Christmas Fayre and December’s party

For those of you who couldn’t get to the fair on Saturday here are a few pics of the lovely crafts and items made and donated by our members. We raised a princely sum for our funds which will be announced at Thursday’s meeting – so well done everyone! An extra big thank you to Amanda who contributed so much time to making it happen – including decorating the entrance to lure in passers-by. If you have any more pics send them in so we can add to the gallery ( Leftover items will be on sale on Thursday.

Our next meeting is this Thursday 3rd and its our Christmas party (prosecco, hot punch and non-alcoholic punch on offer) with a selection of festive crafts to try: biscuit icing, gift tags, beaded tree decorations and a demonstration of a floral Christmas centrepiece. Most of all time to chat with all the new girl friends we’ve made this year! See you at 7.30. x


A visit from Meg and November’s news

Last week Meg Hillier the MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch dropped by to our meeting. That makes it sound really informal and friendly – but it was. She was just one of us.
Not as well known in the media as her Hackney MP counterpart, Dianne Abbott, Meg gave us some wise words about what’s like to be a female MP and a whistle-stop tour of her career. She stayed right until the end so there’s not enough room to tell all here (plus some things that are said at the WI stay at the WI – that’s a good reason to join, hint, hint).

The things that stood out most I thought were:

  • She was the first woman in her family (of ten siblings!) to go to university. The second was her mum!
  • She juggles being a mum of three with a HUGE job,  but was very clear about saying how she’s just like any other working mum and so she  can understand all the issues and fights for them at her workplace.
  • What she loves the best? Her surgery and being out and about with her constituents.
  • There’s a real sisterhood amongst all the female politicians (there were gasps from most of the group about this).
  • But the leitmotif throughout the night was that we need more women to get involved in politics on all levels from being councillors on up. How? Women should encourage women along the way, but she’s highlighted that she’s had some great male mentors too and what’s most important is to inspire more women to get into politics.

Thanks for the visit Meg – we’ll take you up on the offer to come back.

Christmas Fair2015 CHRISTMAS poster FINAL

For those of you who missed the meeting we want to remind you that we have a stall at the St. Peters Christmas Fair organised by the De Beauvoir Association. The knitting and Jewellery clubs have been busy making items to sell but we are looking for lots more donations from our members. Crafts, home made cards, preserves and pickles, bagged treats – all donations for our Christmas stall will be greatly received. The DBA are looking for donations of sweet and savoury fayre for their tea stall so if you can’t resist a bake you know where to take it.

Jam Factory

We have decided that it would be a great idea to make jams, preserves and marmalade so we can build up a store for our various stall activities. We need you to collect jam jars which can be brought along to meetings, and we are looking for anyone who is expert enough to teach small teams the basics. If you know what you are doing or want to  help (or learn) let us know so we can put some teams together. Lastly if you know of anyone with surplus produce give us a shout, we might be too late this year but we need to be on the case in 2016!

December meeting

On the third we will be celebrating Christmas with a range of crafts to try out plus mince pies and mulled wine.

Remember, remember the 5th of November…

This year all the local pyrotechnics seem to happening on Saturday which is just as well because I think most of us are looking forward to meeting Meg Hillier this Thursday. Don’t forget that you can bring guests, its just £5 on the door.

Calender Girl

Representing DBWI Lynn Brooks took part in the 100th celebrations at Walmer WI last month. She says:

“we each represented a decade of women & I was the calendar girl… Jennifer,the chair used to live in Hackney & started the Gardeners Club with Jude & Doritie. I’ve been to one of their meetings before as her guest & they are very formal & sing Jerusalem. Most of them are slightly older than me, but I felt a generation younger!”

Southbank Centre Charity Shop Design Challenge

The Southbank Centre are transforming the whole of the Royal Festival Hall into a huge charity shop the weekend of 12 & 13 December. A major focus for the weekend will be our Charity Shop Design Challenge where we are asking people to showcase their favourite charity shop buys on our catwalk. They would like our WI to get involved so if anyone is interested shout out now! More details are below:

Exploring the themes of charity and giving back this winter, Southbank Centre’s Charity Shop Fashion Show showcases the best of on-trend looks, all put together from items found in charity shops and they need you to get involved! The Charity Shop Design Challenge invites members of the public to create an outfit from charity shop clothes or materials with a budget of just £20 with the theme of ‘Choose a Charity Shop’ to encourage people to think about shopping in charity shops more often to create great looks. You can select any items or materials you want as long as they are purchased in a charity shop (they will allow the use of some second hand items too) and you can add extra embellishment/ upcycling as you desire. After registering your details you will be invited to an hour long workshop session in November with Channel 4’s Fabulous Fashionista Bridget Sojourner who will be giving tips on her CharityShop inspired style, and will be one of the judges on the day of the show.

Register using the form here, making sure you have thoroughly read the listed terms. After registration has closed you will be sent details of how to submit your final entry into the show. Registration closes on Sunday 15 November at 12pm.The Fashion Show will take place as part of Winter at Southbank Centre with NatWest on Saturday 12 December at 3pm.

And lastly please remember that we have a table at the De Beauvoir Christmas Fair on 28th November. The knitting group are busy making items to sell but we need all your contributions which can include crafts, bagged confectionaries, christmas decorations etc. Please get in touch to let us know what you will be donating to the stall or if you need any help with ideas.


Bees, Cakes, Angels and Suffragettes

Its been a busy Autumn and there have been plenty of activities happening. We try to keep the website updated so if you want to know what is going on check in on the relevant pages – reminder links are posted below. This is a brief summary of what members have been up to…

IMG_3042The Bees Knees

Local de Beauvoir resident and beekeeper Richard Turnbull was our speaker for October’s meeting. With an easy charm he delighted us with a description of how a beehive works and how he keeps his own hives on a flat roof in his garden. We sat spellbound as we learned about the Queen, her male drones and the thousands of female worker bees that make up a colony. It ended with tasting Richard’s delicious Honey and a slice of Sara’s stunning honey cake! If you want to know what to plant to help support bees there’s a good list HERE.

Afternoon Tea Party raises £740

On Sunday 11th October we baked and served teas for the Macmillan tea party in the crypt organised by one of our members, Barbara. A massive thank you to everyone who baked, drank tea and donated. A special thank you to the lovely lady who paid £30 for Sara’s chocolate and pomegranate cake which got us off to a flying start. Here are a few pics:

coronation gown angels replicaDressed by Angels

A small group of us went to see this fascinating exhibition at the Truman Brewery which charts the history of Angels costumiers. Costumes from famous shows, films and tv are interwoven with the history of the Angel family (can you imagine having such a lovely name?). Costumes from Star Wars, Downton Abbey and Doctor Who are on display as well as a replica of the coronation gown itself (shown here).   The detailing is quite astounding particularly on the more intricate outfits as was the amount of time and expertise that went into making of these costumes.

Votes for Women

There was a short notice trip to see Suffragette on Wednesday 14th. It really is a wonderful reminder of the sacrifice that hundreds of women made in order to earn equal status and the right to vote. In the final credits there is a list of dates when various nations extended the vote to all women – from New Zealand who was the first in 1893, to our own in 1928 and then on through a surprisingly late list of entries that included France 1945, Switzerland 1971 and trailing way behind, Saudi Arabia in 2015.

If you want to keep up-to-date with activities you can find details of our subgroups, outings, campaigns and activities on the website, including details of a christmas Rosemary Branch trip, the Book Group, Jewellery Making and Knit and Natter group.

We are looking forward to seeing you all at the next meeting – we have Hackney MP Meg Hillier talking to us on Guy Fawkes night!

Party in the Park and the Charleston!

At last I have loaded up some pics of Party in the Park – and our wonderful stall. If you don’t already know we managed, for the first time ever, not to sell out of cake! It was a wonderful, sunny and fun packed day and a big thank you to everyone who baked, bought, volunteered and organised.

Shoreditch Sisters Summer Party
De Beauvoir WI members are invited to the Shoreditch Sisters summer party on 25th August – when they will be having a Charleston workshop! Its free to attend if you are a member – and we are hoping to put a little group together to go from DBWI, we already have five on the list. Just let us know asap if you want to go too and we will pop your name on an email.

Tuesday 25th at 7pm, The Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, 42-44 POLLARD ROW LONDON E2 6NB

An eclectic April meeting!

Even with great articles busting the myth that the WI is more than just all “jam and Jerusalem” sometimes I don’t think people believe me. However, if they’d come to our latest meeting then seeing really would have been believing.

The evening’s discussions ranged from making your own beaded jewellery, artisan Fairtrade Palestinian products to Rolfing (and this wasn’t all that was covered!)

Fancy getting into jewellery?

purple beadsKicking off with making jewellery, member Nancy Turnbull proposed the idea of a sub group to share ideas and learn techniques from each other which was received enthusiastically. Apart from metalwork, which requires a lot of expensive equipment and space, her ideas include:

  • Making polymer clay beads and jewellery
  • Wire wrapping
  • Necklace and bracelet stringing
  • Kumihimo

There are many ideas and tutorials online – to look at especially on YouTube and search on any of the above. An expert could also be invited along to teach too if it takes off. The inaugural meeting of our DBWI Jewellery Making group will take place on Friday 24th April at 10.30am at Nancy Turnbull’s house – email HERE to request the address details, all members welcome.

Palestinian pleasures

Zatoun logo Nancy then spoke about Zaytoun products that she and her husband, Richard, are selling on a not-for-profit basis. The company was founded 10 years ago to help Palestinian farmers who had lost their olive oil markets, it distributes Fairtrade pesticide-free extra virgin olive oil together with other artisan products.

Olive oilAs well as rigorous quality testing Zaytoun works actively with producers to secure international fair trade and organic status for all of its products and is a member of the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO). The products they are stocking are available to see here. soapThese products are at wholesale prices (compare prices with local organic markets!) passing the discount onto customers. Please tell your friends and colleagues. To place an order contact Nancy and Richard at or 07905 243644. They will contact you to arrange payment and collection. Local delivery by arrangement. Nancy will also bring products and a product list to some WI meetings.

What is Rolfing?

3ae8c832a3Finally, Naomi Wynter-Vincent one of only 34 Rolfers in the UK mesmerised the group with her talk about this unique kind of bodywork. Devised by American Ida Rolf in the 1930s, hence the name (which has nothing to do with golf or the former celebrity currently residing at Her Majesty’s Pleasure), Rolfing is described as a, “holistic system of soft tissue manipulation and movement education that organise(s) the whole body in gravity. There’s a lot to it, but essentially it’s an alternative therapy, which is used to relieve stress patterns in the body and improves posture and self-confidence.

Rolf believed that there is an association between the emotions and soft tissue issues, which, while not supported by scientific evidence has a staunch following in the popular world of alternative medicine. She drew on an eclectic mix of theories such as osteopathy, yoga, massage. There was a lively Q&A following this talk and for anyone who wishes to explore further Naomi practices in Luton.

Burlesque Evening

‘There was something amusing and touching about five of us meeting at the Southgate Road bus stop, dressed up for a girl’s night out, and heading off on the bus and tube for Knightsbridge! Almost regardless of where we were going, it was lovely to go out with a group of local women, and to have the chance to get to know some of them better.’ Lesley Thompson, DBWI member

So it was, no one knew quite what to expect when 15 of us trekked over to a basement club in a ritzy part of town on Friday 13th March, to see a burlesque show.  However, after meeting Delores Deluxe at our January gathering, we where intrigued to see her in action. Well, it looks like the evening exceeded expectations and a good time was definitely had. We had a rather delicious 3 course meal and then were treated to the show. The gorgeous Ms D was fabulous, funny and very entertaining. The club staff looked after us and at the end of the evening we decanted into Beauchamp Place in ebullient mood. We made an impression on them as well, Delores said we where the most fun table and the Manager Alex would love to see any of us again there in the future.

Jacqui James

Catch up with news about tomorrow’s menu at the Crypt Cafe and a talk by Robert Crampton organised by the DBA, next Thursday 26th HERE.

Finally you will have seen the posters go up for our next meeting on 2nd April and you can read a bit more about ‘Rolfing’ HERE.