no kids for a day because they both have a (different) event on.
But both kids have gone to stay with my folks for a week, something daughter has been doing for the last few summers leaving us with just son. This year they've both gone, next year she's not planning on going so this is a one off. I guess it's a taste of the medium term future!

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Gallery: Door, and yes I tried to peek behind it!

Most weeks, a fab blogger called Tara has a photo gallery with a theme, where you are invited to post a pic on that theme and add it to her linky.

I think I have taken part before, but most times, I just appreciate the picture she's posted and that of a couple of bloggers I follow, and then I move on.

This week's theme caught my attention though, because I recently posed like an eejit outside a very famous door.

That's me with daughter, I'm red-faced and hot after marching across the park to get to 10 Downing Street for our allotted slot, and she's never been the huggiest kid in the world, so that's why I love it - I hardly look my best but I do look happy and for once I am in the picture with one of my kids rather than behind the camera.

Incidentally, that's the second time I've been lucky enough to go and have my picture taken there, both times thanks to the respect Girlguiding gets as a voluntary organisation.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Brownies by numbers

  • Number of Brownies attending last meeting -22 (one sick, one didn't bother to tell us)
  • Number of parents lost on the way to the campsite - 1, but she persevered and found us eventually!
  • Number of marshmallows toasted - over 120 (we had Guides and Senior Section there too!)
  • Number of fingers burned - none, woohoo!
  • Number of injuries - two nettle stings
  • Number of Brownies we said goodbye to - three, all off to Guides
  • Number of Rainbows starting in September - three
  • Number of leaders leaving - one, in September, our former YL is off to university and we will all miss her
  • Number of Brownie Helpers (the name for Guides who help) becoming YLs - one, my daughter
A lot of numbers but really it's all about the people. Still loving Guiding, and while a six week break will be fab (and it won't be a six week break as we'll be planning and ordering resources but no meetings), can't wait to start again!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Buses and trains and Pax Lodge and 10 Downing Street and more

It's been over a year in the planning, but we finally made our trip to London for the weekend, and we had a fantastic, and exhausting, time.

We had so much fun, and I wanted to pass on what we did in case it inspires or helps other groups undertaking a similar trip.

It wasn't our first London trip, there's links down the bottom of this article to other trip reports.

So,we met at our local train station at 8.15am, then it was off to London. We got there a little later than expected, and headed off on the Underground to Green Park, near Buckingham Palace.
Because we were running a little late, we went straight to Horseguards Parade, ducked through, down Whitehall to the end of Downing Street.

There, thanks to the letter from our MP and a little wheedling from the Guiders as we weren't turning up on the right list (we did eventually) we got to go down Downing Street to Number 10.
We had a good 30 mins there, taking individual pics, group pics, any combination you could think of!

Then we walked back up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square where we found a quiet spot to one side and two of us went off to collect tickets for the open top bus tour, along with gift bags for each girl on the trip.
All collected and off we went to the bus, we took over most of the top deck and really enjoyed the trip round to Buckingham Palace, we had a very interesting guide along the way and he really kept the girls' attention. We were allowed to eat while on there too, which was good timing for lunch.

We visited the front of Buck House, then the Guide Association building nearby where the girls were able to spend a little money on treats and tiny teddy bears!
Back to the same bus stop, we headed for the Tower of London on the same (yellow) route on the bus. This time the bus had a recorded commentary - we could barely hear it and it didn't keep the girls' attention at all - I definitely recommend trying to get on a bus with a "live" guide. We stopped for ice cream by the Tower and walked round and had pics with a Beefeater.

Then it was time for a river cruise (included in the open top bus tour), which was fun, and we met an American Girl Scout leader on holiday with her mother and friends, who was very chatty. The weather wasn't great at this point and we had to sit inside, outside would have been way more fun, but it was still great to do something new.

At this point we got off at Westminster Pier and had to work out how we were going to get to Pax Lodge, where we were staying that night. The Northern Line underground was down that day (and the next) and our stop was only on that line. Fortunately we had not just an underground map but a proper map - a must when you are in London because that beautiful Underground map design doesn't always show accurately how close stations are to each other.

So, we headed to East Finchley station instead, as it was a 15 min walk from there to Pax Lodge. The girls were wiped out by the time we got there as it was mostly uphill, but we were pretty pleased about having come up with a Plan B to get there.

We checked in, and divided the girls up into the allocated rooms and got them to unpack a little, then we were booked in for dinner at Pax Lodge, where we met lots of American Girl Scouts and chatted with them. The girls took part in an International Evening with a British, Japanese and Armenian Guider, they had a lot of fun, it was well worth taking part in.

The evening was interesting, took us a while to settle them down, particularly the youngest ones and a couple of older ones who felt homesick but all was quite (from us) by 11 - there were a fair few older girls from another group who were up and loud long after us, including their leader!

In the morning we had breakfast, flag ceremony at Pax Lodge then set off to get into town again. We headed for the rail replacement bus this time as it was a direct route in, and it worked well. We then caught the open top bus tour again (the tickets lasted 24 hours) though this wasn't the best idea, we spent so long working our way round to the Science Museum we were only able to spend 45 mins there. A better idea would have been to take the underground once we were back in central London, but you live and learn!

They had great fun in the Science Museum even though it was a brief visit, and then we did catch the underground, this time to Euston where we had lunch and caught the train home.

It was a great, though tiring, weekend. Not one we'll repeat in a hurry but we have so many ideas, we don't need to repeat it for a while!

Monday, 10 June 2013

Brownie centenary in 2014

Just as Guides were 100 in 2010 (what did we do to mark this? Have a look here), 2014 is Brownies turn to turn 100. The Big Brownie Birthday will run from Jan to summer 2014.
We already have one plan, 2 of us leaders and 9 of our girls are going on a pack holiday with other girls in May 2014, but that's quite expensive and not everyone can afford it, so we always knew we'd plan less expensive things too.
Plans have started to filter down from Region and County, and the opportunities on offer will include:
  • A county launch in Feb 2014 at a multicultural celebration on Thinking Day in February
  • A county sleepover (two nights available) in a very exciting place in March
  • A county scavenger walk in May
  • A Brownie Revels (fun day) in June
  • Alien disco finales in division in July
  • A 4 night Brownie camp for the region in August
We are thrilled to have so many opportunities on offer and so grateful to the county and region volunteers setting them up!

There will also be two national challenges, one for Brownies and one for all other sections including leaders.
One thing I haven't noticed is how much of the events other than the national challenge the Guides will be able to take part in.

Because the 100 years of Guides was the 100 years of Guiding as well, there were many opportunities offered to all sections and I know some Guide leaders felt Guides didn't properly benefit from celebrating their own section level centenary in the way that Rainbows did have when they celebrated 25 years a while ago. So while I am so so grateful that so many events are being staged for us, and we hope to take part in as many as possible, when we are planning events at a unit level I think we will work hard to include our sister Guide unit in what we are doing so that they feel part of everything.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Where I live: Indoors

An off Guiding post...

The American Resident did a post with a linky about Where I Live: Indoors, and I was compelled to join in.

There's a pretty clear pattern to what's on our walls. Pre kids and post kids...
A lino print of the Florence rooftops, bought in the UK not long after returning from an Italian trip taken on a whim.

A print of the Willow Tea Rooms in Glasgow - even more reflective of pre-9/11 actually, as we also bought a mirror with a Mackintosh style ladder frame and were able to carry that back as hand luggage on the plane.
A chalked painting of Venice, bought from an artist while we were there, carefully rolled up and carried home.    

A painting of the park bandstand where we were married, purchased for us on our wedding day by my parents and though small, greatly treasured.

(Sorry this is sideways, I cannot persuade it to rotate). Then we get to post-kids, their wall of glory in our kitchen where I add particularly good paintings or certificates of achievement - both kids have their 2000m swimming and daughter has her Taekwondo black belt certificate there so you can see the paintings are a little out of date but I so clearly remember how proud daughter was of the rabbit being in a hutch (or a pink line she painted round it), son laboured for ages over the Power Rangers he no longer remembers and I can't quite remember which kid did the picture at the top but I do remember that they had just discovered their belly button so added it very clearly!
And finally husband's pride and joy, a signed Tour of Britain top and a picture of him with Mark Cavendish.

Over the years we've gone from carefully selected beautiful original work, to lovingly created original work of a different type, so I see it as an evolution!

Girl-led planning leads exactly where you'd think!

Lots of girl-led planning last night, there were post-it notes and shouted out ideas and flights of fancy and scribbled down points.

And how can we summarise what the girls would like to do if given the chance to pick?

Be outdoors a lot and camping.


Sounds about right, doesn't it!

Friday, 24 May 2013

Halfway through the summer term

So, Guiding is girl-led and our girls decided they wanted to earn as many badges as possible this term, to fill up their sleeves!
We've scheduled a couple of easy to do badges: Agility and Craft, we've already completed Road Safety over a couple of weeks and we've completed two out of three weeks on Disability Awareness. We did try for Fire Safety but our local fire station isn't doing visits just now, so we have put that on hold for a while.
Disability Awareness is going really well, it's being led by a Guider whose son has autism, and his autism assistance dog made a star appearance at Brownies last week - he's so gentle, and focused that even the Brownie whom we were warned is terrified of dogs held his harness for a few seconds, a real "mountaintop moment" for her. This week the girls learned finger spelling and also tried a range of activities with one sense removed - I was on the table where the girls had to butter a slice of bread blindfolded, and I was liberally buttered on the arm by one girl!
We still have a big weekend away with the majority of the Brownies to come, a division dance workshop, promise ceremony for the new girls, girl-led planning for the next term, and our end of term fun at the local campsite. On top of that, I have offered to organise a district trip to a theme park early next term, so it's busy busy, as ever!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Excellent post

Excellent post on Guiding, really could not put it better.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Busy baking

These, along with some lemon cupcakes, will be sold by daughter at our local May Day Fair to raise money for a Guiding trip she's going on. The oven's barely been off today and between these and the mince the Scouts have asked me to store till I take my son to camp tomorrow, there's no room in the fridge for actual food!

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Four more and I know who they are

Four more new Brownies have joined us this term, they all seem quite sweet and look different enough that I was able to know their names by the end of the night! It was easy when my daughter was a Brownie because I knew most newbies from her class or the year after, so any from a different school didn't need much effort to remember.
But now almost every new Brownie I have never met before, so it requires concentration from me to keep their names straight the first few nights. I was quite pleased to have L, N, R and G sorted out by the end of the first evening.
Our newest Guider led the meeting, did a cracking job and was watched by our district commissioner so she could have that part of her leadership qualification signed off.
Full steam ahead for the rest of the term.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Brownies round the world: Canada

What better way to celebrate 500 posts here than with a post about one of my very favourite countries, Canada, combined with one of the most visited sections of my blog, the Brownies round the world series.

Previous posts:
Brownies in Canada are called...Brownies! They are aged 7-8 (a crucial difference to the UK, where ours are aged 7-10).

Their full uniform: T-shirt, navy cargo pants, badge sash, reef knot pin and tie, though more than one Canadian leader has told me their unit doesn't wear the cargo pants, preferring a combination of jeans/shorts for most occasions and smart trousers for Remembrance Sunday etc.

Their promise, like the promise for older girls and leaders, has recently changed and is now:
I Promise to do my best,
To be true to myself, my beliefs and Canada
I will take action for a better world
And respect the Brownie Law

Guiding in Canada is just one year younger than in the UK, so they are over 100 just like us! There are around 90,000 members.

More about Canada Girl Guides


Wednesday, 10 April 2013

46 tickets

We're off to London soon, that's 46 train tickets collected! With the help of railcards and booking 90 days ahead we are getting 23 of us to London for an average £6.50 a head (just as a comparison, if you walk on to a train at our station at rush hour it would be closer to £100 a head) thanks to also taking the slightly slower route and staying out of rush hour.

Takes a long time for the machine at the station to print out 46 tickets for there and back!

Friday, 29 March 2013


I've become famous: the fabulous Kelloggsville was interviewed for Guiding magazine (a mag sent out every 3 months to Guiders) and mentioned this blog so I have lots of new visitors - you're all very welcome, feel free to comment or email me!

Despite hits rising on the blog, it's been pretty quiet here: we broke up a week early because there was a disco on in our usual meeting place that most of our girls would be attending, so we have a long Easter break. I've been doing the usual between term admin - removing details of the 4 girls that left for Guides from my records, adding details of the 4 starting after Easter.

We have a fun though fairly loose programme for the summer term: some Road Safety, some Disability Awareness, hopefully Fire Safety and a few other outdoorsy things across the term. We have a weekend away for most of the girls too and for all of the leaders too.

One exciting piece of news, my daughter, who was a Brownie with me, currently nearing the end of her time as a Guide and moving on to Senior Section after the summer, has been selected for a county trip to Our Chalet in Switzerland, one of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts four World Centres, next summer.
It's somewhere I have always wanted to go to (as has my mum!) so I am quite jealous but also quite proud. She has to fundraise the cost of the trip, so we will be coming up with ideas soon, she hasn't yet met with the leaders of the trip though so I don't want to preempt that by storming ahead now!

She's at exactly the age I left Guiding - I was a Brownie and a Guide but left Rangers (as it was then) within three weeks of starting - I hated the turquoise blouse and the apparently aimless sitting around. So I am pleased that she is getting involved in such exciting things to keep her in Guiding (also, no more turquoise blouses, it's all hoodies now!)

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Circus Skills

We held a Circus Skills workshop this weekend just gone, and to give value for money for the cost of the hall hire and bringing in the workshop guy (from Shooting Stars, can't recommend them highly enough) we also extended the day and ran Craft and Number Fun badges for the girls. All in all we were there for 6 1/2 hours and they all had a blast.
We had 20 out of our 24 girls, so it was a good unit bonding session too!

We took loads of pics, but of course I want to preserve the girls' privacy. So this pic is mostly from behind and a few faces blurred. Trust me when I tell you those blurry faces had big smiles on!

Time for an Easter break.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Wales and Marie Curie and Big Brownie Birthday and...

You'd think by not posting since Feb 22nd,

we've not been up to anything! On the contrary, we've been up to so much, and lots of it Welsh!

We planted daffodils back in November, and as we had no Brownies leave at Christmas, and just one join us that we had supplied a daffodil to, it was a lovely sight when they all brought back their daffodils to show off for our St Davids Day meeting. The daffodils were a Marie Curie fundraiser, and I am really proud to say that the girls raised £165. We do have another £6 to add, from a Brownie who was late bringing her money, so the total will be £171, I'm pretty pleased with that. Of 24 Brownies, nearly every one took the time to raise money through chores and donations and I'm very proud of them, they really took the messages on board and raised anything between 50p and £13 each.

The daffodils, and fundraising, were tied into our Welsh evening, which our Welsh Guider led, and involved some yummy Welsh cakes and Caerphilly. We've learned about Wales before, when we did the British Traditions badge, but that was January 2008 so the girls who were Brownies then have long gone!

Then the other exciting Wales news is that we are joining a Brownie weekend away in Wales next year. Two leaders, 8 Brownies, though there's another 2 Brownies might join us if we can get more places. It's part of the Big Brownie Birthday which happens in 2014 - Brownies will be 100 years old so there will be lots happening. I'll definitely talk more about that!

We had the week after the Welsh night off due to an event at the school where we meet. Between Brownies and Guides we mustered up 6 of us to head to the pub for dinner instead and we had a lovely night out. The Rainbow leaders sadly couldn't join us, or we'd have had a full set of sections, and one of the Brownie leaders had a school governors meeting so we missed her too.

Then we had county training day for 4 of us, 3 of us were also helping at that too yet we did manage to join in the sessions.

Oh, and what I've missed out is that 3 of our leaders ended up running a weekend away for the neighbouring Brownie pack. Two of them were meant to be helping but the leader of that unit became ill and pulled out a couple of days before. Because the weekend was wholly paid for, and this particular unit had already had a holiday cancelled due to bad weather, our two leaders carried on and the third was kind enough to step in. I couldn't help due to commitments with my two kids so I was the emergency home contact.

Phew - long post!

The final meeting in our series of country meetings was this week and that was Ireland. The girls had a fab time learning about the country and we all learned something new!

Last event of this term: a Badge Blitz tomorrow. We'll be doing Craft, Number Fun and Circus Performer with a specialist workshop guy coming in with his equipment. Should be lots of fun!

Friday, 22 February 2013

Happy World Thinking Day 2013

To all my fellow Girl Guide and Girl Scout members, a Happy World Thinking Day. And to all Scouting members, Happy Founders Day.

We've already celebrated, as this day falls during our half term. Our district organised an event for the whole division, here's what we did: Thinking Day (early): I Will Survive

And here's what we've done in the past:
2007: Thinking Day at Coventry Cathedral (before I started this blog, so no post)
2008: Water water everywhere and Full of joy! and Back from Westminster Abbey
2009: I can't remember *hangs head in shame*. There's nothing on the blog, and my files just show that we planned to cover it in our meeting and attend a division event but I haven't written down anywhere easily accessible what we did!
2010: One World One Beat
2011: Thinking day: Bolivia and Thinking Day 2011: Lemons and Limes and Sharing
2012: World Thinking Day aka Founders Day aka Wednesday (just a greeting, no meeting info from last year!)

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Thinking Day (early)

Our division held Thinking Day yesterday. It should be held on Feb 22nd, or at least the closest weekend, because the whole point of the date is that it was Lord Baden Powell's birthday, as well as his wife Olave's, who was World Chief Guide.
But half term means our numbers are often very low for this event, so it was decided we would try an earlier event, and as we had 126 girls yesterday, that seems like a success to me!

We used the theme of survival, and it seemed a great success (even if I do say so myself, as I was one of the organisers!)
I didn't get to see everything in action as I was running one of the zones. Reports back were that it worked well though.
We had an intro and then the girls were split into 5 groups mixed Rainbows, Brownies and Guides (no Senior Section signed up, we would have catered for them too if they had. Four Senior Section did volunteer to come and help in my zone.)

  • Caring Zone: a 10 min video from Toybox charity of how street children live and what is being done to try and help them, then making collection boxes to collect spare change for the charity.
  • Shelter Zone: (our zone) we had boxes, newspapers, fabric, plastic sheeting, a few canes and some string. The girls had to make a shelter that fitted in everyone from their group. I particularly liked the shelter one Guide group made using canes and lashings.
  • Food zone: not just cooking chapattis but also using stones to grind the flour needed, it was a real eye opener for the girls to see how little flour they got for so much effort.
  • Water zone: they learned about filtering, about how heavy water can be to carry, and (very hard hitting) how often a child dies because of dirty water (every 15 seconds)
  • Communication zone: ways of communicating without using technology.
There was a speech at the start, a speech at the end, a presentation for 20 years service, and then we all sang a Rainbow finishing song, Brownie Bells, and Taps. For those of it running it there was a bit of clear up: I did have one leader ask me for the cardboard and plastic sheeting so she could run the shelter zone in her own unit, so despite the fact I had an enormous sack of rubbish that I took to the tip this morning, I still had less than I arrived with, always a bonus!

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Cabers, Irn Bru and other stereotypes

Tonight, my Brownies:
  • learned a little about Scottish geography,
  • drew Nessie,
  • drank Irn Bru or Highland Spring,
  • tasted shortbread,
  • tossed cabers (ok, straws!),
  • hurled shot putts (ok, balloons) and
  • either herded sheep or were sheep being herded!
I've not been well and my voice barely held out so I didn't teach them Ye Canny Shove Yer Granny Aff a Bus, which was on my plan, another time!:
As you can see, I sneakily adapted what I'd done nearly 3 years ago as all our Brownies from then had moved on.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Alas poor Snowy

If you're friends with me on Facebook, you'll already know about Snowy, the snowman who refused to die.
If not: we built a snowman last weekend and every day he tilted further to the ground at gravity-defying angles until I had people claiming we had used wires, scaffolding, poles...
None of the above. Snowy was just a snowman who refused to accept the conventional wisdom that gravity is in charge.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Bits, pieces and other things

I never did get back to the Guiding promise after I posted the link a few days ago - I was in Edinburgh and posting on my mobile so you'll have to forgive me.
Kelloggsville expanded a little on it, so check her link out for more on that.
Pressing on with what we are up to:
  • Just 1 new Brownie this term, she is an older (8 year old) girl who we've managed to squeeze in and is fitting in just fine already.
  • We have a stunningly short term this term, just 8 weeks - 6 weeks before half term and only 2 after! That's because the school where we meet has a couple of things happening in the second half of half term that clash with our meeting and are appealing to our girls, most of whom do go to that school so there's no point in setting up an alternative meeting those nights.
  • So, we are packing the term full of fun even if it is short - there's Thinking Day and food tasting and litter picking and circus skills and more.
  • We've got a big weekend away in the summer term and took the second of three installments for that: it's creeping closer! Chuffed to say that 15/19 of the girls who can go (ie not the newbie from January or the 4 starting at Easter) have signed up plus all the leaders are going too.
  • We're planning ahead too: our county ran a Bear's Bedtime for Brownies in October last year and will be running it again this year, we have already for a hall lined up so we can take part, and we're hoping to get all 24 girls to do it!

Friday, 4 January 2013

Have your say on the Guiding promise

I'm away from a computer and will post more fully on this when I can. But I wanted to let you know there is a consultation open on the Girlguiding UK promise.

And everyone can have their say from the littlest Rainbow through Brownies, Guides, Senior Section and leaders. There's an option for non members too.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Rest and be thankful

I think this year I am going to focus on positives. Too often we let negatives overtake us yet I know there are so many positives. Is anyone else like me in this? Sometimes feels swamped by the negatives and has to make a point of recognising the positives?
So while I'm not planning on posting daily, I am going to highlight a positive each time I do post even if irrelevant to the actual post.
To start: while husband did have a car crash on Christmas Eve, and his car is written off as a result, he is fine, the guy in the other vehicle is fine, and that makes us very lucky. And we had been dithering about replacing both our cars for so long this has forced our hand to replace his and work towards replacing mine in 18 months time.
And a Guiding positive: we have a fantastic unit team, excellent Brownies and a fun 2013 ahead. We're planning a very big weekend for the girls in June, a fun day in March and lots of teambuilding and leadership and community and charitable support.
Bring on 2013!
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