Holidays · Posts

Brownie Holiday

It’s taken me a while to get around to writing this, purely because it’s taken me a while to recover from the weekend.

The theme was based around the world centres and the world guiding badge, we visited Switzerland and grass sledged, painted elephants from India and made masks and had a Mexican piñata.

It was a fantastic weekend, I got my 10 nights away at Maer badge (the place that the cottage is), and the weather was beautiful, however they were awful at sleeping. Awful.

11pm Friday night was lights out and we stop sitting in there. 1am, we went to bed and could hear vague mutterings. 2am, a very angry dusky owl shouted at them for the first time in her life as they were out of the beds screaming with the lights on. 4am, they ran out of loo roll, 5am they wanted to know what the time was, and 6am they wanted to know if they could get dressed. Because these are clearly emergencies worthy of waking us up.

Needless to say the next day we needed coffee and the girls were too tired to stay awake, but there was something satisfying about telling them to play on the playground when all they wanted to do was rest!

Nevertheless, it was a brilliant holiday, and I cannot wait to start planning mine for my holiday licence. We brainstormed some themes on the weekend, but I’m also going to ask the girls. At the moment, I’m in favour of Cinderella theme- where they have to be in bed for midnight or they all turn into pumpkins! What a shame that would be!

So basically the weekend was amazing as usual but I am so tired and I can’t wait for my test holiday!!

Personal · Posts

A Guiding Update

I am a third year pharmacy student. I should probably do less guiding and more learning, but I spend all day every day in the library so I figure I deserve the guiding time! I’m honestly doing so much I do not even know where to start.

At brownies, I recently renewed my first response and need to do safe space level 3, because I’M DOING MY HOLIDAY LICENCE!!!!!! Who knew when I didn’t want to leave guides in December 2011 that 6 years later I would be all ready to embark on the Going Away With Scheme. What am I doing? Either way, I cannot wait. I’m buzzing for my test even though it’ll be this time next year, which feels like ages but will probably fly by.

Over the summer I plan to do the ICANDO London Challenge, maybe a Pax Lodge one, and hopefully Wellies and Wristbands if I can get the time off placement.

With SSAGO, we are going camping to Kandersteg International Scout Centre. Its in 53 days and I find that quite scary. However, we are hiking to Our Chalet which I am soooooooooo excited for. I fully intend to buy all of the badges, a necker and hopefully a hoodie if it is within my 100CHF budget. (Its a once in a lifetime thing, okay.) We are also running a midlands camp which I wish was more planned than it is argh.

My SSAGO presidential year is nearly over as well which is heartbreaking, especially as I am not on committee next year. I am genuinely gutted, and also wish I was on SSAGO exec. But no, once again my degree is ruining all my hopes and dreams because I have to spend every waking minute doing work or applying for placements or visiting hospitals. All I want is guiding and SSAGO but sadly no. Oh, also I was going to do Unity 2018 (Guiding Stafforshire’s international camp in Uttoxeter), but no I couldn’t fit it with placements. Service team for 2022, here I come. I hate pharmacy.

Because of this huge gap in my life where I have a spare 5+ hours a week from not doing SSAGO, I am going to do Queens Guide. I sent off my first email an hour ago about it, so my commitment is in very early days right now, but I am fed up with turning down amazing guiding opportunities all for my degree. These days are partially over – if I can do it whilst qualifying then I can do anything, and if I can’t, at least I tried. Queen’s Guide Award, here I come!!!

Games · Posts

The Chair Game

This is one of Barn Owl’s, and the girls now ask for it EVERY week. Madness!

Everyone sits on a chair in a circle, then everyone moves their chair two steps back, because no one needs to be that close. The game in itself is very simple. If the leader says a statement that applies to you, you move one seat to the right. If it doesn’t apply, stay where you are, and potentially have another girl on your lap.

Eg: ‘Move if you walked to school this morning’. Girl 1 walked but Girl 2 drove, so Girl 1 would move one seat right and sit on Girl 2’s lap.

When a statement applies to you, you have to move, if you have no one on you, five people on you, or are mid pile. Everyone that is sat above you also has to move when you move, people below you stay where they are unless it applies to them too. Therefore, girl A, B, C, D may all be sat on each other, and when girl C moves, girl A and B must too. Simple!

Some ideas for calling:

  • If you have a ponytail
  • If you have a dog
  • If you had toast for breakfast
  • If you’re on a green chair
  • If you have a brother
  • If you went on holiday over Easter
  • If you’re 8
  • If you have white socks on
  • The list goes on, be as creative as possible! If you want everyone to move, just say ‘If you love Brownies!’
Meetings · Posts

Science Investigator Badge

As I promised last year when I started this blog, uni would take over my life and I would neglect it. I’m hoping to make up for it with a lot of posts tonight but no promises!

In November I ran the science investigator badge for 12 of the girls. This post may become redundant with the new programme incoming but oh well, I’m writing it anyway.

Because I am currently not in the same room as my badge plans, I’m doing this from memory but shall try to do it as well as possible. Most of my meetings filled an hour, as we spent half an hour singing ready for our visit to the care home for Christmas.

Week 1: Spaghetti and Marshmallow towers (Easy, cheap, and the girls loved them!), and then we made cress in yogurt pots. It was easier to transport than eggshells, and I don’t even like eggs. The effect wasn’t as good but the girls seemed happy decorating the pots with tissue paper and feathers. Overall, it was a good night.

Week 2: Slime. Need I say more? I only planned to do this badge so they could make slime, as they’ve been asking for ages. It took 5 attempts to get a working recipe, but I promised slime so I wasn’t going to give up. Eventually I determined the optimum recipe was PVA glue, a small amount of bicarbonate of soda (out of date works fine!) and slowly adding contact lens solution until it comes away from the sides of the pot. Food colouring can be added if you want to make it colourful, I’m sure glitter or other things could be too. They absolutely loved it! Was definitely worth the utter stress to see them enjoying their slime. Suddenly they weren’t so bored with the idea of doing science!

Week 3: Space. I needed a filler week, so we made straw rockets (template, you put a piece of a big straw on the back, and then put a smaller straw in it and blow. Relays down the hall is great fun!) The small straws were normal ones, I may have borrowed 6 wider straws from McDonalds for the big back ones and cut them in half. I looked very sad eating alone with a large amount of straws! We also did a space quiz, because space is cool, and I also made it about famous people who did things with space. A lot of the girls thought Louis Armstrong went to the moon!!

Week 4: Indicators. We made red cabbage indicators (I nicked the flat’s kettle, and hoped they wouldn’t want a cup of tea for a couple of hours, oh the woes of a student house), and tested loads of things for acid and alkali. Each girl had a different thing to add to the solution, such as lemon juice, soap, berocca, washing up liquid, coke, vinegar, laundry powder, fabric conditioner, and a couple of other things I found in the house. They absolutely loved seeing the colour change, and I like to think I taught them a bit about acids being sharp and alkalis being soapy. It was a really great activity and I’m glad they enjoyed the badge. Below is my experiment at home before I decided to do the indicator – if there’s one thing I know about science its that you need to make sure it works before you try to impress people!


Meetings · Posts

First week back

What a strange week it was. Started off with paperwork for our five new girls getting all mixed up and a very confused mess trying to find whose was whose (stupid GO for putting the girls names on them instead of leaving them blank – but that’s a rant for another day) and then we went into the hall. After some long winded introductions and tangents about who did what in the holidays, we sat down to make some ‘helping hands.’

The girls drew around their hand, cut it out and coloured it in, then wrote on each finger a different thing that they could do to lend a hand. In the palm they wrote ‘XXXX’s Helping Hand’ and stuck it up on the wall. It was a very simple activity but helped to teach the new girls about the Brownie Guide Law. The girls then tidied away?????????!!!!!!!!! and played games for the rest of the night, until it was time to go home and sing the birthday song four times.

It was a good meeting to start off on, but very very very strange that they were so helpful tidying up. Shame they couldn’t be as well behaved in the circle, but I’ll take what I can get!!

Personal · Posts

Wellies and Wristbands


After some wine, a friend of mine decided we should do Wellies and Wristbands this year, and I did not need much convincing. I always wanted to go when I was in a Senior Section unit and staffing was the next best thing.

Leaving work early on the thursday of August bank holiday, I started the 2.5h drive to Foxlease at 6pm (I forgot it would get dark), arriving shortly before 9 in the pitch black. I found the person I was sharing a tent with and I promptly went to bed for a nice early breakfast and setup before the girls arrived.

I was working in the walled garden cafe, which meant no one needed us until tents were put up, so the afternoon started slowly, but it soon picked up and there was an immediate queue of girls waiting to go in the hot tubs. I jumped in one first with two others from the cafe team, whilst they were still clean (the guides don’t seem bothered about how dirty the water gets) and explored the rest of the site. We saw some of the acts, went on the ferris wheel, and went back to work.

The rest of the weekend was much the same, very busy as everyone needed their caffeine or hot chocolate fix, but I squeezed in the shop, the craft tent, henna, glitter tattoos, riding a segway and Foxlease’s geocaching trail. I must have drunk endless coffee, as our day started work at 6.30am and finished at 10.30pm, with about 4 hours and meals off each day. We did close the cafe for the UV party though, which was great fun. (see picture of the Walled Garden Cafe team ready to party!)

It was a very very busy weekend for everyone, and all of the volunteers who went there and gave up the bank holiday weekend for 3000 guides are to be applauded. Everyone has given such amazing feedback about the event, and I made some great friends. Paying £40 to work 12 hour days and not get paid for it? My family thought I was absolutely mad, but sign me up for next year. I had the time of my life, despite the exhaustion, and I would encourage everyone to do it. Yes, it is hard work, but like all guiding, it was so rewarding.

Meetings · Posts

Badge planning

I am either brave or insane. A couple of brownies mentioned to me last term that they wanted to make slime, so I’m running with it and doing the science investigators badge! I have four weeks planned (as, like the craft badge I did, we’re running it alongside the cook’s badge with the girls who are soon to leave having the choice which one they do.)

Luckily we haven’t gone back yet (start next week, when I’m back in uni because, as second leader, they kind of need me with the other one off sick) which means I’m able to leave my planning so late. We also have two weeks of settling back in and getting the new girls involved with promise activities etc.

I haven’t planned it into separate weeks yet, but the gist is fingerprinting, lemon juice invisible ink, making red cabbage indicators, spaghetti and marshmallow towers, keeping malteasers up by blowing them through a straw, chromatography, lava lamps, cress heads, making up plays about famous scientists (idea stolen from and of course, slime.

My next job is to actually do some of them to make sure they work and to see how long they take so I can plan it in individual weeks. Which means, I’m going to town with a very strange shopping list, of aldi BLUE laundry detergent, red cabbage, coffee filters or similar, effervescent tablets and many other things. I’m also seeing my friends in town, so who knows what they’ll think of my list of things to buy. I feel like only fellow guiders will understand the strange things we buy in the name of guiding.

Obviously I’ll post as I do the activities with info about how they went, and all of our other brownie meetings, but until then,

Yours in guiding,