Look Wider. The challenges I’ve taken on in my life so far…

I’ve toyed with the idea of Look Wider for a few years. I never figured out doing it as I had many other responsibilities. Look Wider is The Senior Section programme for 14-26 year olds. It is about personal development and should be filled with personal challenges.

Next term one of our Brownie Helpers (a Guide) becomes a Young Leader so we have purchased her TSS top, badge tab and the booklet for the Young Leader qualification. Included in the booklet was space to complete Look Wider. Reading through it I remembered some of the weird and crazy stuff I’ve done over the last few years. So I dug up my very first blog post and will fill in the things I have done.

Personal Values:

Phase 1: Donate blood

Phase 1: Understanding the new Promise with Brownies

Phase 1:

Phase 2:

Phase 3:

Community Actions:

Phase 1: Stall at Church summer fete to raise money

Phase 1: Organise Bring and Buy sale with Brownies to raise money for local animal shelter

Phase 1:

Phase 2: 

Phase 3: Peer Education

Creativity:

Phase 1: Try writing reviews of places I’ve been on blog

Phase 1: Try creating ‘feltie characters’

Phase 1: Try scrapbooking

Phase 2: Make a range of ‘feltie’ characters including my own designs

Phase 3: Improve illustration through lots of practice!

Fit for Life:

Phase 1: Learn to play Table Tennis

Phase 1: Tried Archery

Phase 1: Try Davina McCall Fitness DVD

Phase 2: Complete couch 2 5k programme and continue running 3 times a week

Phase 3: First Aid Qualification and refresher courses

Out of Doors:

Phase 1: Tried segways through the forest

Phase 1: Planting flowers with Brownies

Phase 1: Nature day with Brownies with Wildlife Trust

Phase 2:

Phase 3: Brownie Holiday Qualification

Independent Living:

Phase 1: Budget for buying a house

Phase 1: Research conveyancing and solicitors

Phase 1: Learning to sew (via camp blanket!)

Phase 2:

Phase 3: Buy a house! (Well, I hope so soon)

Leadership:

Phase 1: Assist on a Guide trip to local campsite

Phase 1: Organize trip to Paralympic Athletics for Brownies

Phase 1: Create a unit website with input from Brownies

Phase 2: Organise a district Star Quest event for 4 local units

Phase 3: Adult Leadership Qualification

International:

Phase 1: Start a new pen pal exchange through Guiding website

Phase 1: Brownie meeting on Japanese culture

Phase 1: India Project with Brownies including friendship bracelets to Sangam World Centre

Phase 2: Complete Together We Can Volunteer with Brownies – Backpack Project (Millennium Development Goal)

Phase 3:

So I’ve completed a lot of it (the leadership part was the easiest, could think of a lot more challenges I’ve undertaken for this!) This is just the stuff I can think of this morning. Will have a think about this and decide whether to actually go for it.

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New Guide uniform reaction and where Girguiding may be heading

A Guide is honest, reliable and can be trusted.

So based on this Guide law, I will give my honest opinions on the newly introduced Guide uniform, I will also be considering why this is being introduced and where this may be leading us to in the future.

For those unaware of the new Guide uniform, this article will show you some of the new pieces being introduced for the 10-14 age group. There are also some images in this post I will be using to discuss the new uniform.

I first saw this new uniform on the Daily Mail website (yes, I do read it, but yes, I also comment on how awful some of their articles are). My honest immediate reaction seems to mirror the large majority of online opinions. “Ergh”, “Awful” and “This must be a joke uniform, the real one will come out next week…”. I hate to have negative opinions on Girlguiding but I was really shocked at the new uniform.

My thoughts then went to the many young teens who just want to fit in, and in some scenarios being a Guide is uncool. It is a shame it can still be seen in this way as those negative about the programme may have never been a part of it. And now with such bright, bold colours you have to be a confident person to pull this look off. Especially in comparison to the navy blues of Guides we are used to. I hope this initial introduction to the new uniforms does not put off new recruits.

Let’s look at some of the new items…

uniform3

This is the look I imagine the girls will be going for. The polo will become the main item of uniform, with some taking on the hoodie also. However, if they’re like the Guides who meet near us, the girls will only wear the polo but hidden beneath their own choice of hoodie.

uniform5

The skirt is interesting. In this image I think the shape of it actually looks okay, there are other images that make the shape look awful so I guess we won’t know until we see it in person. The pattern however, what were they thinking! I really do not see Guides wearing the skirt, not unless it changes to a plain colour. I could be proved wrong though, I really am no fashionista!

uniform4

This may be a popular choice for the girls on the slimmer side. I wonder if the idea of this was more to be worn underneath this dress…

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I’ll be honest, I’m finding it hard to see what is the dress and what is other items being worn underneath it. This I also cannot imagine will be popular. But I am aware that for some religious groups this may be the uniform item of choice.

It has been stated that younger Guides requested skirts and dresses in the uniform, there are plenty of girls who only wear these opposed to trousers, but I’m unsure if the style is right. For the many people in uproar that their girls won’t wear these, that is fine. Guides still have the option to wear their jeans if they wish. So the introduction of these items shouldn’t really have an impact, they are an added extra.

The real issue in the new uniform is the polo and the hoodie, and these are what I wish to discuss further.

Girlguiding branding

Girlguiding have stated this uniform was designed by Uni students, and it is a great opportunity for these young women. But I think there is some misleading statements here as this new uniform was also clearly designed by branding bods. Blue and red were not plucked out of the sky, but straight from the branding guidelines. Guides should be mostly blue, some red, and a tiny bit purple and green. This is where the issue with the new uniform comes from, the pre-planned choice of Guide branding colours. I’ve felt that Guides branding is the strangest assortment of colours, and this is now reflected in the new uniform. How I wish the colours could’ve been resolved before the new uniform launched!

The Girlguiding facebook photos show that some Guides chose blue shirts with purple sleeves, but it was the red that won out. I would guess because this colour needs to be given more room for the brand to show through.

But being honest the blue and red is growing on me, a touch of purple I guess is okay but the green is a strange addition.

Why the Guide uniform change?

Many have welcomed the update to the Guide uniform, I was looking forward to it too, but why has only the Guide uniform changed? The last change occurred in 2000, alongside a change in the Brownie uniform. Why haven’t both undergone the same redesign?

uniform1

This is the Rainbow, Brownie, Guide and Senior Section uniform, how it was known last week anyway. These are the popular top options for many girls. Of the four, the Guide uniform does stand out. It is clearly the only shirt without cap sleeves. It also doesn’t include the Guide brand colour.

uniform2

We still have an odd one out though, the Brownies are yet to get a polo shirt. I think this will be the next change, but not the biggest. The other reason the Brownie uniform sticks out? It isn’t blue. Could we see the rise of the blue Brownies? I wouldn’t be surprised. Some well known girl guide uniform from around the word are the Canada uniforms and the Australia uniforms. Both have all sections in matching uniforms with just a secondary colour to tell the age groups apart. Perhaps this is the route Girlguiding are looking to take in the long term.

uniform8ausuniform9canada

I think Girlguiding know the skirt and dress won’t be as popular, with the polo and maybe hoodie winning out. The uniforms may then all take their turn morphing into this zip up polo with colour co-ordinated sleeves and matching collar.

There is talk online of an adjustment to the Leader tops. While it seems this is just a change in sizing or material I really would not be surprised to see a navy polo with white sleeves and a white polo with navy sleeves. Maybe a zip on the front too!

Online mayhem

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but this is the first uniform change to occur during the age of social media. Can you imagine the outrage online if we had access to Facebook in 2000? Or in 1990? It is a shame there were so many leaders showing their negative opinions online as this has fuelled a new Daily Mail article on ‘girls threatening to quit over uniform’. I think we should wait and see what the girls think in September. If the girls are aware of their parents and leaders hate for the uniform they will be unable to make their own opinions!

In conclusion

The uniform is growing on me. There are aspects I am coming to like and others I don’t think will last. I’m interested to see if this is phase one of a whole new change for Girlguiding, and am looking forward to a fresh new start too! Blue Brownies? Only the future will tell us.

“Seconds – A Graphic Novel” by Bryan Lee O’Malley, and the Scott Pilgrim references

Love, love, love it.

Seconds is the latest graphic novel from the genius Bryan Lee O’Malley, the author known for Scott Pilgrim and Lost at Sea. I cannot believe it has been 4 years since I was waiting day and night for the final volume of Scott Pilgrim to be released. And then bought two copies of because my ‘pre-ordered, due to come on the day of release’ copy arrived late. This time the release of Seconds jumped out on me and all that horrendous waiting was avoided.

Seconds

For those unaware, Seconds follows the story of Katie, a chef who is given the one off opportunity to change something that has happened in her life. A second chance. However, Katie abuses this and mayhem ensues! I love ‘Butterfly Effect’ stories, I love seeing the universe alter slight things due to one change. This book does plenty of this, but it is subtle too.

The artwork is beautiful. O’Malley mixes intricate building landscapes with exaggerated characters. The cute with the creepy. This is a colour book, thanks to the O’Malley having three assistants on this novel. It is beautiful and I highly recommend it.

And now, Scott Pilgrim. From what I have read online about Seconds it seems like Bryan Lee O’Malley is trying to distance himself from the ultra popular Mr Pilgrim. However there are a fair few references to his famous work so I find it hard to believe he doesn’t still have a hotspot for him.

“Bread makes you fat?” A funny Scott Pilgrim line that is reused by Hazel in this story. I immediately laughed, a little in joke to his loyal followers. I particularly liked his little ‘sorry…’ message very faintly placed underneath that pane. So cute. I only caught this on second reading.

Steven Stills, Julie and Joseph. Straight away caught Steven and Julie in Katie’s imaginary version of her new restaurant, which put me straight onto checking the backgrounds of everything. I found it strange they were in her imagination. However, later in the novel Steven and Joseph are seen getting a table at Katie’s old restaurant. (A little nod to who Steven ends up with at the end of Scott Pilgrim Vol.6). This scene comes during an alternate timeline, are we meant to believe Steven and Joseph being together occurred because Katie changed something in her own life?

Scott and Ramona. You really cannot miss these colourful characters enjoying a meal at Katie’s restaurant.

Knives? Kim? Lisa Miller? So I read online that Knives and Kim also make a cameo. I imagine people are referring to the Knives lookalike on page 116. To me though, this looks like a guy. Yes, similar haircut but I’m not convinced. I’m yet to find Kim. I also thought a girl on the same page as Steven Stills and Julie looked a lot like Lisa Miller, seemed a strange character to include but it is a possibility.

So what have I missed? I love searching for Easter Eggs but that is all I’ve got so far. Please let me know if you found anything else! Or where the heck Kim Pine is.

3.3km run

So I need to start writing about running again. I read an article on staying motivated that said keeping a diary reminds you of your past efforts and achievements and this can keep you going. This works. By coincidence I started writing this blog again last summer when I first started the couch 2 5k plan.

There was a long lull of non running this year. My work pattern made it difficult to run more than once a week, and with one run a week I lost all motivation to do it. However I am back to my old working pattern and can schedule my three-four runs a week into my diary.

This is my third week back running and I’ve restarted the couch 2 5k plan to get back into it. I started on week 3, but running four times a week. I just completed four runs of week 5, although I had an incident this morning that hindered it a little.

Before sleeping last night I checked my ipod as I knew there was little charge on it. There was just enough, so I turned it off and fell asleep. This morning, 6:30am, I threw on my active gear, tucked my keys into my wristband, tied my trainers and ran my ipod down my back into my waist pocket and switched my ipod on. Nothing. I’d accidently run the battery down overnight by NOT turning it off!

I hadn’t exercised without music for a long time, I knew it didn’t work well for me. But surprisingly I kept going this morning. I planned a route in my head that I imagined to be roughly 20 minutes. It was too easy so it may have been shorter time, but without a watch I will never know.

What I did do though was plot my route on google and found I ran 3.3km. A little way from the 5k target but I think I must be on track to get back to my 30minute 5km run.

So that is why I’m back on the running blogs, I must stay motivated this time.