A Festive Tipple

The festive season started in style at Thursday’s meeting with a delicious wine tasting event hosted by DBWI member, Julie Campbell of Vinvixen on Kingsland Road. Julie’s passion and enthusiasm for wine is infectious and her philosophy is simple – find the style of wine you like and enjoy it! We tasted seven wines,  all sourced by Julie from individual growers who ‘exemplify ingenuity and excellence in their wine production’.

IMG_2433Here is what we generously sampled:
Sparkling: Riva De Milàn – Prosecco, Italy;
Colet Grand Cuveé – Spain (not like any cava you have ever tasted and a great value alternative to christmas champagne).
White: San Clodio – Spain; Encostas Penalva Branco, Portugal.
Red: Encostas Penalva Red, Portugal; Anthocyane, Mas des Caprices, France.
Fortified: Morgadio da Calçada Ruby Reserve Port, Portugal.

Julie sells delicious cheeses as well as wine. If you need some help making a dinner party or christmas day special get down to see our very own wine specialist.


Christmas-fairThe ANNUAL CHRISTMAS FAIR at St. Peter’s Crypt is next Saturday 13th between 11am-5pm. Organised by the DBA there will be over 40 stalls where you can do your christmas shopping whilst supporting small local businesses and crafts people. Entrance £1.

We have a stall and will be selling items made by members (knitted christmas stockings, cakes, preserves etc) as well as gift WI memberships for 2015. We are still looking for further donations for the stall so any handicrafts or home made food gifts that you can contribute will be gratefully received (deliver to the stall at the crypt at 10am or email DBWI for details of where to drop them off). We’ve promised not to sell anything to be eaten there and then so if you are baking please make it full size cakes!

Every Friday the lovely Judith runs a community cafe in the crypt 12.00 noon until 4.00pm. She serves delicious home cooked food in a very friendly atmosphere. She is also looking for a volunteer to help her serve every other Friday so email her HERE if you are interested.

You can details about the next three meetings HERE. January is all about feeling good about our own bodies so we hope to see you then. Its also the start of the new WI year so please bring your 2015 subscription of £36 with you (cash or cheque). We’ll also be discussing next year’s nominated campaign so make sure you read about them in the latest copy of WI Life.


Here are a few pics of November’s meeting – showing just how absorbed a roomful of women became assembling their decoupage creations. It was a very relaxed evening with lots of opportunities to chat whilst playing with glue and scissors! Amanda’s daughter Lily Werth gave us a quick intro into the art of decoupage and then it was a mad scramble to choose materials and boxes to decorate. Great fun!

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Next meeting is WINE TASTING, presented by one of our members, Julie Campbell, owner of VINVIXEN on Kingsland Road. Thursday 4th December, 7.30pm.

Next Book Club meeting is Tuesday 11th November – David Nicholl’s US – full details HERE.

Next knitting club is Monday 17th November – full details HERE.

There are several new pages on the website including Around De Beauvoir which lists local events you might be interested in, let us know if you want something to be included. There’s also a new Q&A page where we will post any member’s questions – just email Avril who looks after the website HERE.

De Beauvoir Discovered

A very big THANK YOU to Edward Benyon for providing such an interesting talk about De Beauvoir and his family history at our October meeting. We were a large spellbound audience with lots of members and guests eager to find out more about this glorious corner of London. For those of you who missed it we will be uploading a video of the talk soon.

We welcomed three new members/sisters in October: Pamela Dow, Emily Constantinidi and Lisa Topliss. A big Hello!

There’s lots of autumn activities to tell you about – so here goes:

woolCampaign for Wool Ride
This weekend, Campaign for Wool celebrates its 5th anniversary a family friendly Wool Ride on Sunday (5th October) through London’s top landmarks. Potters Field by Tower Bridge is the start and end of the ride and will be a hub of entertainment and activity throughout the day. The cycle ride starts at 9am and is about 13.4 miles long lasting roughly 2 hours. The ride isn’t a race at all, rather a lovely, leisurely event. For more information and to sign up for free, visit the site HERE.

Macmillan Coffee Morning
We are making the drinks at this year’s coffee morning at St. Peter’s Crypt Cafe on Saturday 18th October 11am – 1pm. Bake something to bring along as a donation for the home produce stall or just bring your friends for a coffee and cake (£1 entry plus donation for tea and cake). We are also hosting a knitting corner so do bring your latest knitting project along! If you want to volunteer your services for cup cake baking contact avril@broad-base.co.uk.


The Rosemary Branch Sequins on my Balcony
A one hour, one woman show, Yvette has been living with cancer since 1996 when she was a young woman, she turned herself into a belly dance teacher and performer and she is telling her funny and feelgood story at The Rosie for 6 shows from October 14th. More details HERE.

East is East meet the cast and Q&A
Thursday 30th October, 2.30pm matinee, Whitehall theatre. Special WI offer for groups of 6+, see full details HERE.

BBC 1 ‘Rip Off Britain’
The BBC are setting up a pop up shop at Broadcasting House 20 – 24th October 2014.
A team of experts will solve consumer problems as part of a week of live programmes and they have asked WI members to participate. You can email your consumer qualms to ripoffbritain@bbc.co.uk or contact janine.weaver@bbc.co.uk for more details.

De Beauvoir WI Book Club
The next book is Eimear McBride’s debut novel, which won this year’s Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction, (formerly the Orange Prize for Fiction): A Girl is Half Formed Thing. Meet Tuesday 7 October, further details HERE.

Spend a morning at Denman on 27 November 2014 with celebrated actor and author Sheila Hancock as she discusses her eagerly awaited new book: ‘Miss Carter’s War’. Afterwards you can enjoy a delicious two-course lunch. Tickets are priced at £60 for members and £65 for non-members including a copy of ‘Miss Carter’s War’ RRP £12.99. For tickets call their team on 01865 391991.

Women-on-aWomen on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
The Musical with Tamsin Greig and Haydn Gwynne
Wednesday 28th January 7.30pm Exclusive Meet The Cast!
Join fellow WI friends for the Evening performance and stay after the show for an exclusive opportunity to meet members of the Cast & Creative Team. Top Stalls Or Circle Ticket & Meet The Cast £35 for WI Groups 8+ (reduced from £59.50), further details HERE.


De Beauvoir WI Knitting Club
The next meeting is on Monday 13th October when Nicole will be demonstrating crocheted stars. Full info HERE. (If you are a knitter please bring your knitting to the Macmillan coffee morning (see above).

The Knitting and Stitching Show is at Alexandra Palace 8–12 October.
Join the Middlesex Federation of WIs on stand No. RCA3 at the new Stitch-by-Stitch area.

The BBC Good Food BAKE AND CAKE SHOW is at the Islington Business Design Centre 25–27th October.

Craft Dabble Days
Needle Felting and Knitted Toys – Thursday 6th November
Christmas Crafts – Thursday 4th December –
£5 per day – full info HERE.

Sugarcraft Workshop for Beginners, Saturday 22nd November 2014.
£18.50. Details HERE.

May Martin’s Sewing Bible: 40 Years of Tips and Tricks
Join the fabulous May Martin, star of BBC2’s the Great British Sewing Bee on 27 October 2014, as she talks about her new book followed by a scrumptious lunch. The cost of the book, RRP £25, is included in the price! Tickets priced at £65 for members and £70 for non-members. To book go to www.denman.org.uk

Stroud Green WI WInter Fair
Stroud Green WI is launching a WInter Fair. This jingle bell bonanza is to be held in the grand chandelier room of the Stapleton Tavern, right in the epicentre of Stroud Green, N4 on Sat 22 November.  There will be cakes, there will be jams but there will also be face-painting, a raffle and vintage and craft stalls galore. WI Members who run a stall or a business that might like to participate in the Stroud Green WInter Fair should contact them now to apply for a stall. Email: stroudgreenwi@yahoo.co.uk


As part of the WI Centenary celebrations next year there are a few initiatives and competitions popping up:

Member’s Stories
The WI are looking for at least 100 Inspiring Women stories from members to share on the WI website. It could be your favorite or most inspiring WI memory – whatever you would like to share – or you could simply tell us what you love most about the WI, what you have gained from your membership or what advice you’d like to give to WI members in 100 years. If you would like to take part you can submit your story (in no more than 500 words) to communications@nfwi.org.uk attaching any photos/images/videos that relate to it by 5th December.

National Federation/Makower challenge – make a wallhanging or wearable item using the colour collection range from Makower UK. Full details HERE.

Middlesex Centenary Baton Competition – make a cushion to display the Centenary Baton on its journey through Middlesex next May. Cushions should be 24 x 12 inches. Email us for a copy of the entry form HERE.

The Middlesex Federation October Newsletter can be viewed as a pdf HERE.

An evening of magic

Lynn and Amanda attended a group meeting of 10 of our neighbouring WIs on Monday 22nd September. The event was hosted by the North West WI at the historical Tin Tabernacle in Kilburn. A delicious spread of food appeared as members arrived, bringing their contributions. Lynn was a proud winner of the getting-to-know-you game which was followed by entertainment provided by female magician Jenny Myers. The evening concluded with a brief talk on the history of this fascinating building. There were lots of opportunities to mix and meet other WI members.


Calling all chocoholics

We are very excited to announce that our meeting on September 4th will involve tasting chocolate! Yes that’s right TASTING CHOCOLATE. Local chocolatier Anthony Ferguson of Niko B. Organic Chocolates will teach us all about his craft and best of all – we get to taste his wares and compare and rate his chocolate! Be warned – this is the real McCoy. Remember that guests are welcome at to come to three meetings without joining at a cost of £5 per meeting.

Before that we have the August meeting on 7th and because this falls in the middle of the summer holidays we are saving on rent and having an informal social evening instead. Meet at The De Beauvoir Arms at 7.30pm for a drink and a catch up.

Two interesting trips that have been brought to our attention are The Festival of Quilts 2014 at NEC Birmingham, 7-10th August, and The Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace, October 8-12th.

A Cut Above

At July’s meeting, members were blown away by Annahita Hassami’s stained-glass demonstration. Before our eyes, she created a beautiful glass window containing the WI logo, which she will generously donate to us once she’s finished it at her Southgate Road studio. During the meeting, a slideshow of her various commissions and designs played in the background describing the full depth of her craft and skills.
Cutglass Studio takes commissions for both new windows and repairs so if you fancy some beautiful stained glass above your front door Annahita comes highly recommended (but you might need to join the queue)!

To raise funds for our WI, we also held a tabletop sale of goodies – costume jewellery, makeup etc – kindly brought along by members. This is going to be a regular feature at meetings, so bring along a pound or two next time and bag a bargain.


We made an excellent start on our banner on Thursday (5 June) – although, probably as a result of too much chatting and not enough sewing, most of us ended up taking our squares home to complete. (One of our members, Ruth Dewynter, brought along a sewing box that had once belonged to her mother, containing among other things some fascinating old embroidery and crochet books – see picture below.)

We hope that any members who couldn’t make it to Thursday’s meeting will still want to design and add their square. (Actually, the squares aren’t squares at all – they’re 5″ x 6″.) Please allow for a hem too. They can be knitted, embroidered, machine- or hand-stitched or even a drawing on fabric. You can stitch on ribbons, buttons or trimmings, or make a picture or an abstract piece of art. It’s up to you. Please also add your name or initials. Amanda and Victoria will be organising some finish-the-banner workshops soon – details to follow. (Any questions, just email us at debeauvoirwi@hotmail.com)

Once the banner has been completed, we’ll use it for cake stalls, marches and so on.



Trips & events

Ruth Napolitano is taking bookings for ‘Upstairs at the Proms’ (1 September) and the Rosemary Branch Christmas panto (3 December). Email Ruth if you’re interested, more info on the DBWI Trips Out page.

Next meeting: Thursday 3 July

Local artist Annahita Hessami (www.cutglassstudio.co.uk), who designs and makes beautiful stained glass, will be talking to us about the history of this traditional craft, and will tell us how she mastered the art. She’ll also demonstrate some of the skills and techniques involved. She’s very passionate about her work, so this should make for an interesting and entertaining evening. As usual, of course, there will also be tea, cake, wine and good company. We hope to see you all there.

(And remember, we’re collecting for the Hackney Food Bank, which provides emergency supplies for people at times of crisis, so bring along a tin if you feel so inclined and add it to the pile.)