Friday, 21 February 2014

Random Acts of Kindness

or RAKs, are something that I only became aware of in the last year or so. Sure, I've always been aware of random acts of kindness, anonymous benefactors, all that kind of thing, but the concept of organising this was not something that had come up on my radar.

...until I became involved in the online planner community. This is an actual thing and Facebook groups, forums, blogs are dedicated to organising groups of people who send little parcels, or happy mail, to each other!

I'm a member of one group on facebook which is run solely for this purpose and a few others where it's not the sole purpose of the group but people are so generous and kind so you have the option of putting your address on a spreadsheet/document to indicate that you're happy to give and receive parcels of joy.

I've RAK'd and been RAK'd several times this year, and it's always a lovely surprise. I tend to send things that I no longer need or think someone would get more use out of, particularly filofax inserts, stickers (I'm just not that type of person it turns out), samples of patterned or washi tape, all sorts. Mostly stationery but I'm hoping as I get more accomplished with my creative creations I can expand to sending mail art.

Photos below of some of the happy mail I've sent and received!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Being a Brown Owl

As many of my friends know I recently became a Brownie Leader within Girlguiding in the UK. In January I opened my first unit as the Guider-in-Charge, or Brown Owl to the girls.

Girlguiding is an amazing organisation to be part of, it's the one of the largest volunteer-led organisations in the country for girls and women of all ages. I have loved the last year of training to become a leader and try and get involved in lots of activities, often a few too many...

Running a unit is a lot of hard work, particularly in its first term, but I have a fab team of leaders with me. Tawny Owl is my right-hand woman, the calming influence, the one who reminds me of things we need to do when I'm being a bit flighty. Snowy Owl is our Young Leader, 15 but a mature head on young shoulders and the girls love her.

We have 13 girls in the unit, aged 7-9 (Brownies are aged 7-10, at which point they progress to Guides), all different personalities, some quiet, some quirky, all fabulous in their own ways. I really enjoy our once-a-week meetings.

This week we're off to the Oxfordshire Gang Show, a collaborative variety show put on by local Guides and Scouts, all 25 and under. I've been volunteering as front of house staff this week but I'll be in the audience tomorrow evening, I can't wait. There is such talent within the membership and four girls from the other Brownie unit I help at (I'm Little Owl there) are performing. I've promised our Brownies that I will try not to be too embarrassing by singing along!

An extra exciting thing is that we're taking part in Sainsbury's Active Kids campaign where we collect vouchers given to people when they do their weekly grocery shop and it allows us to swap them for equipment. There's also a competition to win your wishlist. So, my loyal readers, it would be great if you could help! If you live near me (and you know who you are) please consider giving me your vouchers (unless you have an equally worthy place to donate them to) or if you are far away, please nominate us to win our list! Details at the top of the right-hand bar.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Fighting overwhelm

The last few weeks have been interesting. Overall I've had a really great time, seen lots of people, been kept really busy at work and with Brownies. Unfortunately what that has ended up with is overwhelm and eventual illness. Yup, today I've been off sick from work with fluey symptoms and just generally feeling exhausted. 

Don't get me wrong, I love my life at the moment, I love my home life, I love being a Brown Owl and my job is so interesting and keeps my brain active. It's just a lot and I let myself get bogged down with things I'm not achieving. I've not exercised in weeks (apart from the power walk to the bus stop when I'm late) and it's felt like I've not seen hubby properly as I've been dashing here, there and everywhere. I'm not writing in my diary, I'm not keeping up with reading, and the washing pile is huge! The only thing that is making sure I'm actually functioning is my planner (which I need to post about...).

This weekend I have only one thing to do (and it's small and fun) so I'm going to try and reset myself. I'm going to make a list of the tasks that are bogging me down and either break them up into manageable chunks, or delegate them, or discard them. I'm going to spend time with the hubby, going on walks and playing with his new Nikon. I'm going to do something creative and relaxing. 

I will fight the overwhelm.