Friday, 17 December 2010

christmas starts here

Our traditional Christmas Craft evening this week was a cracking finish for our meetings this year.  It's always such a pleasure to see everyone looking so pleased with the things they made.  It was lovely too to see our "We Heart EEWI" tree surrounded by the generous gifts members brought for our friends at U-Turn.

Mulled wine, mince pies and our first Christmas Craft Market added to the hubbub.  There was so much tempting gorgeousness around.  Special thanks go to Jill for generously making the screen printed and hand painted bags - wonderful designs and an absolute snip at £4 a bag - there are a few left if anyone's interested, but be quick.  (You'll find a link to all of our stallholders details here shortly.)

Congratulations to the winners of our annual mince pie bake off (sorry - only crumbs left when I thought about taking a picture), the Christmas Quiz and Guess the Weight of the Queensland Blue (!) competions.  And many, many thanks to Jo, Elizabeth and Veronika for leading our flowery, hearty and chocolatey activities and our heroic and flu-battered Clare for her alchemical skills at mixing mulled wine.  

The last word goes to , Niki who puts so much seemingly endless energy into making EEWI such a vibrant community of women:

"One of the best moments for me was seeing one of the U-Turn staff struggling down the alleyway with an Ikea bag filled to the brim with presents. Your generosity never ceases to move me and U-Turn is so grateful to us for this gesture - it means an awful lot to them so thank you from me, the committee and from Rio Vella, Project Director of U-Turn.

Our coffee morning today was so great and as the snow fell on the garden at the Geffrye Museum we drank tea and ate cake watching the landscape outside become very Christmassy indeed."

Indeed, indeed.  

Happy Christmas to you all.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

we heart EEWI

If you are in Bethnal Green tomorrow,  do pop in and see the East End WI Christmas Tree at the Christmas Tree Festival at Bethnal Green Mission, opposite the Museum of Childhood in Cambridge Heath Road.  There are some charming and quirky creations in there and we heart out little EEWI  tree.  I mean where else are you going to find a tree with icing sugar as fake snow? It's free to get in and you should be able to buy a cup of tea if you need one (as one does).

Sunday, 5 December 2010

bloodlines and snow

We're so glad that the Overground was working on Wednesday when we had to get over to the Brockley Jack to see Bloodlines.  You know what an adventure it can be getting to the other side of the river.  Well done everyone who made it.

Great little theatre, wonderful spartan set, spirited acting - we loved Mary Queen of Scots and her embroidery - "not while we are embroidering" she says when it seems there is going to be a bit of a row. Must remember that line.

Sleepy Hollow next?

Friday, 3 December 2010

wine, women and song

Almost forgot to mention what a fabulous evening we had at the AGM.  The lovely Mike and Maureen from Waitrose Canary Wharf did a first class job of presenting and serving a selection of Christmas wines - we are super-grateful to them and to Waitrose for their generosity in providing their time and the wine.  If you weren't able to get a copy of the list I've posted it here for you.   Many thanks too to Clare and Veronika for organising the wine-tasting and the mini-feast that accompanied the wine.

Congratulations to everyone who took up the challenge of making something from a Cafe Direct coffee sack.  As someone whose sack got a bit holey after a spin in the washing machine, I can only say it was not as simple as it looked.  Anyway we had some lovely entries and clearly lots of work had gone into making them as well as not a little imagination. Whoever would have thought you could craft a sack bouquet?  Well done all!

As to the song - Gemma gave us a wee reminder of what a coup it would be if Jerusalem - including al of our lovely EEWI singers - could make it to the Christmas charts.  If you buy a copy on 12th December they just might.

Don't forget our next meeting on 14th December.  We've been planning our craft evening and there will be chocolate, flowers, hearts and who knows what elve.  And mince pies, ladies, for our annual mince pie competition.  We need your homemade mince pies!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

december meetings

Yes, yes, yes.  I know it's early to be showing a Christmas tree, but we want to make sure that  you know what we are up to this month because, well, you know what it's like this time of year.  Our December meeting is on 14th December at St Margaret's House, Old Ford Road, 7.30 for 8, for our annual Christmas Crafts event.  Lots of crafty things to do and no doubt a tipple and other refreshments.   Don't forget to bake some mince pies for our competition too - yes, there will be a prize for the winner!  All welcome - £3 charge on the door for guests/ non-members.

Our coffee morning on Friday 18th December will be at the Geffrye Museum so that we can see their "Christmas Past" exhibition.  Meet in the cafe inside the museum at 10.30. Free entry.

If you are passing by Bethnal Green Mission Church (Cambridge Heath Road, opposite the Museum of Childhood) on Saturday 11th December we'll have an EEWI tree on display there as part of their Christmas Tree festival.  Pop in and see our tree - entry is free and you can bu tea and cake there too.

Finally,  if you want a little virtual stocking filler, you might want to buy a copy of the WI version of Jerusalem which features our very own Harmonies member Gemma, Niki, Jo C and Cynthia. We are very proud of you, ladies.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

november meetings

OMG - the clocks have gone back and it's time for the AGM already!  Our 16th November meeting is our Annual General Meeting - members only, please - when we will be rewarded for out rapt attention to the administration of our branch and election of officials etc by a delicious wine tasting, courtesy of the wine experts from Waitrose at Canary Wharf (thank you! thank you!).  Non alcoholic drinks and complementary nibbles will also be available to taste.  Remember to bring along the crafted wonders you have been making with  your Cafe Direct coffee sacks for our competition, with prizes too.  If you have not started snipping yet and need some inspiration, then go over to their flickr page and take a look at the wonderful things other WI members have already done - love those panniers.  The meeting will be at our usual venue,  St Margaret's House in Old Ford Road, next door to the Gallery Cafe.

Our coffee morning on Friday 19th November will be at Fresh, 275 Whitechapel Road which you will find immediately next door to the exit at Whitechapel Underground Station.  It may look small on the outside, but there is plenty of room upstairs.   We'll gather at 10.30am as usual.

If you are into crafting, here will be another meeting of the Curvey Crafters at the Salvation Army Hall on Kerbey Street, Poplar, E14  on Thursday 11th November, 7.30pm - 9pm.  Just bring along whatever you are working on and share some good company.  There is a small charge (£1.50) to cover the cost of refreshments.

Looking forward to seeing you all.

Thursday, 28 October 2010


We had a lovely time this week. Local drama group Phakama ran a warm, welcoming and fun-filled drama workshop for us with singing, stories, games and a little bit of wire scupture too. Even if you, like me, you went along feeling rubbish, what with the cold, wet weather and viruses about this week, you came out feeling energised and full of life. We're delighted that the lovely Corinne from Phakama wants to work with us again and has invited us to become part of their community chorus in their show "The World at My Feet", to be performed in February 2011, so look out for more information in our next newsletter.

Our Friday coffee morning at Hurwundekei was fab too. Good cakes, well up to EEWI standards, in vintage surroundings with a table large enough to accommodate a dozen chatty women and, erm, a horse's head for company. As you can see, not a crumb remaining when we left, though we did leave the horse. Well worth a visit if you are in the area.

And, if you like all things crafty, you might think about going along to Curvey Crafters, a new group for over-18s set up by multi-talented EEWI members Jo and Noeline. They are meeting tonight from 7 - 9pm at the Salvation Army building, Kerby Street, Poplar. Just take along a current project - knitting, sewing, card making, whatever - and make progress with some good company. There's a charge of £1.50 - refreshments will be available. The group meets every two weeks; next meeting scheduled for 11th November.

Finally, an apology from me for failing to post info on October meetings on the blog.  I'm getting old and forgetful...obviously.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Message From The President

Dear All,

I am really sorry to have discovered that many of you have not been receiving the newsletter by email. There seems to be a technical issue that we are looking into as when I send the newsletter out it all looks fine from my end. However we now email over 300 women and I recognise that when you are dealing with this many people hiccups can occur. So first of all many, many apologies. Secondly we will do our very best to keep the blog up to date so that it is your first port of call if your newsletter doesn't appear. In the mean time if you think you have not been getting the emails please let me know by contacting me on

Next meeting is the AGM and is members only although you can join on the night if you so wish and don't forget that gives you from now until December 2011. The meeting is on Tuesday 16th November at St Margaret's House and is wine and non-alcoholic drinks tasting. 7.30pm onwards.

On the whole we always meet on the third Tuesday of the month however our December meeting will be on the 14th of December to avoid being too close to Christmas.

There will be more information about everything above on the blog in the near future.

Many apologies again

Niki Stevens
President EEWI

Monday, 4 October 2010

a visit from little anne

We had a new visitor, several in fact. Beverley Jeal from the London Ambulance Service brought them along to show us some first aid.

It was harder work than we thought it would be.

And we had to overcome our squeamishness about mouth to mouth.

Once we overcame any initial apprehension, we were really pleased to learn such a valuable new skill. But then we had a great teacher - Beverley was brilliant! - and if all of the ambulance service staff are as good as her, then we certainly are in safe hands.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

september meetings

If you missed seeing Niki at Paradise Gardens testing out a LAS paramedics bike, you'll be able to find out a bit more about the real thing at our next meeting on 21st September.  Beverley Jeal, a public education co-ordinator for the London Ambulance Service, will be coming to give us a little talk with information about the London Ambulance Service including their responses and figures etc, the difference between cardiac arrest and heart attack and how to recognise them, then the basic life support skills.  After this the floor will be open to questions. This is a great opportunity to leave the meeting with a new life saving skill and a better understanding of The London Ambulance Service.

We are also playing host to a project that recycles and mends old and broken jewellery to raise money for the Alzheimers Society. They are collecting and need anything from gold, silver or fashion pieces and metal to make into new items . Pieces will be for sale and if you have any old or broken jewellery you could donate please do bring it with you.

We'll be meeting as usual at St Margaret's House in Old Ford Road.  Usual time - 7.30pm for 8.00 start.  Refreshments provided, though do feel free to bring a bottle to share. To get to St Margaret's House, from Bethnal Green Underground (Central Line), take the Museum of Childhood exit.  Proceed along Museum frontage to the first corner which is Old Ford Road.
Turn right into Old Ford Road and No.21 is on the other side of the road, just past York Hall.
Buses: Nos. 8 -106 - 254 - 309 - 388 - D3 and D6.
Car: There should be parking in
Victoria Park Square, Approach
Road and other surrounding roads.
Our coffee morning on Friday 24th September will be at Roastars cafe, under the Green Bridge,  389 Mile End Road, map here.  We'll gather at around 10.30am.  Look forward to seeing you there.

harvest time

Here are a couple of events you might be interested in: 

Abbey Gardens Harvest Festival, Saturday 11 September midday - 4pm 
A free event celebrating the second season of 
What Will The Harvest Be? at Abbey Gardens.

Anyone is welcome to come along and enjoy the garden, delicious food made with produce grown by our gardening club and lots of tea and cake. Activities for grown-ups and children include garden-inspired competitions, garden tours and craft making. Vegetables, plants and flowers to take home are available for donations from our Honesty Stall.

Abbey Gardens is a community garden where anyone may learn to grow organic vegetables, fruit and flowers. There are regular garden club sessions and the garden is open to visitors from dawn till dusk. New gardeners are always welcome. 
What Will The Harvest Be? is a project by artists Karen Guthrie and Nina Pope, of Somewhere, with Friends of Abbey Gardens, a group of local residents. The gardens surround part of the ruins of a 12th-century Cistercian abbey.
More information on Abbey Gardens blog;> or What Will The Harvest Be? <>

Nearest tubes: West Ham (Jubilee, District and Hammersmith & City) or Stratford (Central). Cyclists usually visit us via the Greenway, which has an exit onto Abbey Road. No residents’ parking restrictions on Saturdays but parking on Bakers Row itself is limited. 

Spitalfields Show and Green Fair Sunday 12th September 2010 12pm – 5pm

The Spitalfields Show and Green Fair 
is being held in Allen Gardens and Spitalfields City Farm, Buxton Street, E1 5AR.
 It combines the annual horticultural show of fruit, vegetables, flowers and home produce with a Green Fair promoting the care and enjoyment of our natural environment.

The Spitalfields Show is a glorious display of home grown produce by people from all over London. Entries are accepted in 13 sections and 101 classes, featuring everything from flower arranging to fruit, vegetables and herbs and from pot plants and preserves to cookery and handicrafts, not forgetting the special children's section. Whether you have a garden, allotment, backyard, balcony or window box you can enter this show.

The Green Fair will feature stalls promoting healthy living and giving out nutritional advice, you can pick up information on recycling, composting and growing your own food or attend a biodiversity and sustainability workshop. Visitors will also have the opportunity to join in with activities on Spitalfields City Farm.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

bags, buttons, bikes, biscuits and bats

Well done everyone who managed to make a bag at our silk screening session last week.  Jill worked really hard to make sure as many people as possible got a chance to print and take home a bag and we are really grateful to her for sharing her time and for being paid in cake.  And there were some very vibrantly coloured bags made - looking forward to seeing them around the East End full of good things. We're hoping to run a separate session at the Brady Centre so that those who didn't get a chance to make a bag have another opportunity, so look out for more information soon.

Thanks too to Elizabeth for turning out some lovely Dorset Buttons with her diligent group of buttoneers.  We'd love to see what you do with them.  

There were lots of great suggestions for the Cafe Direct Coffee Sacks  so we're planning a wee competition ourselves for our AGM - more information coming up in our newsletter.  Cafe Direct have been really supportive of East End WI so we want to come up with some brilliant examples of sack crafting.  You can see what other WIs have been getting up to if you follow the link to the Cafe Direct website. So get your thinking caps on and your scissors sharpened.

And is if that wasn't enough excitement for one week  (some of us lead very quiet lives, you know), we had a lovely green tea-time picnic in the park on Friday evening - plenty of food, drink,  good company, lots of bikes and no rain.  Not much evidence of Olympic themed menus other than five oat and raisin cookies mimicking the Olympic symbol.  But surely the prize should go to Victor for his Olympian efforts in giving us a tour round the park on the back of his bicycle made for two!  Our gold medal winner, I think...

Next up, Batwalk, 7pm Tuesday 31st August, starting outside the Palm Tree pub.  

Friday, 20 August 2010

fun and games

We'll be picnicking in Victoria Park from 5pm this afternoon so come and join us.  You'll find us just north of the Pavilion Cafe - look out for the EEWI bunting! There's an Olympics theme to our picnic, and there will be  a prize for the best picnic menu.  Bring food, bring drink, bring games, bring the family, but most important bring yourselves.

Bus Tours of Olympic Site
Remember that there's an invitation to take a bus tour of the Olympics site during Open House Weekend on 18th or 19th of September.  To book a place on a tour call 03002012550.  Seats are being offered on a first come. first serve basis - be quick as spaces are likely to fill up quickly.  Tours will run from the SCORE complex on Oliver Road in Leyton where there will be an interactive exhibition and will run between 8.30am and 6.15 pm on both days.  Please note that children under 8 are not allowed on site as this is a live construction site.

London WI Event

If you are a fan of Emma Bridgewater's pottery here's an opportunity for London WI members to hear Emma talking about her 25 year old pottery company and plans for the future.  The lovely ladies of Fulham and V&A WIs. have organised the even which is scheduled for 7pm on 15th September at the Victoria and Albert Museum (entry is via the side entrance on exhibition road.  The talk will be followed by a wine reception from 8pm - 8.45pm.  Tickets cost £10 and are available from Alex Gibbs (email: a(dot)gibbs(at) or call 02079422277.  Book early as places are limited.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

august meetings

We will be trying our hand at screen printing with Jill Fulbrook, local artist and exhibition officer at the LBTH Arts and Events team when we meet on Tuesday 17th August.  Jill will be helping us to screen print some EEWI bags and for a very small fee you will able to print one (or more) and take them home with you.  Entry is free for members and £3 for visitors.  Tea and coffee will be provided - please feel free to bring a bottle. All welcome so if you have never been before and you would like to see what we are all about please do come along.

We are also playing host this month to a project that recycles and mends old and broken jewellery to raise money for the Alzheimers Society. They are collecting and need anything from gold, silver or fashion pieces and metal to make into new items . Pieces will be for sale and if you have any old or broken jewellery you could donate please do bring it with you.  We are still collecting too for the other charities we support so do please remember to bring along your old bras, newspapers, towels, pens and blankets for us to donate.

When, where and how to find us
Come along at 7.30pm for an 8pm start on Tuesday 17th August at St Margaret's House, 21 Old Ford Road Bethnal Green E2 9PL. Entry is through the garden so if you are on Old Ford Road looking at St Margaret's House you need to go through the gate to the left of the Gallery Cafe and walk around to the garden - you will see us in the hall which is behind the Gallery Cafe,

Summer Picnic in Victoria Park - Friday 20th August
We have decided to have a late afternoon/ early evening picnic instead of a coffee morning this month. We'll meet in Victoria Park from 5pm onwards on Friday 20th August, just north of the Pavilion Cafe.  Everyone welcome - friends and family. Bring a picnic and anything else you think might make the afternoon go with a swing - musical instruments, games etc. We will be setting up a gazebo and decorating it so that you are able to find us easily.  If it's raining, we'll meet up at the Pavilion Cafe and move on to the Inn on the Park.

To help jolly things along, we are also going to have a prize for the best picnic menu, inspired by the 2012 Olympics.  Maybe your napkins will be sporty or you might bring along some cheesy footballs but whatever you decide to do, if it is on an Olympic theme it will be entered into the competition. The winner will be announced at around 7pm (or a little later if we know you are going to turn up later).

EEWI Twilight Batwalk 
As an extra treat this year we would like to invite you to come with us on a twilight batwalk with Kenneth Greenway of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park. We are meeting outside the Palm Tree Pub in Mile End Park at 7pm on Tuesday 31st August.

and Kenneth will take us on an hour long walk to look at the bats in the area. The walk is accessible and suitable for all levels of fitness. We will end up back where we started and after the walk we will be pop into the Crown pub at the junction of Grove Road and Old Ford Road for a drink. (The Palm Tree is not accessible).

Places are free but are limited and so if you would like to come along please let Niki know in advance. Priority will be given to EEWI members.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

smile please

Summer Festival 2010, Museum of Childhood
We had a fabulous time at the Museum of Childhood Summer Festival this Sunday. It was full of sunshine, colour and smiling faces, inspiring music, dancers who looked like they'd stepped put of a story book and bubbles in the air. And cakes, of course. In fact we were so taken aback at how busy it was that we had to send for reinforcements after only an hour and a half. One little girl was asked by her mum what cake she wanted and she answered "A yellow one", which was just as well because that was all we had.

If you have ever hesitated about working on one of our cake stalls, all I can say is that you only have to see the faces of happy customers to make your day, even if you have this to look forward to when you get home...

And a reminder for the shopping list.

As ever, thanks to everyone who baked and helped on the day, and to the Museum of Childhood for looking after us so well.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

down on the farm

We ate well and kept good company last Friday when we met at Mudchute Kitchen for our coffee morning. Very respectable score of 7.4 for the cakes, with the rhubarb and ginger sponge, strawberry sponge and the chocolate brownie jostling for top score. We had to walk off our excesses with a visit to Pets Corner - loved those ferrets and guinea pigs! - then strolled round the farm where we admired the animals and got up close to the Gloucester Old Spot. Janet knew just how to make her smile with a scratch on the head with a stick, though I'm not sure it would suit me. Everyone was envious of the wondrous vegetables on the allotments, not mine unfortunately, and our shed was investigated to check on the little stove for making tea. We carried on around the top path admiring the views and the wayside flowers, pretending we were deep in the countryside and dreaming about all the lovely jam we might make when those brambles ripen.

Perhaps we're all just country girls at heart after all.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

goddesses hit the runway

Well, it was quite an evening.  Sharing names, and words, and flow.  We put our feet on the ground.  We thought about times when we were on a roll.  We had some music and some movement.  We chatted and smiled and let ourselves go.

Then we took flight.

Massive thanks from us all to Cate McKenzie for leading the evening with such energy and warmth.  If you want to spend some more time releasing your inner goddess Cate is running a workshop at Bromley by Bow Centre on 12th August.  More details available here.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

july meetings: release your inner goddess

Come and join us for a workshop at our next meeting on 20th July with life coach Cate McKenzie and find out how to release your inner goddess and become more confident in day to day life.  Cate is passionate about building people's confidence and helping them to connect with and create the life of their dreams.  Who knows quite what will happen?  A group of women releasing their inner goddesses all at once -  surely it's bound to be heavenly.

We will be in our new home, St Margaret's House on Old Ford Road, and it's 7.30pm for an 8pm start.  We'll provide the tea and coffee, but do feel free to share any home made baking or bring a bottle.  Visitors may join us at a cost of £3.

If you feel like taking in a bit of urban countryside later in that week, come to our coffee morning at Mudchute Kitchen at 10.30am on 23rd July, the cafe at Mudchute Farm.  The farm is one of Europe's largest city farms and there are a wide range of animals to admire.  And it'll be interesting to test the cakes, of course.  Follow this link to find out how to get there.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Let Them Eat Cake

Many thanks to Let Them Eat Cake for lending us their gorgeous cake stands for Paradise Gardens. Here is their latest press release.

Vintage cake stands for high days and holidays…

Make this Summer memorable and very special with a truly unique stand from ‘Let them eat Cake’ – home of the largest vintage cake stand collection online. A modern take on an iconic British tea time symbol, Let them eat Cake’s stands are ready and waiting to take centre stage at every summer celebration.

Each stand combines vintage china that is exquisitely mismatched and often topped with a tea cup. Stands range from romantic or sophisticated to pretty or eccentric. So whether it’s a Mad Hatter’s tea party, a Summer wedding or alfresco dinner party, there’s a Let them eat Cake stand ready to show off summer delights of fruits, favours, savoury treats or even cake.

At you can see this stylish and stunning cake stand collection - a truly modern heirloom. Let them eat Cake have lots of inspirational ideas on ways to use them, to ensure they never get banished to the cupboard. Dress them up, dress them down or keep them naked and enjoy owning something truly individual and unique.

Leading Swedish design websiteHemfeber’, described them ascomplete porcelain anarchy, which is a little fun’. Let them eat Cake founders Clare Burgess & Carole Sleight have created the perfect summer purchase for all vintage lovers, cake bakers, upcycling enthusiasts, tea party givers, those being wooed or wed ...or for those of you who just like to create a sense of occasion.

Carole and Clare established Let them eat Cake in 2008 and have had their stands featured at the ‘East London Design Show’ 2008/09 ‘Paradise Gardens Festival’ 2009/10, Hobbs and Harvey Nichols among other events. Their stands have also been in Grand Designs Magazine, Cosmopolitan Bride, Cabinet Maker’s Design Focus and others. They can be seen loaded with goodies and cakes in Xanthe Milton’s new ‘Eat Me!’ cupcake and bake book and centre stage in Annabel Karmel’s new children’s party book.

Contact Details :

Email: : Tel: Carole Sleight 07768 617 081


The July Newsletter is now available to download here

NFWI AGM Cardiff

This is how I thought I should have looked when I set off for the NFWI AGM lat the beginning of June - that's what happens when you spend weeks looking through the WI archives.  Alas, gone are the days when women turned up in hats and gloves and looked like they'd just stepped out of a Barbara Pym novel.  Nor was there any booing either.  It was a relaxed, civilised affair, though not without its moments of passion - I was teary eyed more than once through the day and it was not all hay fever.

My journey started at Epping when I joined one of the coaches carrying delegates from the Essex Federation.  I'm glad I decided not to drive, because it gave me a chance to meet our Essex WI neighbours, including Angela from Stoke Newington WI ( hello, Stokey!)  and hear about what the WI meant to them, different in so very many ways to the East End WI, but at the same time underpinned by many of the same values - sharing knowledge and skills, supporting other women and building communities.  Sheena and Barbara from the Essex Federation did a great job in organising us and getting us to Cardiff safely - well done, them.  (Warning - if you find yourself anywhere near the Swindon Outlet Retail Park, accelerate out of there. My idea of hell on earth.)

Here are the highlights of a long day.

:: for starters,  hundreds of women singing Jerusalem, even if unlike them I didn't know it by heart ( oh, the shame) brings tears to the eyes.  It was recorded too this time, so you may be able to hear it yourself soon.

:: OK, I'm a nerd, but Honorary Treasurer Aleathia Mann gave a really competent presentation on WI finances, though  the news we heard later about the use of the WI brand on selected food products is something that will need careful monitoring.

::Speakers:  Gwen Parry Jones, the only woman Director of a nuclear power station. Tim Smit from the Eden Project, exhorting us to participate in the Big Lunch - round of applause for him for saying that we actually don't live in a broken society, though it is a little bit bruised in places, and promoting the contribution that events like the Big Lunch can make to communities.  Speaker John Bercow direct from the House of Commons via video link. And the lovely Lee Durrell talking about the work done in Jersey at the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.  (More lumps in the throat for the saving of the small species they have saved.)

:: the perplexing sight of Only Men Aloud gyrating their hips and the standing ovation they received from thousands of women.  Even more perplexing - I joined in by belting out the chorus to Delilah at the top of my voice.  Hmm.  Something weird going on there.

:: hearing briefly about the Mums Matter campaign to improve maternal health in poor countries - do follow the link to read more and sign the petition.

The resolution for clear and mandatory labelling of country of origin on all meat, poultry and fish products got through with a massive majority so you'll be hearing more about that - you can read more about it in WI Life.  And there was a reminder to make best use of the residential and day courses and Denman College.

So, all in all a great to have represented you all and to experience what the WI means to all sorts of women from across the country.  Thank you so much for letting me go.

Monday, 21 June 2010

blown away

The windy weather at Paradise Gardens on Saturday meant we had to peg down our banner to stop it blowing away.  We still think it looked lovely, especially the wee apostrophe (no doubt Lynne Truss would have been proud of us).  We had a great couple of days and were delighted with all the wondrous cakes (did anyone take snapshots?)... efficient service...

fab EEWI bags (we only had a few left they were such good value)...

and allotment-grown table flowers.

But what really blew us away was the lovely atmosphere in our very own EEWI marquee.  It felt like a the best cafe buzzing with happy people; some of Akane Takayamas dogs even came to join us (where was my camera when I needed it and should we bake dog biscuits next year?).

Massive thanks to everyone who gave their time so generously baking, sewing, shifting and serving, to Let Them Eat Cake for letting us borrow their beautiful cake stands, to the electrician who got our urns working again when they went off,  and to everyone who came and visited us and made our day.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

we got flow

If you read any of the literature about happiness you'll probably come across the idea of flow at some point.  It happens when people are absorbed by what they are doing.  Which explains why people looked so happy and absorbed at our June meeting.  Making rosettes (and many thanks to the lovely V&A WI for sharing the instructions)... 

..even doubly happy...

...or making our WI banner...


...even with a broken wrist (get well soon, B!)

or making paper bags....

or ceramics...

Thanks so much to everyone who contributed to our skill sharing evening and special thanks to Mo for leading the ceramics workshop.