Feel Good, Do Good

On Thursday 6th October Alex  Nunn,  from  Action  for  Happiness,  led  us  on   an  inspiring  and  interactive exploration  of  what   really  matters  for  a  happy  and  meaningful  life. The evening was filled with personal insights and as usual the women of De Beauvoir opened their hearts to trying to make a difference.

Ten Keys to happier living:Microsoft Word - WI Poster for October 2016

GIVING – do things for others
RELATING – connect with people
EXERCISING – Take care of your body
AWARENESS – Live life mindfully
TRYING OUT – Keep learning new things

DIRECTION – Have goals to look forward to
RESILIENCE – Find ways to bounce back
EMOTIONS – Look for waht’s good
ACCEPTANCE – Be comfortable with who you are
MEANING – Be part of something


Our prize winners

The sun could not have shone brighter for our first joint De Beauvoir WI and De Beauvoir Gardeners Flower and Produce. Everyone I meet who attended has had nothing but praise for the event and how much it brings the community together. If you missed the prize giving (or if you sadly missed the show altogether) we can happily now give you a link to all the winners HERE and a gallery of pics HERE.

Special mention has to go to some of our own lovely ladies who took away some of the top prizes. Justina Kochansky won first prize for her piece of homemade jewellery which was then awarded the Silver Cup for the BEST EXHIBIT in the show. Gillian Rowe won the highly prized Rose Bowl for the highest number of points in the flowers and fruit and vegetable categories.


Other members who did very well include our knitting guru Pamela who won both first and second prize in the tea cosy category. The picture below shows why!


Sara Lawrence got first prize for her cupcakes. Jacqui James was a popular winner in the Dog Show after her gorgeous dog Humphrey (below) wowed the audience with his best trick.


Cake and Bake Show 2016

This is an exciting opportunity to take part in the Cake and Bake Show 2016, with shows in London from the 7th – 9th October at Excel and Manchester from 10th – 13th November at Event City! The show features live bake-offs, skills classes and demonstrations by renowned star bakers, book-signings, hundreds of exhibitors, display tables and classrooms. Please see the show’s website for further information: http://www.thecakeandbakeshow.co.uk/

NFWI has been offered a free display table at both events to showcase WI members cakes, bakes and jams. Typically the tables are unmanned and so do not require a member to be on the table, however if you would like to demonstrate anything such as sugar crafting then this would be a welcome addition.

Members can claim up to £100 in expenses each day for attending the shows. If this event interests you or you know of an expert and passionate baker within the federation who would be perfect for this show please contact Sophie Page,
Membership Officer & PA to General Secretary at gensecpa@nfwi.org.uk in the first instance

The Flower and Produce Show

The De Beauvoir Flower and Produce Show (and Dog Show) has been taking place every year since 1979 (at least).

This year, for the first time, WE are jointly organising the show with De Beauvoir Gardeners and this means that we need some help and volunteers. We are not only running the cake stall (domestic delights) but helping with all aspects of the show which is a really lovely annual event – a village style show in the heart of London. It celebrates this corner of Hackney’s growing, creative and dog owning communities and is promoted through local schools to encourage children to bake, draw, grow and make – we even have cup cake decorating on the day.


As well as the usual flower, produce, baking and preserve categories there are new (WI) craft entries as follows:

  • For children – A glove puppet made from a sock

and for everyone:

  • Greeting card in any medium (e.g. sewn, painting, collage, photograph, crafting)
  • A floral tea or egg cosy, stitched, knitted or crocheted
  • Homemade piece of jewellery (brooch, necklace, bracelet or ring) on a garden theme

To make this year a success we really need your help in lots of ways:

  • Volunteers to help for a couple of hours on a stall.
  • Volunteers to help with setting up or clearing up. This includes husbands and burley teenagers to help with the heavy work of setting up gazebos, carrying books and tables – either in the morning or at the end (or both).
  • As many individual entries in all categories as possible (we are not doing WI group entries this year) again encourage neighbours, relatives and children to enter too. CLICK HERE to see all the categories so you can start planning your entries now.
  • Contributions of nice items for the tombola (bring items to the August and September meetings).
  • Whole cakes and savouries to sell on the day.
  • Bring your dog along and consider entering the floral fancy dress category.
  • Promote the show on facebook or twitter using the links on this page.
  • Put a poster up.

We will have sign-up sheets and be available for questions at the August social where we will also distribute posters and leaflets for those who have already signed up for leaflet distribution.


De Beauvoir Bakes…

For those of you who missed Party in the Park here are some pictures of our hugely successful tea and cake stall. Huge THANKS to everyone who baked, helped, organised, served and cleared up. Congratulations to the De Beauvoir Association for another brilliant community event. We would also like to give special thanks to two local sponsors, Biscuitea on Southgate Road and De Beauvoir Deli for their generous (and professional) donations.

E5 Bakehouse

WI_July2016For those of you who missed July’s meeting – it was a cracker! There was more about baking but this time is was all about bread. Ben Mackinnon described how he founded artisan bakery E5 Bakehouse, in the corner of a railway arch in London Fields in 2011. The bakery has enjoyed huge success and the popularity of sourdough bread has spread but although he now employs 46 people he still runs the business along strong sustainable and ethical principals. Not least deliveries – which are only by bicycle – limiting them to Hackney restaurants and delis. Ben talked with passion, expert knowledge and candid good humour as we fired question after question at him. For those of you interested here is my own blog post on sending my husband to an E5 Bakehouse workshop for his birthday.


Nia – Ending Violence Against Women

We had another speaker at July’s meeting – the wonderful Heather Harvey from Nia, our chosen charity in 2015. She talked about the work that they do and the wide range of projects they run which range from a rape crisis support line to helping women exit prostitution. Small charities like Nia, which do so much to try to change the lives of frightened and vulnerable women and girls needs as much good PR and support as possible. One small thing that we can all do is vote for Nia in the Adiah Antigha Community awards, please show your support by voting for them through this link. I think many of us felt that their work was something that we could all help to promote and I am sure we will be discussing how we can help do this in the future.


August – Pub meet up

We don’t meet in the Crypt in August because it tends to be quieter due to summer holidays. We have a social instead and we are meeting in the back room at the Scolt Head at 7.30pm for a good old natter. It’s a great opportunity to discuss ideas for future speakers and WI resolutions so if you have ideas bring them along. Members get one glass of wine on us.

Our WI Summer Season and learning about aromatherapy…

If you didn’t make it to last Thursdays meeting you missed out on the delicious smells of lavender, frankincense, nutmeg, and immortelle. Jane Williams gave us an expansive talk about aromatherapy which started with the history of the art of using scent extracted from plants and spices and ended with members giving themselves a personally scented hand massage. We smelled fresh leaves gathered from Jane’s garden, compared varieties of lavender oils (always keep lavender oil handy for kitchen burns) and discovered how to use essential oils safely. We also learned about how Jane helps cancer patients at University College Hospital where aromatherapy is something that helps relaxation and relieves some of the cruel side effects of cancer treatment.

For those of you who want to buy some oils Jane recommends Neal’s Yard and her own favourite Oshadi.

Essential oils and scented plant leaves

Essential oils are extracted from plants and spices.

Thursday also saw the circulation of a host of sign-up sheets for the summers big fund-raising events. The first is this coming Saturday when we are running a cake stall at A Royal Knees-up party in Rosemary Gardens to celebrate the Queen‘s birthday. There will be an afternoon of fun for families including a dog show. We are still looking for cakes so email if you can bake, the WI will refund costs.


The knees-up is followed by another cake stall at Party in the Park on 9th July – again we are looking for bakers and helpers on the stall. Lastly (but this is the big one) – we have agreed to co-produce the Flower and Produce show in September alongside the de Beauvoir Gardeners. The show will be a great opportunity to raise our profile in the area as well as fundraise. We are looking for volunteers from members and their families to help make this community day better than ever.