A month late (I’ve been on holiday and working full time since it happened, and have spent my afternoon off doing guiding), I am writing this post about Girlguiding Staffordshire’s Centenary event – Sparkle.


The day was absolutely brilliant, if not a bit chaotic with 4000+ members of gg staffs! Luckily the weather at County Showground was amazing and we had a slightly too hot, sunny day. The first zone our girls went to was the funhouse zone, which was full of funfair style rides, activities and also a petting zoo. We got incredibly cool temporary tattoos, met some owls, and the girls loved the rides!

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The next zone was the mega zone, where I got friction burn from a having an inflatable obstacle course race, and the girls enjoyed activities such as the climbing wall, helter skelter and inflatables. After that, we moved to the glitter zone, where most of the girls spent their time in the headphone disco, or learning circus skills. This zone was much quieter as it was late in the day, and we then went to the parade and finale.

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Divided into our divisions, and with our special t-shirts on – each division had a different colour and we had to decorate them in meetings, we entered the showground where there was the likes of the Disney princesses, an Olly Murs tribute and a Robbie Williams tribute, all performing for the girls to celebrate the centenary of Guiding in our county. When the celebrations came to a close, some very tired brownies all got back on the coach and we had a quiet trip back up to Stoke!

My top to represent Newcastle division

It was a fab day, thank you so much to Girlguiding Staffordshire for making it happen, everyone I talked to had a fab day and it was lovely to see everyone in county and how many people are part of our giant family! ♥ ♥ ♥


Personal · Posts

Pax Lodge and other plans

So, one month into the summer holidays, and guiding has once more taken over my life. I’ve been back to home brownies and guides twice, where in brownies they made pompoms (which they found frustrating, but liked the end result), and boomerangs out of a cross shape of card which I will attempt sometime and post a proper link to because it worked nicely) and my new shiny well behaved guides (the troublemakers have left yay) did their Go For It!s in patrols.

Anyway, on to more important things. This week I had the most amazing trip to London with my boyfriend, so I dragged him around the one and only London WAGGGS centre- Pax Lodge. What an amazing place, it radiates friendship and unity and really makes you feel part of something. Talking to the South American receptionist who is also a brownie leader really made me feel connected to so many other women all over the world. Guiding is truly beautiful. My bored scout didn’t seem to be having the same epiphany as me, but that’s what you get for dating a guide. It was a truly wonderful experience to see one of the world centres at last and learn more about guiding worldwide and it’s history. I spent an obscene amount in the shop – £18 and would’ve spent more quite happily.

My camp blanket now looks beautiful as the badges I got from my first world centre have filled up my second perimeter nicely, but getting the Pax Lodge pin through the awful new style badge tabs was a pain. 10/10 would recommend a visit, just look how thrilled I am.

Personal · Posts

Why I’m useless in the summer holidays

I have nowhere near enough guiding events to look forward to. As I’m now at home, I no longer have SSAGO or Brownies to entertain me in every living moment, and its rather hard to bare. All I have is Sparkle, Staffordshire’s centenary event, and Wellies and Wristbands. Oh, and SSAGO rally in Huddersfield and a potential trip to Pax Lodge with my boyfriend. This is not enough things to do!!! I’m feeling guiding deprived already and I’ve only been home for a week and a half. I’m settling for trawling the internet looking for guiding things to buy to cheer me up or guiding things to do. I was not aware that I’m this addicted to guiding! Does anyone have any tips to cope without guiding?

Crafts · Meetings · Posts

Dream Catchers

How this took them an hour and a half I do not know, but this is the craft we did to finish off their craft badge. 

It required a paper plate which I cut the insides out of and hole punched beforehand (it took me quite a while so the brownies would’ve taken ages) and the girls then decorated it, some took 45 minutes on this and I wish I was exaggerating. Nevertheless we ploughed on, attaching the feathers with simple knots in 3x 15-20cm lengths of wool. Another length of wool that size was used to make a hanging loop. 

Then the fun began. I cut 150cm (approximately, I was using my arm as a measuring device), lengths of wool and told them to weave it through, adding beads if they wanted to. This is apparently impossible and none of them could do it because they were all bored and gave up, but eventually we got there and, once they had tasted the food the girls doing the cooks badge had made, we were ready to leave, only 15 minutes late! (I didn’t get home until 8.50 that night, oops) 

Overall, the craft was super cute, and it looked really good, the brownies were so excited until I told them that I wouldn’t be doing it for them. They still enjoyed it though and it was good fun had by all. 

Crafts · Meetings · Posts

Salt Dough Part II

After a week of air drying the Salt Dough in my student bedroom, resulting in zero space for me and limited drying due to the position of my window, I put some in the oven on Tuesday night when I realised they wouldn’t be done in time. THIS WAS A DREADFUL IDEA. Idiot owl (what I should actually be called) used SR flour and forgot that the wet bits of the beads would rise but the dry bits wouldn’t, causing a very strange shape and colour. Even better, some of the holes sealed over.

Nevertheless, I powered on and after several “I can’t do it”s and a very frustrated leader later, we had a vague approximation of bracelets and necklaces. All that was left to do then was to try to clear up and get them sat down ready for a miracle – achieving a craft in half an hour.

Now, this week I had great plans. Luckily (in hindsight with regards to fitting everything into a meeting, not at the time), I had an absolutely hideous exam on Monday, so decided to do my time consuming prep work next week to maximise revision time and came up with a quick solution, sun catchers. My inspiration for this filled me with hope, and I thought about making a simple version that took half of the effort. I whipped up a prototype in five minutes, which definitely looks like a prototype, but it was good enough to give the girls an idea of what to do. In my defence, I had lost my glue and tape so had to use washi tape, and literally threw the paper on in any random pattern. Its exam season, okay?

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So. After telling the girls to draw a shape on folded in half black card with a smaller shape inside it, I then got them to cut it out. Letter openers are the best way to stab a hole in the middle bit so they can cut it out. I was given one by my old Owlet after finding they were a great way to punch holes in yogurt pots, card, anything, and it was the first item in my guiding arsenal.

When half of them had successfully made 2 outlines, I let them loose with the tissue paper and tried to fix the others. Eventually (after telling them to hurry up, there’s only 5 mins left, shut up, if you don’t finish this you wont get your badge, shush, get a move on, please listen), we glued the second black outline on to the first, sandwiching the tissue paper between them and added a handle out of tissue paper. At 25 to 8 we finished Brownie Bells and they all left, only 5 minutes late.

Overall verdict: It’s my fault that the salt dough was such a time consuming disaster because I well and truly ruined it, but the girls did a great job considering, I just wish they would have more confidence and not say they can’t do it before they even start. The sun catchers only took half an hour which is amazing and I’m very happy with how well it went. They are definitely a good filler craft and are very cheap and easy to do, but the girls liked it and were happy with how they turned out.

Crafts · Meetings · Posts

Successful Salt Dough?????

Yes, you heard right. This salt dough was not actually too painful. For week two of the craft badge, I decided to attempt the clause ‘Make two matching items of jewellery from home-made beads or pendants.’ and my stupid brain decided that the messiest craft ever would be fab.

Fast forward two weeks, and I’m posting on the brownie support facebook group asking for advice because it is the day of salt dough and I’m scared. Having bought the salt and the flour, but forgetting the food colouring, bowls, baking paper and straws, I had to make another shopping trip (instead of revising for next week’s exams, what a shame), and then I spent the rest of the afternoon weighing out ingredients. I gave each group of four two bowls with 200g SR flour and 100g salt in each. once they’d got the bags open and mixed the powders, I added the water to prevent any disasters and also the food colouring (saves having to paint them if they’re pre-coloured.)

Pro-tip here: use liquid food colouring here not the gel tube things, it doesn’t stretch as far and the colours are a lot less bright.

They then shaped the dough into beads, and after being bored of making beads, many just made random shapes. at 7.35 after telling them to pack up for about 20 minutes and them making ‘just one more bead’, we finally got to brownie bells and once they’d gone the sweeping began. I would definitely recommend keeping it as far away from carpet as possible, but eventually we got there. The beads are now air drying on my desk because I’m too tired to cook them, but I can’t complain at all seeing as the evening went a lot better than I expected.

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If you decide to try salt dough, then I have some advice. Measure out quantities beforehand because it takes too long, DON’T use gel food colour, definitely DON’T use poster paint to colour the dough (I experimented before brownies, the colour was rubbish and the dough too liquidy), and have a hand washing bowl in the hall, bonus points if there is a towel as well so they can dry their hands. (Yes I forgot all about this.) Also make sure you have some way of transporting them home, a baking tray or ten is ideal for this purpose.

Overall, mess factor was lower than expected, stress was lower than expected and I think the girls really liked it! I’m still undecided on if I will cook it or not, but I’ll see how it goes over the next day or so.