A year of Guiding: 2015

So the calendar year is almost over, my Guiding is done (in terms of unit meetings) for 2015. Here’s a wee look back at all that I got up to as a Girlguiding volunteer this past year…



Guides on the Ice…

Last year, we broke the rule on never going ice skating again (after years ago when a Guide apparently broke her arm on an ice skating trip) because the Guides asked to do it. Our city’s ice rink isn’t open to the public when we meet, but every Christmas there are two outdoor ice rinks in the city centre.

This year the girls begged for us to do the trip again this year. Originally we had planned for the new Guides (at the time there were 8) to make their Promise with sparklers on the closest night to Guy Fawkes Night. But in the end all of them weren’t there the week before due to a school hallowe’en party, and we didn’t feel they’d done enough to really understand the promise they were making. So we asked if they’d like to do the Promise at the hall on another night or if they’d like to wait until our ice skating trip.


New Guides make Promise at outdoor ice rink

…the ice rink. About 15 minutes in we gathered our whole unit in one corner of the ice rink (members of the public already amused by the sight of us blue and red ‘Bambis on ice’) and gathered our now 9 new Guides and the already enrolled Guides and altogether made the promise. It was a really cool moment. Not least of which the miracle that no one fell over on the ice in the process.

We ended the night with one of our new Guides accidentally slide tackling our Assistant Leader in training as she tried to get off the ice at the end of the session. One minute she was next to me, the next she was somehow lying on the ice and Lindsay was taken down a milisecond after. And then others trying to avoid the pile of Guides and Leaders on the rink as they tried to get off the rink too. We were all laughing so hard. One of my favourite things was seeing the girls cheering each other on, trying to help each other and when they fell, laughing and getting up smiling and continuing to do their best to stay upright on the ice. The girls that really struggled with their first time last year surprising themselves at being better this year – seeing that actually the more you practice, the better you get!

Definitely a ‘mountaintop’ moment.

Heart to Start and First Aid with Senior Section…


Two girls learning how to do CPR & use defibrilators

When our newer subgroup of Senior Section started this term, they had three learning requests. One was to learn First Aid, the second to learn how to knit, the third to learn what the muslim faith is about as they were pretty sure the media portrayal wasn’t accurate and wanted understand more about it. We have managed to accomplish two out of three.

A generous local gave a donation to our Guide unit earlier this year and came along to the Guides’ Free Being Me exhibition. We got talking about what Guides and Senior Section do, and I had mentioned about us getting funding to learn First Aid. He gave me the contact for a friend of his who is a trainer with Albacare. . This man turned out to be just as generous – and for three evenings he came to our meetings, to do the British Heart Foundation’s Heart to Start course, brought along dummies that helped train the girls in CPR, using Defibrallors, doing CPR on babies and dealing with choking in children, babies and adults. Due to an incident that happened in a Scottish high school on the day of one of our meetings, we also had a long discussion about dealing with stab wounds too.

Because they refused payment for their time and expenses, we gave our trainers gifts to say Thank you.

And we hope that we will be able to work with them again to train more people in our community in First Aid skills. Because First Aid really can save lives.


EDINBURGH: Help the homeless this Christmas

This post is aimed at any Edinburgh Guidey-Scouting folks.

I’ve been informed tonight by someone who works for The Bethany Christian Trust that the Bethany Winter Care Shelter is currently experiencing an unprecedented number of rough sleepers. This means that their stock of blankets and sleeping bags is running low and they are struggling to meet demand.

If you as an individual or your unit has any sleeping bags or blankets in decent condition to spare, please do consider donating them to Bethany so they can pass it on to someone in need of it.

Donations of sleeping bags and blankets (no duvets please) should be handed into


Bethany Warehouse
40 Jane Street


8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday

Also, if your unit is looking to help children, The Big Issue is doing a shoebox collection for the children of The Big Issue sellers. They are looking to get 61 shoe boxes for following age groups:

19 x Age 1-5
14 x Age 6-10
27 x Age 11-16

If you can fill a shoebox with goodies for one of those age groups, it would be much appreciated.

Suggestions for what you can put in the shoebox are:
-unperishable sweets
-toys and games
– hygiene products (toothbrush, shower gels)
-clothing or accessories (hats, gloves)
-colouring books and pencils
-Christmas Card, books

It is requested that you don’t make the gifts gender specific.

Shoeboxes can be handed into

The Big Issue Office
31 Queensferry Street

Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Saturdays 10a.m.-12 p.m.

before Saturday 19th December

Proud Guider moment alert!

In the Summer of 2014, I had my first member of Senior Section to complete Phases 1 and 2 of all the Look Wider octants. I signed her book off, emailed County, she had to leave our group due to cutting down on commitments, and so we never got to celebrate. And that kinda sucked.

This summer, two more of our unit completed Phase 1 and Phase 2 of everything, and as our County Secretary had left, I got put through to Girlguiding Scotland who gave me the forms and went into the Guide Shop to have an envelope pushed towards me containing this:

Other members of the unit decided we should have a celebration with an ‘Afternoon tea’ theme, I got in contact with the lady who had made us a cake for our first Baden-Powell party at Guides back in 2013, and our Leadership Qualification ‘Oscar’ party back in March to see if she’d make a Chief Guide cake!


We had Grannies, Mums, Dads and brothers, most of our Senior Section girls, the leaders of units the girls volunteer with as Young Leaders and our Division Commissioner. Sadly our two Assistant Leaders ended up not being able to make the evening, but was so grateful to our Guide leader who came along early and stayed late to help with set up and clear up.

Some of the Senior Section had made a ‘Pin the cherry on the cupcake for the occasion, and by request during our Penny Hike, I made up a Disney themed quiz. Our Division Commissioner baked scones, myself, several girls and one of the Brownie leaders made cakes and provided teapots and cake stands.


Even though it didn’t run exactly as planned due to a lack of help to set up (which was due to circumstances outwith our control), it was still (I hope) a good night, and an opportunity for the girls’ parents to see what they do as Senior Section members and for the girls to feel special and their accomplishments valued and celebrated. At least that was the aim!

They both got to go to the County reception for all the awards receivers (Baden Powell, Young Leadership, Chief Guide, Queen’s Guide etc) and once again our unit had the only Chief Guide receivers at the reception in our whole county. I’m hoping as other Senior Section units in Edinburgh are popping up and developing that our girls will be meeting other Senior Section members also receiving the same awards at the awards receptions soon!



Koala Friendly Mulled Wine…

Especially for my favourite Guides Unit Leader (who has sent me a text asking if I would  pllleeeeassseee share this recipe).IMG_1770

So there’s no reason why the Girlguiding community would know this, but I have a fair few bizarre allergies/intolerances. Most of the time these are a pain in the butt, and is probably why I do not enjoy cooking. However I have in a fit of stubbornness on occasions become determined to create alternatives – most of these are not great compared to the ‘real’ thing, but occassionally they turn out surprisingly well. So though no one wants to eat my non spicy vegetarian chilli, my Mum and many of my friends every December ask if I’ll make my ‘Koala Friendly Mulled Wine’. Last January I still had stuff leftover from Christmas to make it and did so when my fellow Guide leaders came round for a term planning meeting, and recently I made it for the Rangers.

Wait? What? Serving alcohol to underage Rangers?!!!

Don’t panic Girlguiding UK and my Rangers’ parents. There’s a key fact you need to know here. What makes my mulled wine ‘koala friendly’ is that it doesn’t contain any wine.

You see, I loved that mulled wine smell, and stupidly thought that like mince pies don’t contain red meat mince, that mulled wine didn’t contain any wine. I almost made myself very ill one night by accepting a glass at an event my friend’s husband bought me (and our friends). Because wine is one of those things – like spices, garlic, beta-carotene colouring, red meat, codeine and fairy liquid – that my body makes very very clear it can’t handle.

I was fed up missing out so one December I went experimenting to find an alternative. And I made it on Christmas Eve, and my Mum declared it ‘much nicer than real mulled wine’.

And so folks, I share with you my not so winey mulled wine recipe.

Serves about 4-6 people (depending on your mug size!)

You will need:

500ml Red grape juice
500ml Cranberry and Raspberry Juice
200ml water
2 mulled wine spice sachets
1 clementine cut into slices (or any orange type fruit – oranges, satsumas and tangerines should all work fine)
A large saucepan, ladle and some mugs.

Pour the juice and water into a saucepan, add the sachets of mulled wine spice. Bring to the boil, then turn down immediately to simmer.
Simmer for 10 minutes
Turn the heat off and remove sachets.
Add your clementine/orange/satsuma slices so they float on top to garnish and a little extra flavour.
Ladle into mugs and serve!

It makes for an excellent winter warmer, and hope you enjoy it if you try it out. 🙂

Neckerchiefs & Remembrance

After my Mum and my neighbour’s comments asking why the girls weren’t in uniform when they were, this year we wondered about getting unit neckerchiefs. Another unit in our area had got some for their whole unit and that leader passed on the email address of her contact so we could get something similar.

I e-mailed Steph from One Stop Scouting and within two days she had sent me a set of swatches and idea of how long our order would take. I then took the swatch samples and held a bit of a ‘Pow-wow’ (yes I know that’s a Brownie thing!) with our Guides. I suggested that the main necker colour should be some shade of blue as that’s the colour associated most with Guides (Red for Rainbows, Yellow for Brownies, Blue for Guides, Turquoise for Senior Section), but that they could pick any colour they liked for the border. With 16 Guides we worried that it would be a nightmare to get consensus, but they very quickly as a whole group chose two colour options to vote on for the border and two for the main colour. I always say on things like this they can vote more than once, so we can get an idea of majority that will be happy with what is decided on. They decided on Marine Blue neckers with a Grape border.


The girls seemed to forget about the order until a few weeks later when they began to ask what had happened with the neckers and when they would arrive. In the end they came about a week before Remembrance Sunday but as we didn’t want them get lost or forgotten between our meeting day and Sunday we decided just to wait til the Sunday to give the girls their neckers. And they seemed to like them. They most certainly looked smart with them on, and we quickly realised their benefits in a crowd.

They also wore them to Gang Show (a night of the year that fills me with a lot of anxiety and stress) as crowds of kids and teens all looking the same.From years of joint trips to help with leader:child ratios now two of our Guide units and the Senior Section have the same meeting point, and the two Guide units have grown a fair bit in the last year. So it was wonderful to be able to immediately recognise who was one of ‘mine’ at a glance due to that purple (sorry, grape) border.

The Senior Section also have got unit neckers, which some of the girls are pleased with, and others are not impressed with. They chose grey neckers with a turquoise border to match the current uniform. It did make them look smart, and several people commented to me how well turned out the girls were looking this year and well…noticed that the girls were in attendance. Previous years some people haven’t even realised that there were members of Girlguiding in attendance at the War Memorial.

Unforunately I can’t share the photo I got of all the Brownies, Guides and Senior Section that I snapped after the church’s youth service for remembrance with their flags, but a photographer for the local heritage trust made a video of the War Memorial Service.

You can get the neckerchiefs in two sizes (Adult and Youth), and you will definitely need the Adult size for Senior Section. I think they were £4.95 each, and your minimum order is 25 (this can include both sizes).

We hope in future to have a deposit scheme where Guides can pay £5 deposit for a necker, then at the end of their time at Guides they can either keep it, or give it back and if it’s still in decent condition we will give them their £5 back.