Zooming Through Lockdown

Well hey there!

We had our third virtual meeting last night, it went brilliantly and I loved seeing everyone. Some of us carried on way past the end of the meeting discussing current affairs, social distancing and lots of other things; it’s this kind of contact that some of us are missing and I can’t wait to see everyone again soon.

Our guest was Louise from Sharewear Clothing Scheme who is such a passionate speaker on the wonderful charity that she founded and is an massive part of. We talked about the charity and the current campaign on Clothing Poverty which rears it’s head in so many different ways, and how we might be able to help. This week is Clothing Poverty Awareness Week #CPAW2020, and I would urge everyone to visit Sharewear’s Facebook page to learn more about current campaigns and their ongoing work. They have been busier than ever during lock-down and haven’t ever closed their doors to those in need.

They are also intending to expand into Sheffield and have a fundraising page to get it off the ground; this will benefit so many people, not just in Sheffield but it’s surrounding areas and ultimately the Nottingham area too.
https://www.avivacommunityfund.co.uk/sharewear-sheffield?fbclid=IwAR3vw9NZeU3hzWsJyk15YvygRt_eCo7iYfny31pZootxqQUbg-kUxbhGF_0

We had a fantastic conversation on Sharewear, sustainability, ethical shopping, and what effect this period of lock-down might have on us and our shopping habits in the future; lots to think about.

See you all again soon,
Vicky x

OUR BIG BIRTHDAY BASH!!

Well, that was fun!

Our 10th birthday party came and went in the blink of an eye, but we had a fab evening of celebration.

My rambling rundown of 10 years of meetings, events, talks and cakes, jogged a few memories and we chatted about some of the more notable occasions: The Great British Sexpert (nudge, nudge, wink, wink!), Robin Hood’s sword (nudge, nudge, wink, wink!), Sing Out Sister, Ghost Walks, Cave Talks, Garden Parties, yoga, Krav Maga, Jiu Jitsu, parades and marches, and many more.

Being a relatively young WI we were able to have all Presidents past and present in the room: Once I finished talking, our founding President Kerry gave us an insight into her reasons for starting City WI, and its highs and lows.  Then Sarah and Lucy (second and third Presidents) spoke about joining when the group almost folded at its 5-year mark. Obviously we are all so glad it didn’t close, where else would I be on a Wednesday evening?!

We were lucky enough to be joined by the Lord Major of Nottingham, Councillor Rosemary Healy, who gave some lovely words of encouragement. There was the potential for a chain-off between her and our Federation Chair Pam Stoddard, but as Pam didn’t wear hers so Rosemary won by default.  I loved Pam’s comment about wishing she could “bottle what we at City have”!  Helen, Helen and Ellie from the WI support team also came along; it was lovely to meet everyone and they are always welcome.  Of course, we were super pleased to see some of our past members (and current friends) along, it really was lovely to see everyone. 

Another highlight of the evening was the cutting of the beautiful cake, complete with everlasting singing birthday candle. I’m not sure what happened to it in the end, I think it might still be singing!

Members and visitors enjoyed a lovely spread befitting a 10 year old’s birthday party; tea cup trifles, cheese and pineapple on sticks, snacks, pop, a fabulous birthday cake (thanks to Laura) and a bit of something fizzy to toast the occasion.

For this our decennial anniversary (yes, I looked up that word) we’ve had beautiful limited edition pin badges created (thanks to Sarah) in the shape of our logo, which will be handed out to anyone who joins up in 2020 (while stocks last). Our guests were presented with one each; I hope they will wear them with pride.  I think everyone was happy with them!

We had many party games planned, but we chatted the night away and totally ran out of time; we will save them for another occasion, especially our “Pin the rosette on the Suffragette” game.

I would personally like to thank everyone on the committee who worked so hard and spent lots of their own time to pull everything.

Thank you all for coming along to celebrate with us, hopefully we’ll be able to do it again in 2030. 

With a skip, a rattle and a broom!

Traditionally our first meeting of the year has been an active one, normally led by a member’s family member or close friend. This year was no exception and our lovely Christine convinced her mum, along with a number of her Morris team to come along and put us through our folk dancing paces. The fabulous folk from Rattlejag Morris gave us a bit of history on costume, music and dance composition before leading us through some (apparently) simple dances. There was plenty of energetic skipping, dosey do-ing (do-si-does? Dos-a-dos? The internet does not appear to know) and some very natty moves involving brooms – my personal favourite being the aptly named jelly legs.

It was great to see so many returning members but also plenty of fresh faces and I’m sure 2020 is going to be a banner year for City WI. Next month sees us celebrate our 10th Birthday so make sure to join us to celebrate in proper 10 year old style as we crack out the jelly and ice-cream.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

November’s meeting brought a cornucopia of Christmas crafting! Pudding pom poms, origami party hats, napkin creations and clay gift tags were all on the menu and definitely got us into the spirit of the season.

By the time we got to our December meeting we were well ready for our festive fuddle. Stuffed on cheese straws, sausage rolls and scones we had a proper good ecclectic chat about, amongst other things, the earth’s depleting helium supplies, birthing stories, designing for women as well as men and death doulas. I couldn’t think of a better way of rounding out the year than a proper good chingwag with this lovely bunch of ladies.

Thanks for a fab 2019, can’t wait until 2020 shenanigans begin!

Gothic Goings On

For our Halloween themed October meeting we were visited by Madame Parboiled, also known as Kath George.

Kath is an amazing storyteller who told us about some of her own spooky experiences while growing up and while working at Wollaton Hall, Risley Hall and many other venues.
(I will not be going down into Wollaton Hall’s kitchens any time soon!)

Then we got onto the Gothic tales . . . horror filled stories of torture, ghouls and skulduggery . . . told with the lights off . . . eek!

The evening rounded off with drinks and Halloween themed cakes (see pictures), we had such a good time with Kath that we didn’t have time for anything else!

Hope everyone slept well, mwah-ha-ha-ha!!!

WI Day & First Responders

September’s meeting happened to fall on WI day and the meeting encapsulated everything that is great about this organisation. The WI aims to give women educational opportunites, build new skills, advance public health and promote civic responsibility. And boy did we learn some useful skills this evening. A lovely gentlman from the East Midlands Community Responders gave us a thorough overview of how to respond in an emergency situation before letting us loose on some Resusci Annies to practice our new found defibrilation skills. I feel a lot safer in these chaps hands now and I’m pretty sure I’m not getting the Bee Gee’s ‘Staying Alive’ out of my head any time soon.

Eco Autumn

After our headstart on the Morsbags in July, August & September saw our green crafting go into overdrive.

Our August meeting brought a new eco-craft into our lives – wax wraps, an environmentally friendly alternative to cling film and we had a go at beeswax and soy versions as well as bashing out a few more Morsbags. Taking a piece of scrap cotton fabric, sprinkling it with wax and then ironing between sheets of greaseproof paper it was almost too easy to be an eco-warrior, we soon had a veritable production line going. Most action my iron has seen in years!  

We then spent the next few weeks clearing out wardrobes and drawers and on a warm Sunday in early September we palled up with our local WI sisters in Beeston, Clifton and Arnold to put on a clothes swap at the Green Festival in the Arboretum. I think we can proudly say this was an unmitigated success, the stall did a roaring trade all day and along with £300 in donations we still had plenty of items leftover to donate to Sharewear at the end of the day. Well done women!

Green Fingers & Green Initiatives

A hot and sticky evening with a threatening sky was the setting for our July meeting. But thankfully the rain held off and we got down to the business of weeding, whacking in some begonias and indulging in some serious picnic treats. Our lovely pocket park at Barker Gate Rest Garden has been a labour of love over the past few years and under the gardening leadership of Sarah Manton even us not so green fingered women have discovered the beauty in some well laid borders and the satisfaction of tending a garden, even if we’re still not sure which are weeds and which are the plants we want to keep.

We rewarded our hard work with some cracking picnic grub (get the recipe for Sophie’s blondies if you can), followed by some serious doting on this little fellow:

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July also saw the start of our Morsbag pod. Morsbags (https://morsbags.com) are a movement to replace plastic bags with sustainable, reusable bags. The WI’s End Plastic Soup campaign called for action against microplastics in the oceans and Morsbags are just one small way we can make a difference. In anticipation of our stand at the Nottingham Green Festival (15th September – put it in your diaries now!) we’ve set up a production line of morsbags to pass out to visitors. We’ve made a fantastic start and intend to make more at our August meeting along with some food wax wraps.

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Cake, cake and then some more cake

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June’s meeting had us trying our hand at some guilt-free baking as we crafted some vegan, gluten free caramel slices. Chamiah Goulbourne from Sweetvibes_baking provided the expert guidance we needed to transform the magical concoction of dates, almonds, coconut oil, maple and cocoa into a proper delicious tasting millionaires style slice. Chamiah explained how she’d developed her recipes as she tried to cut refined sugar and dairy out of her diet for health reasons. The love she received for her baked treats encouraged her to turn it into a business and she now sells the treats all around Nottinghamshire.

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All this baking practice put us in good stead as we geared up for our annual cake sale at the Sherwood Art Week Secret Garden Craft Fair. Teaming up with the lovely ladies of Sherwood WI we baked our hearts out, donned our WI pinnies and our most winning smiles, and managed to sell out of cake by mid-afternoon.

Thanks to all who donated cake and time and for all those who helped in eating it!

Make Time For Mental Health

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Our May meeting started with a moving display of photos which our speaker –Thomas Griffith put together as part of The Tomorrow Project, a suicide prevention project established by Harmless in East Leake after the loss of a number of local men. Tom had produced portraits of a variety of people, all who had been effected by suicide in some way. He explained the stories behind the images and how he went about documenting those who chose to take part, creating an honest and open exhibition of not just loss but also hope.

The images prompted an intense discussion with members opening up about their own struggles with mental health and prompted talk of how we can support each other and those beyond WI.

Mental health awareness was a recent national WI campaign and after the main meeting discussion, talk moved on to the two new potential resolutions for 2019:

Stop the Decline in Local Bus Services

Don’t Fear the Smear

City WI decided to support both resolutions moving forward.

May was also our Annual Meeting so we finished with a vote on the committee. Our President – Lucy Petford was stepping down and Vicky Sorsby was unanimously voted in to take her place. Everyone extended their thanks to Lucy for all her work and we wish Vicky good luck in her new role.