Coffee and Cake

First of all, many thanks to Esther and Ricardo from The Roasting Shed, who made the second meeting of the De Beauvoir WI such a success. Esther and Ricardo – who really do have a roasting shed in their garden in Clapton – gave us an entertaining berry-to-bean talk about the origins of our daily cup of coffee, and brought along tasters for us to try. Ricardo also told us about the coffee-growing Quindío area of Colombia, where he comes from. An interesting and delicious time was had by all.

Big thanks also to DBWI member Bella Bunce, who runs the Proper & Sons deli and café (just along from the Fox pub on Kingsland Road) and who very generously brought along copious amounts of cookies and cakes to accompany our coffee. Julie from Vinvixen once again brought along the wine. Thanks all round.

President Amanda
The meeting involved various bits of WI business: we voted in our committee. Amanda Lovegrove, whose hard work got our WI off the ground in the first place, was voted in as president.

Food Bank
From the June meeting, we’re going to be collecting for the Hackney Food Bank which provides food and other essentials to families in times of financial crisis. There will be a collecting box next to the entrance so that you can, if you wish, drop in a tin or two. Below we give a list of items suggested by the Hackney Foodbank (strangely, they say no baked beans or pasta, please).
Milk (UHT or powdered)
Unrefrigerated fruit juice
Tinned fruit (in juice)
Tinned meat, fish, vegetables
Tinned or dried soup
Rice (500g or 1k bags, please)
Instant coffee
Curry and pasta sauce
Instant mash potato
Biscuits or healthy snacks
Tinned rice pudding
Nappies & baby products
Toilet Roll
Washing-up liquid

Neighbourhood Feast

DBWI member Samantha Selmes is helping to organise a “whizz-bang Neighbourhood Feast event” on Saturday 10 May in the St Peter’s Crypt café, 5.30pm-9pm. It’s a De Beauvoir Association/St Peter’s Community Partnership event and it’s an opportunity to share your favourite food or national dish, bring recipes to give away, decorate your table in national colours, have fun and be creative.
If anyone would like to get involved, please contact Samantha, who says: “The more chefs, the more volunteers to help set up or clear away, the more guests wanting to eat, mix and mingle, the better.”
Full details on the DBA website.

Next meeting: 5 June 2014

Our next meeting will be a sit-and-sew session to make the De Beauvoir WI banner (which we’ll then use for events, campaigning etc). We’ll need materials and some sewing machines for the evening. Further details to be posted soon.

Book Group
The De Beauvoir WI Book Group is up and running, see here for details.


And we’re off!

Our launch meeting on 3 April was a great (if somewhat chaotic!) success. It was fantastic to see so many women streaming into the Crypt at St Peter’s – more than 60 in total, 49 of whom have already signed up for membership.

Liz Morrell and Sarah Wilson, our lovely ladies from the WI’s Middlesex Federation, kindly came along to help us get started, and they will be returning for our next meeting on Thursday 1 May, again in the Crypt on Northchurch Terrace from 7.30pm to 9.30pm (see monthly meetings for more details), when we’ll be voting for our president and committee members. Once voted in, the committee will sign the WI constitution – at which point the De Beauvoir WI will be official, part of an organisation with more than 212,000 members countrywide (and which celebrates its centenary next year).

Remember that if you didn’t pay your £34.70 annual subscription last time, please bring cash or cheque to our next meeting.

Front-page news

Pic by Dan Tookey

Amanda & Julie, pic by Dan Tookey, Hackney Post

There was a great deal of local interest in the launch. Amanda Lovegrove, who was instrumental in getting the DBWI off the ground, was interviewed for the Hackney Post (in a piece titled ‘Women’s Institute to Open De Beauvoir Branch’). Here she is (plus tea cosy), accompanied by Julie Campbell from Vinvixen. There’s also going to be a snippet about us in the June issue of the Women’s Institute magazine WI Life.

There are plenty of ways to get involved

The DBWI is just the start… If you’re interested in setting up a spinoff group – maybe a sewing, cycling or theatergoers’ group, a book club, choir or knitter-natter get-together – then please put forward your ideas at our next meeting. We’d love to hear from you. Our WI is just finding its feet, so input from the members is really important. And there’s no shortage of things that need doing on a regular basis – greeting new members, serving teas and so on.


Those of you who were at the April meeting might have noticed that we had some fine wine available. This was thanks to Julie Campbell of Vinvixen, who will be bringing along different interesting wines for people to try each month. Julie has also promised to give us a talk on food-and-wine compatibility at one of our forthcoming meetings. In the meantime, you can check out the Vinvixen wine shop at 450 Kingsland Road E8 4AE.