Pizza Based Evening


On Friday I got to experience two different ways of making pizza.  My Brownies and Guides are both doing a lot of cooking this term, and Friday was designated Pizza Day.

The Brownies made pitta pizza – use a pitta bread as the base, pile high with toppings, and cook.  Simple, yet effective, and allows for a lot of creativity on arranging the toppings.

The Guides, on the other hand, were given some flour, yeast and water, and told to get on with it.

Ok, so they may have been given a little instruction too.  But only a little, because I don’t really know anything about making pizza bases from scratch.

It turns out that bread dough has the same consistency as slime, so they quite enjoyed the kneading part.  And they did amazingly well.  I’ve had worse pizzas from proper restaurants.


Year of the Volunteer Challenge Update


This week, I’ve made some progress towards the year of the volunteer challenge.

Specifically, I’ve had a go at Yoga, one of the Active “try it” challenges.

One of the yoga centres in Bristol has recently changed management and they were having a week of free trial sessions.  As I was intending to try it anyway, I naturally jumped on that opportunity!

The lesson was an hour long and was hatha yoga.  For those of you who are not yoga experts (which I imagine is most of you!) that’s one of the slower and more gentle versions of yoga.  Lots of stretching, breath awareness and guided relaxation.

It was an interesting experience.  I’m not sure that I want to take it up as a hobby, even if I had time, but I’m glad I tried it.

The stretching in particular I found helpful.  I do a little stretching most days already – it counteracts sitting at a desk all day and the muscle tightening that happens as a result of cycling so much.  However doing the longer period, and not rushing it, did make me feel good.  I think I will attempt to put some longer stretching sessions into my routine a couple of days a week.

This weekend I plan to do the Personal Development challenge, which was to think about where I want to be in 5, 10 and 20 years time.  I think the longer time period will be particularly difficult.  I sometimes struggle to remember that I’m an adult, so to think about things that will happen when I’m in my 50s is… odd.

Depending on how the thinking goes, I may or may not share some of the results with you.

In other news, here’s a picture of some cakes decorated by some Guides.  I popped in to their meeting to get a cheque signed and couldn’t resist taking a look at what they were doing!


If you want something doing…


The traditional end to that sentence is, of course, “do it yourself”.  But I would like to suggest an alternative ending.

If you want something doing, make it fun and employ child labour.

This, I suspect, will come as no shock to anyone who has children and has ever needed them to tidy up after themselves.

In the past couple of weeks I’ve played two “games” which fall into this category.

First, my Brownies played the pen-sorting game.  This is a relay race in which there is a large box of unsorted pens in the centre of the room.  The Brownies, in their Sixes, are each assigned a type of pen or pencil – for example “felt tips”, “biros”, “grey pencils” and “coloured pencils”.  If you only had felt tips you could divide them by colours instead.

They take it in turns to run up to the centre and grab something of the appropriate type.  Back in their Six corner, they try it out – if the pen works and has a lid, they put it in their box.  If the pen doesn’t work, they put it in the bin.  If it’s a pencil, they have to sharpen it.

At the end of the game, you have several boxes containing pens which work, have lids, and are separated into types.

They got surprisingly competitive about it.  It probably helped that I promised them Six points based on how many items they correctly collected.

I think the most amusing part was the reaction of our Guide helper.  She listened to the instructions of the game, and then when they had started, she sidled up to me and asked, somewhat incredulously, “are you just making them do chores?”.

Secondly, my Guides – they aren’t very good at cleaning up after themselves.  So on Friday we had a competition – a quality race.

Each group was given a room at random.  We have four areas which we can use for different things, which makes this easier – the groups were “main room”, “messy room” (it has easy-clean flooring), “kitchen” and “bathrooms”.  Each room had a detailed list of tasks, such as “put equipment back in the correct boxes”, “if bin is full, remove the bag, tie the top, place it next to the fire exit, and put a new bin bag in the bin”, “wipe the kitchen benches with antibacterial spray and a damp cloth”, and “vacuum the carpeted areas”.

Then they raced to see which group could complete their tasks quickest and best.  They got points for teamwork and tasks completed, and lost points for complaining (although there actually wasn’t any of that, which surprised me) or getting in the way of another team.

I was amazed that they actually did it very well.  I was expecting more resistance.  I suspect that will come when they realise that over the next three weeks they will be doing the same activity, so that they all have a go at all the rooms…

What tasks have you had your Brownies or Guides do that could be considered “chores”?  How did you make them fun?

The glamorous side of being a Leader


Being a leader in Girlguiding isn’t all trips and holidays, despite what my blog has said over the past few weeks.

I’ve been using the Easter holidays to catch up on a few things.

Like accounts, and tidying the cupboard.

I love our cupboard space. Compared to what some units have, it’s positively enormous. On the other hand, that does lead to us becoming slightly less disciplined about what we keep.

Plus, with four units sharing the space, there are always those items that you don’t know whether you’re allowed to throw away or not. And there’s never enough time in unit meetings to deal with the problem fully.

Hence, tidying.

Over the years we’ve had occasional tidying parties, which can be quite entertaining, with the right mindset. Difficult not to get distracted by the interesting finds at the bottom of the piles though.

Sometimes we make an evening of it and get the Brownies to help.


Does anyone else have a box like this one?

On this occasion, though, I went by myself, with a specific focus.  When we got back from our indoor holiday a couple of weeks ago, we just kind of dumped a whole lot of things.  My aim was to put them away properly, and to make a list of the food that we’d had left over that would still be in date for summer camp.

I only got a little bit distracted.

I actually find tidying quite calming.  There’s just something wonderful about looking at a room where everything is in its place, and knowing that you did that.  And knowing that you had time to do that, without having to spend less time with the Brownies.

I had to go back a few days later and do a little more.

On that occasion, I was sorting paperwork.  There’s a box of things like old accounts, which is supposed to get looked at each year – you put the most recent set in, and take out the oldest one and throw it away.  There shouldn’t ever be accounts in there more than 7 years old.

Yeah, so that doesn’t happen.

The oldest set of accounts I found was from 2004, so it wasn’t too bad…

On the other hand, I did find some treasure.  What it was doing in the accounts box, I’m not sure, but that’s our filing system for you.

In the Brownie Traditions badge, there’s a clause about what Brownies will be like in ten years time.  I found some posters that the girls had made around 2005 (ish, I think, based on the names on some of them, because of course none of them were dated).

It’s been twelve years.  Let’s have a look, shall we?  How close were their predictions?

Uniform: yellow top, brown skirt, yellow jacket.  Pretty close.

Brownie huts: will still have windows and doors.  They got that right!

Every time you come you get a balloon.  Not there yet, but could be do-able if they really wanted.  Not sure about the environmental impact.

Private jet.  I’m still waiting for this one!

Uniform: that dress is pretty swish, actually, and I like the inclusion of the “pretty hair thingy”.  Pretty sure you can actually get Brownie hair “thingy”s from the shop.

Loads of badges: definitely.  Really easily: not so much.  They’re supposed to be a challenge!

Again with the private jet, but this time also a limousine? Got some ambitions these girls!

Robot leaders.  Which they will be promising to serve.  I’m intrigued by the fact that the robots will have “slime breakers”.  Has this Brownie predicted the current slime craze?

I’m also entertained that when I did the same exercise in 2013, robots also came up – but this time as buddies rather than leaders.

I’m still waiting!

That Brownie badge looks like balloons to me.  Do you think they were predicting the Guide Party Planner badge?

Lastly, I will leave you with news that it seems we’re overdue for a change in name, and we all get to retire soon!

Brownie Holiday at Easter


The three Brownie units in my area often go on holiday together, and this Easter was no exception.

We had an indoor holiday – on an Easter theme, of course.  Mostly we were working on the Spring “Rik Bear” challenge.  Aren’t they cute?

The 24 Brownies we took all had a wonderful time, and considering the number who were on their first night away with Girlguiding, there was surprisingly little homesickness.

We tried to make lambs out of pom-poms, but I don’t think any of the girls managed to finish that one.  More interested in running around outside in the glorious sunshine!

I particularly enjoyed the egg challenge.  Each child was given a (hard boiled!) egg, and had to look after it for the weekend.  We made baskets to carry them around in, but not many survived!

A few of them were kidnapped for ransom when they were left unattended, some were cracked, and some simply gave up and fell in two.

The egg challenge.

We also made cress heads, planted bulbs, made easter bonnets, had an egg hunt around the extensive grounds, and spent a lot of time on the adventure play area.

Not to mention Brownies’ Got Talent!

Some of them actually do have talent, it turns out.  And they worked very well together to get their performances ready.

Although I did have to persuade one group into a compromise when they couldn’t agree on what to do.  One wanted to dance, two wanted to do kung fu, and one didn’t really want to do anything.  In the end, they ended up doing a play in which a dancer was kidnapped by an evil kung fu master and then rescued by a good kung fu master.  Narrated, of course, by the fourth member of the group.

On the Sunday, we decorated Cadbury’s creme eggs to make them into animals.  One of the girls is allergic to milk chocolate, and watching her face as we set that one up was very entertaining.  The disappointment when she saw the eggs, followed by the blinding smile when she was presented with a white chocolate egg all of her very own.

It turns out she’d never had a chocolate egg before and she didn’t know you could get white ones!  At the end of the holiday she dragged her mum over and demanded that we tell her where to buy them!  (Poundland, in case you’re wondering, £1 for 8.)

Decorated Eggs

All in all, a very successful holiday.

What are your holiday plans with your units?



Look at this.  Not even four weeks in to the Year of the Volunteer challenge, and already I’m behind on blogging.  In my defence, it’s because I’ve been very busy with Guiding things!

At the start of April, my Guides and I went on a trip with some of our friends.

A lot of our friends.

We had two coach loads just from our Division, and when we got there, one of the Guides couldn’t believe there were so many Guides in the country.

She was slightly startled when I pointed out that this was a South West Region trip, so there were only Guides there from a tenth of the country.

We then had an entertaining conversation about the fact that, no, I personally had not organised this many people. Flattering though it is that they think I’m superwoman, I’m not crazy enough to try organising a Region level event just yet!

Anyway, I digress.

Thinking about it, that happened a lot during the day, too.

We were at Legoland.

During the day, we went on rides, enthused over tiny lego castles and Houses of Parliament and Gherkins (for those of you who aren’t from the UK, the Gherkin is a building in London, not a pickled vegetable), ate doughnuts and ice cream and talked almost non stop.


It was an excellent day, and I really enjoyed interacting with the Guides in a situation where I wasn’t trying to get them to clean up their messes! Much less stressful!

I very much recommend going on trips with Guides. You get to see a whole other side to their personalities.

Have you been on any good trips lately?

A Pampering Fundraiser


As I may have mentioned, we’re fundraising at the moment for a trip to Switzerland.

We’ve done all sorts over the past year – a Cheese and Wine evening, a Pop-Up Restaurant, a Christmas Bazaar, and numerous cake sales and things running on the sides of other events.

Last Wednesday was the latest in our string of big events – a Pamper and Wellbeing evening.

I wasn’t really involved in organising this one – I didn’t even have to provide floats, which was a nice change.  I did count the money afterwards, but I quite enjoy counting money.  I find it soothingly simple.

Other than that, I just turned up and did as I was told.  It felt quite odd, actually.

The event itself was excellent.  We had lots of local businesses – everything from massage, to make up, to chiropractors – who ran stalls.  The offerings varied.  Some were selling things, some were selling experiences, and some were offering free samples to try and attract long term customers.

I had a Hawaiian massage, mostly out of curiosity about what was different about it to any other kind of massage.  It turns out to be very holistic, very smooth and flowing.  It was exceptionally relaxing.

Other than that, there was also a cake stall, free prosecco, and a raffle.  Some of the raffle prizes were excellent; I was hoping to win the sports massage, but alas I won nothing.


This was before all of the cake had arrived, but it’s still an impressive spread!

All in all, it was a very successful evening.  Everyone had a great time, and we made a reasonable dent in our fundraising requirement.  I’d thoroughly recommend this kind of event to anyone!

What’s your most successful fundraising experience?  You can count success as either financial or fun.