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.

paradise found

Paradise, it seems, is full of cakes, but only if you get there early.  This was all we had left at the East End WI marquee today at five o'clock.  So if you want to enjoy our baking, turn up early to Paradise Gardens this Sunday, meet lovely people, have a cup of tea and cake with us, buy one of our bags, and bliss out.

See you there.

Friday, 11 June 2010

june meetings

Get away from the football  at our summer crafting meeting on Tuesday 15th June when ceramics expert Murude Mehmet will show us how to make ceramic jewellery. You should bring an apron to protect clothing, a small board (small wooden cutting board is ok) everything else will be provided including clay, firing, glaze and ribbon. Whatever we make on the night will be fired after the event and distributed at a later date.  

Along with the jewellery, alternative crafts will also be on offer, including newspaper bag making, led by EEWI members.  If people would like to share a craft skill, do get in touch.  

We will also be making a temporary sign for our tea and cake stalls. Long term we are looking at getting something we can use forever and a day but we need something fairly swiftly for the next events. We liked the idea of making it at the next meeting so that everyone can have some sort of input. 

7.30pm for an 8pm start at St Margaret's House 7.30pm for an 8pm start
St. Margaret's House Settlement 21 Old Ford Road Bethnal Green E2 9PL
Entry to our new home is through the garden.  Enter via 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,
Free for members £3 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.

Please bring along your old bras, newspapers, towels, pens and blankets for our various charitable causes.

Our coffee morning will be at Rich Mix on Friday 18th June at 10.30am.  For details on how to get there, follow the link or check out our newsletter.

Thursday, 10 June 2010


Please find June's newsletter by clicking HERE

Please find Jo's Olympic Community Engagement Team notes HERE and HERE

Tuesday, 8 June 2010


If you are looking for a little outing this weekend - and it just might be sunny - you could make your way go to the Abbey Gardens Summer Fair this Saturday, 12th June from 12-4pm.

Abbey Gardens is an artist led community garden and they'll have plants for sale, teas, coffees, cakes, a photography exhibition, family activities and garden games. This is how it looked last time I was there in October - hope to see lots of vegetables this time round.   Follow the link to the  website for further information - the gardens are opposite Bakers Row (E15 3 NF) - map here.

Edited to add: More open gardens over the weekend at St Mary's Community Garden.  More details on our newsletter or follow the link

nights at the museum

There is something magical about being in a museum when it's closed to the public.  Not that it was quiet exactly.  The lovely women from the new V&A WI had invited London WIs to a Quilts social, so there was plenty of wine,  food and chat going on.  We were in great company,  including Ruth Bond, the National Federation WI Chair and Vice Chair Janice Langley and the ladies from the Essex Federation.  There was a chance to say hello to WI neighbours from Wanstead, Clapham and North West London.  And then, of course, there were the glorious quilts.  Sue Pritchard, the curator of the fabulous quilts exhibition, gave us a quick tour of some of the exhibits - including the evocative Rajah quilt and the work of the men from Wandsworth Prison after which we had time to look around at our own pace and be tempted by the Liberty quilting fabrics.

Massive thanks to the V&A WI for their warm welcome and generosity - and inspiring me to get on with a bit of quilting of my own,