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.

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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:


July also saw the start of our Morsbag pod. Morsbags ( 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 IMG_0105 (1).jpegset 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.04b7f617-c919-4fae-951b-e0483af689d8 (1).jpg

Cake, cake and then some more cake


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.


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


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.

Our Literary City

Nottingham has such a rich history of literature – Byron, D H Lawrence, Georgina Wilding, Sandeep Mahal – the latter being Director of Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature and our speaker for April. Sandeep talked to us about her personal journey and discussed her deep appreciation for local libraries – the importance they hold in the local community and the power books have to change people’s lives.


We wait with anticipation for Big City Reads, when copies of 4 books that represent the diversity of our city will be distributed throughout Nottingham in weird and wonderful places.

Marching On!

2019 is marching on, and we are lightly jogging along to keep up with it!

We were joined at our March meeting by the sporting, musical and journalistic legend, Andy Afford. He shared some wonderful anecdotes and fascinating insight into the world of print journalism, and the battle that is going on under our noses to grab our attention at the newsstands.


The effort and planning that goes into creating a magazine cover is something that I’m sure few of us pay attention to and yet we are influenced by it every time we pop into a newsagent. We looked at some of the most memorable and provocative covers throughout history, and discussed what it was about them that drew people in.


This was scattered with some hilarious tales of award ceremonies, athletic achievements and the poker prowess of a certain sporting legend. It was a fun and thought-provoking evening, which has ensured none of us will look at a magazine in the same way again!

It’s a February Festival!

It’s been a flurry of performance shenigans in February for the City WI massive!  First up was Nottingham’s Light Night, when we pitched up to the Curious Parade at Sneinton Market and Vicky and Laura tag-teamed it as the Curious Peacock!  It was a totally magical night and sooooo busy with thousands of Nottingham families out on our streets to enjoy the illuminations!

Curious Peacock

Then, at February’s meeting, Nikki from Artbeat put us through our Samba-style drumming paces with a fabulously fun workshop!  None of us had really drummed before, but Nikki was fantastic and we ended up creating an awesome, rowdy rhythm in the room (I’m sure the Capoeira group upstairs were delighted!)
City WI Drumming    City WI Drumming
The beginnings of the most wondrous WI carnival troupe, we’re sure!

Starting 2019 Right!

We got the year off to a great and well start with a yoga session, led by Leonie from YogaBellies Nottingham.


YogaBellies run beautiful (and wonderfully colour coordinated!) Yoga classes that are accessible to women of all life stages, shapes, sizes and beginners are warmly welcomed. The class that we were treated to was the ‘Luna’ class, which is usually run on Sunday evenings at the Holistics Hub in Nottingham. We had a wonderful hour session which consisted ofa beautiful candlelit flow to set us all up for a calm, positive week ahead. The level of relaxation that we all achieved made us agree that it was worth venturing into the cold of January for!



It was exactly what was needed for holiday indulgences, and has got us looking forward to what else 2019 will bring!

Namaste x



Winter with City WI

The nights may be drawing in, but our spirits are still high at City WI! We started the winter months by taking a stroll with The Original Nottingham Ghost Walk and hearing all about the spectral sightings that Nottingham has to offer – and also learning about the more macabre history of our city. It was the perfect way to set the scene for the Halloween month!

Outside of our monthly meetings, we were asked if we would be able to send anyone to20181204_205013.jpg help judge the cider competition at the Robin Hood Beer and Cider Festival. A short scuffle ensued, but Nicky and Jess managed to free up some time in their week to go and judge cider alongside Robin Hood himself! They spent the afternoon with some wonderful cider connoisseurs and some equally wonderful ciders!

Our November meeting found us getting into the festive spirit early by making some felt wreaths under the guidance of our very own Sarah Manton. It was a craft session for all levels and helped spark some Christmas cheer, which has geared us up for our Christmas party on 12th December – come along and join us for food and merriment!


Crochet with April Towriess – February 2018 Meeting

Valentine’s Day!  It was bitterly cold and an evening when one should traditionally be with their sweetheart, but a couple of hours out with WI chums is ok, isn’t it?  We were treated to an evening of expert hooking by Nottingham’s premiere crochetiere, April Towriess, who spun her personal crochet journey yarn beautifully and then led us through creating some beautiful green crocheted hearts to ‘Show the Love’ and our WI involvement in the Climate Change Coalition.

City WI Green Hearts (April Towriess)

City WI Green Hearts

April is involved with Bulwell Arts Festival and is looking for participants to contribute to her wonderful ‘Joining Lines’ project.  We’ll certainly be joining in here at City WI and you can find details about how to create your own crochet doily and join in the collaborative artwork here.

Joining Lines Project

Nottingham Light Night was even colder!  That didn’t deter the hardy women of City WI commemorating 100 years since some women were granted the right to vote.  Two willow lantern Suffragettes welcomed visitors to Barker Gate Rest Garden, our adopted park, in Nottingham’s Lace Market, and the number ‘100’ was picked out in lights on the lawns, surrounded by glittered glass jars and lanterns decorated with the names of Nottingham suffragettes.

City WI Lantern Suffragettes

Our March meeting will see us welcoming visitors from Vietcentric Vietnamese Community Centre to talk to us about their work and specifically, their wonderful Food Tour!   Details on our Facebook page here.  Please join us!


Self Defence – January 2018 Meeting

Brazilian Jujitsu - Jan 2018_preview

2018 is now truly under way. We’ve had our first meeting of the year were local Mel Doran was on hand to teach some basic self defence. This lesson helped give a confidence boost to many of our ladies in their ability to defend themselves against any unwanted advances.  We all truly enjoyed our time on the mats learning the beginner steps in defending one’s personal space. Many thanks to Mel for her break through lesson!

February’s meeting will be Wednesday Feb 14th and will feature April Towriess sharing a little about her love of crochet.  She will be leading us through her personal pattern for a beautiful green heart, so that we can ‘Show The Love’ and our support for the WI’s climate change campaign around  for Valentine’s Day.

Check out our meetings page to see the events for this years’ program. Hope to see you there!