Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Our 2013 Programme and new logo!

We are delighted with our new logo, we think it's really representative of what Seven Hills WI has evolved into and we love the modern yet retro feel to it!

Our programme for 2013 has also been announced and we think the content is the best yet...hope you agree! 

Our logo and programme were designed for us by Nick Payton (

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Jammin' with Gardeners' World

Our members get tasting
So, a while ago we were asked by the national WI Federation to make and taste the jam category for the Gardeners' World readers' 'Love Your Gluts' competition. Of course, we said yes and nine of our most fantastic jam makers - Kim Whelan, Vicky Porteous, Lauren Misiukanis, Dianna Coupe, Sarah Willoughby, Rachel Mead, Vickie Riley, Grace Tebbutt and Julie Colleyshaw - made the entries ready for us to taste at last week's meeting. 

A huge thank you to everyone who made jam, or stayed behind after the meeting to taste it :)

We can't tell you who won yet as it's being announced at the BBC Good Food Show next week but it's safe to say, we were unanimous on the winning jam and it was de-lic-ious!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

The one where we sing Jerusalem and talk stains…

SHWI ladies and Chella Quint

It could be argued that no Women’s Institute meeting would be complete without eating jam and singing Jerusalem, and at November’s meeting that’s exactly what we did. So far, so WI. Then along came native New Yorker, Chella Quint, with her insightful take on the unsanitary messages found in sanitary product advertising to talk to us about her Adventures in Menstruating


Now don’t get me wrong, I love jam and I LOVE (attempting) to sing Jerusalem, but it’s SHWI’s ability to embrace the traditional whilst also championing the new, the quirky and the challenging that keeps things interesting for me. 

Chella opened by asking each of us to rate how comfortable we feel talking about periods. Despite the prevalent view that we delicate females dare not mention periods in polite company for fear of turning the milk sour, it was interesting to see that most of us were actually, well, OK with it. 

Blanche, Anna and Ruth
model their Stains™

She then spoke with wit and passion about how advertisers have used fear (‘Leakage? Noooooo!’) and shame (‘Sshhhh! Do NOT mention the P word!’) to sell sanitary products throughout the decades. Her energy was infectious. A few well placed one-liners made me snort with laughter. These helped sweeten the pill, but Chella’s talk acted as a reminder to me that women’s issues are ever present and that we, as members of the Women’s Institute, are uniquely placed to actually be able to do something about it. So, sartorially speaking, I’ve been all over the Leak Chic look this week and have worn my removable Stain with pride #periodpositive. 

Lindsay, Vicky and Kim present Jean
from Haven with the cheque
November’s Annual Meeting also gives us an opportunity to reflect on the last year. Highlights were a visit from SHWI’s favourite crafty lady Mary-Jane Baxter and our cheeky look at the History of Knickers with the aptly named Janet Stain. Our spinoff groups – Supper Club, Book Club, Walking Group and the newly launched Dining Club – have really taken off thanks to the hard work and commitment of our members who set them up and run them. We hit new heights in the media when we were featured on the One Show (you woz robbed ladies). But perhaps our biggest achievement has been raising a significant sum for our chosen charity, Haven, through our stall at the Sheffield Food Festival and proceeds from the Pampered Chef night. It was a proud moment indeed when Lindsay presented them with a cheque for £795.77 which we know will be put to good use in helping to support victims of domestic abuse. 

So ends our penultimate meeting at St Matthew’s. Here’s looking forward to our December meeting and our new start at the Electric Works in 2013. 

Ruth x
SHWI Committee

Photos by Laura Bainbridge

Monday, 29 October 2012

Happy birthday to SHWI!

Happy birthday to us!
I had been really looking forward to SHWI's third birthday, and to celebrating it with my fellow WIers. Having joined the group in its second year, I've only been to one other birthday which has been great. It always seems to bring in loads of members and is a great chance to meet those I don't see so often. Plus it's a night which always highlights just how great the group of women in SHWI are! 

This year I arrived to a full house (or church hall...) with members clamouring to pay for another year's membership. This added to the excitement with thoughts of what is to come in the next year and the possibilities for new members, especially when our new venue for 2013 was announced as the Electric Works which will allow for a further 25 members. I can't wait to meet more fab women! We also received a free SHWI badge when we paid, so we could 'represent' (as the kids say nowadays....I think). 
Bollywood dancing with Sara from Underground Fitness

Once all the exciting news had been announced we all prepared for the activity of the night- Bollywood dancing lead by Sara from Underground Fitness on Ecclesall Road South. However, by this time, all of the curry we had ordered for after the dancing had arrived and was keeping warm around the room; I really just wanted to dive into that! 

The dance instructor began by splitting us up into two groups- I decided I'd go in the group for the more energetic dancers; being a runner I thought I wouldn't have any trouble keeping up! However, starting the first dance, there was no time for practice  We were plunged into a fast and bouncy Bollywood routine which involved much shaking of hips and bounding from side to side. It was really enjoyable, but I imagine more so for those who harboured some coordination (i.e. not me!). After watching the ladies in the 'easy' group (it didn't look easy!) I was very impressed with my fellow member's skills! It looked so good seeing such a big group dancing together- and trying hard at it aswell! 

After attempting a few more routines myself (there was no let up!) I decided to just enjoy mingling with other ladies whilst watching the dancing. It was a great atmosphere, and everyone seemed excited and happy to be part of something so lovely.
Vicky's amazing cake

Finally the announcement came for food to be served...I dived to the front of the queue and we all made our way along the fantastic looking curries and accompaniments from Darbaar in Hillsborough laid out before us. Every single dish was delicious, with something for everyone. And at only two quid each there were no complaints! 

I could easily take up the next 20 lines reviewing the food, but take it as this- it was so good I could have had thirds (I had seconds obviously...)

So after admiring the almost-too-beautiful-to-eat cake made by our very own Vicky Porteous (Mary Berry had better watch out) and bidding farewell til next time to my fellow SHWIers, I walked home, content and exhausted, but most of all, excited to experience the future of SHWI into 2013 and beyond...

Grace Tebbutt
Seven Hills WI Committee

Saturday, 13 October 2012

We've got a new home!

We are so delighted to announce that as from January 2013 Seven Hills WI has a new home - the Electric Works on Sheaf Street!

We have loved the past three years at our current venue, St Matthew's Hall, but as the hall is undergoing refurbishment next year and will be closed for some months we thought the time was right to find somewhere bigger and better!

The Electric Works is a wonderful venue which really fits in with what we are about. It is really close to the bus and train stations and our members can benefit from discounted car parking at the NCP on Pond Street or the train station Q Park. Our first meeting will be held at EW on Thursday 17 January 2013. Until then we will remain at St Matthew's. 

We are really looking forward to starting the new year in our lovely new home! :) 

See more about the Electric Works.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

The WI: Inspiring Women

Seven Hills WI's Lindsay, Kim
 and Vicky with Sue Gilroy
Each month the fabulous Seven Hills WI committee meet to discuss everything from forthcoming events to how we can make the next meeting extra special for our members, and this meeting was no exception! With Stephanie from Survivors of Depression in Transition (SODIT) and our surprise guest speaker, Sue Gilroy MBE paralympic table tennis superstar, joining us for our September meeting, we knew we would be in for a night to remember.

We began the night in true SHWI fashion, laying out our gingham tablecloths, hanging our handmade bunting and making sure the tea cups were ready for our members, only to find out that our meeting room no longer has disabled access as the ramps had been thrown away!

So in the style of Challenge Anneka, Sarah Willoughby and I ran around the streets of Sheffield to find a suitable venue, which was nearby and could accommodate 70 women at short notice.  The odds were against us, but we did it! (even if it did cost £60 for 30 minutes - The Circle obviously weren't feeling very charitable).

When we had finally settled into our temporary home for the for the first part of the meeting,Sue began her inspirational story. Sue is a busy Mum with two children, who works full-time as a primary school teacher in Barnsley.  During her talk Sue shared her personal pictures from the Victory Parade, discussed how she felt when she won gold at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester and her surprise when she found out she had been awarded an MBE.

And it didn’t end there...after Sue's talk we hotfooted it back to our usual meeting venue to hear Stephanie from SODIT's moving story of how she became involved with the charity, the services they provide to women and details of their drop in centre.

The WI slogan is 'Inspiring Women'...they certainly are and they definitely did at this meeting!

SHWI Secretary

Success at Sheffield Food Festival!

Our stall at Sheffield Food Festival (L-R SHWI members Hannah, Vicky, 
Lisa, Olivia, Sophie, Lizzie, Anna, Dianna, Laura and Lindsay)

We had a wonderful time at this year's Sheffield Food Festival!

We sold a variety of cakes, buns, biscuits and traybakes made by our members and held two raffles for a scrumptious cake made by Vickie and a delectable pie made by Dianna. For the second year running we also ran the 'Best in Show' competition, judging the best Victoria Sponge and jam/chutney/pickle. 

It was hard work but totally worth it when we did the final count and realised we made a whopping £716.15 for our charity of the year - Haven House!

Anna and Lisa had the tough 
challenge of judging 
the Best in Show entries...
A HUGE thank you to all our lovely members who baked or helped on the stall over the weekend and everyone who visited our stall or entered the 'Best in Show' competition. And of course a special thank you to the amazing spreadsheet wizard Anna Tebble who led on the organisation of our stall :)

Same again next year ladies?

Lindsay x

Monday, 27 August 2012

Seven Hills WI at Sheffield Food Festival 2012

SHWI members Blanche and Kim judge
the entries at last year's Sheffield Food 
Festival Best in Show competition

As many of you will remember, we held a stall at Sheffield Food Festival last year and ran the Best in Show competition. Our stall, selling homemade afternoon teas, and the competition was a huge success and we have been asked back to do it all again this year, hurrah!

We're doing things a little differently for 2012 and will be holding a traditional cake stall on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 September, from 10am until around 6pm (or until the cake runs out!) on both days. There will be a delightful assortment of cakes made by our wonderful members and a raffle on each day to win a whole cake made by one of our star bakers!

Our Best in Show competition will also be running once again, this time with two categories - Victoria Sponge and Jams/Chutneys. It costs £1 per entry, and all proceeds, along with all proceeds from our cake stall, will be going to our nominated charity Haven House, which provides temporary accommodation for women and children in Sheffield who find themselves homeless due to domestic abuse.

We raised £200 for charity last year - this was donated to the Sheffield Rape and Sexual Abuse Counselling Service (SRASACS) - and we hope that with your help we can beat that total and raise even more this year!

SHWI present SRASACS with £200 made at the 2011
Sheffield Food Festival. 
(L-R SHWI Treasurer Vicky, Aletheia from 
SRASACS, SHWI President Lindsay and Secretary Kim)
So, how can you get involved? Everyone loves cake so come along to our stall in the Winter Gardens on 15 or 16 September (or both if you really love cake!). We'd also love it if you could enter our Best in Show competition, it's all done in the name of fun but there are a few rules which you can find below. 

Here's to a wonderfully successful Sheffield Food Festival 2012.

Seven Hills WI x


Seven Hills WI - Best in Show. Information Rules and Regulations
Jen at last year's Food Festival

1.    Competition Entry
a.    All entries must be submitted with a completed entry form. Forms can be downloaded here and emailed prior to competition date or submitted on the day along with product.

b.    £1 per entry, payable on arrival with product – all entry money will be donated to Haven House -  a registered charity that provides temporary supported accommodation for women and children who find themselves homeless due to domestic abuse.

c.    All entries must be bought to the Festival Kitchen, top of Fargate, City Centre on Sunday 16th September between 10.00 – 11.30 hours.

d.    All entries must be presented ‘ready to judge’.

2.    Entries
a.    Victoria Sandwich: cake can be any size (within reason!) All cakes MUST be filled with jam and with a choice of cream and fruit, presented boxed or plated. Entry will be judged on presentation, appearance, suitability and, of course taste, texture and flavour. Points will also be awarded for individual flair and creativity.

b.    Jarred Goods:
i.    Pickle/Relish/Chutney: presented in a clear glass jar and judged on appearance, suitability, taste, texture and flavour
ii.    Jam/preserves/curds: presented in a clear glass jar and judged on appearance, suitability, taste, texture and flavour

3.    Judging
a.    Judging will take place between 11.30 – 14.30 hours on Sunday 16 September

b.    There will be three judges overall; Seven Hills WI will nominate two judges from their               members, a third judge will be nominated by Eat Sheffield

c.    All judges decisions are final

d.    Winners will be announced at 14.40 hours on Sunday 16 September in the Festival Kitchen, top of Fargate, City Centre

e.    First, second and third places will all be awarded with Rosettes

f.    Any winners not present will receive their rosettes by post within seven days

4.    Collection
a.    Packaging, boxes etc. may be collected by entrants between 15.00 -16.00 hours.

b.    Any items not collected will be disposed of.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

A night at the (vegetable) theatre...

What I love about being in the WI is getting to experience things that otherwise I might not watching grown women fall on their behinds during a highly competitive round of musical chairs, or learning a belly dance routine to Alexandra Burke's Bad Boys. 

June's meeting was no exception and I'd been looking forward to Madame Zucchini's Vegetable Theatre, ever since I'd heard it mentioned in a committee meeting last year. 

Theatre, vegetable style!
The lady herself looked like a green goddess, in a mossy velvet dress with sparkly emerald glitter round her eyes and a halo of knitted vegetables. To warm us up (not that we needed it, apparently) Madame Z had us calling out vegetables in alphabetical order. As we worked from avocado to zucchini, special attention was given to root veg favourites parsnips and turnips - our guest speaker demanded we call out each word loudly, in unison, and I can only hope that the choir practice next door had wrapped up by then. 

Once we'd finished our appetising alphabet (and been suitably impressed by our treasurer Vicky Porteous's knowledge of exotic veg) we moved on to the main event- the Vegetable Theatre. What better production for a group of cultured ladies (and Mme Z's first female only gig) than the romantic tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, performed by garden produce. 

Madame Zucchini kitted herself out with a strap on stage fashioned from a banana box, worn around the neck. Our leading lady was Cheryl Kohlrabi, looking fabulous with her shocking "hair"-do, most of which was flung off during the action. Romeo (a dashing Peter Parsnip) struggled to get on stage (perhaps nervous of all us women) and lost an eye in the process. The passion between the two lovers was palpable..."what light yonder breaks..something like that" called out Romeo to his edible paramour. 

The play went on, with a spectacular finale, involving a devastated Paris, crying over his (seemingly) dead child bride-to-be. The scene was acted powerfully by Oliver Onion,whose dramatic exit from the stage culminated in being thrown against my leg. But that's the risk you take sitting on the front row. 

Of course, we all know how the play ends, but you've never experienced Shakespeare properly until you've seen it done with vegetables. 

Madame Zucchini is naturally funny and it is always a joy watching someone perform when they clearly love their job. By the end of the performance, the room was in stitches, with several ladies crying with laughter. 

Having grown up around vegetables (her father was a fruit and veg merchant), Madame Zucchini feels the need to be Sheffield's only vegetable entertainer was always in her -but didn't fully realise this till a cabaret night inspired her to perform. If pushed, her favourite veggie is the potato, but she is partial to a courgette - there is no veg she doesn't like. 

The Spice Girls!
The night ended with everyone being invited to make their own vegetable creatures, from the baskets of veg and cocktail sticks on the tables. I was able to watch some women create a lovely Queen Elizabeth, complete with cauliflower hair and courgette corgi. But the winners of the evening were the table who created a compost friendly version of the Spice Girls.

So overall, a wonderful, hilarious, random evening. Thank-you Madame Zucchini!

Laura Bainbridge, Assistant Treasurer.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Mary Jane Makes...a trip to Sheffield's largest WI!

Lovely Mary Jane 
With the Diamond Jubilee on the horizon, it seemed only fitting that we welcome Queen of Millinery, Mary Jane Baxter, to our meeting so she could demonstrate hats and fascinators worthy of any royal garden party. The journalist-turned-champion-of-make-do-and-mend told us how she gave up an impressive role as a foreign correspondent for the BBC to pursue her love of making hats. This gave rise to an interesting discussion, as many of the women in the room identified with the yearning to give space to their creative flair whilst managing busy, demanding lives.

Through stories of her Newsnight tour of the UK, which featured Seven Hills WI when we were just starting out in October 2009, Mary Jane gave testimony to the resurgence of crafting. Now busy publicising her first book, Chic on a Shoestring, she told us how she continued to find inspiration in the skills passed from her mother, vintage fashion, flea markets and, significantly, from young women who were swapping throwaway fashion for individual, hand-customised items.
Our VP Ruth in a MJ Baxter hat!

Showcasing her fantastic creations, which are typically displayed in the likes of Harrod’s and Liberty, Mary Jane gave us tips on imitating expensive designs at a fraction of the cost by salvaging, snipping and stitching. Her simple-to-make accessories, such as an emergency hat made from a cornflake box, were an inspiration to us all.

Proving that the trend towards sharing traditional skills is continuing, we also welcomed members of the new Crosspool WI . Their successful start, similar to the one we experienced two and a half years ago, just goes to show that the revival of the WI is certainly not just a fad.

Thank you Mary Jane for visiting us once again! We look forward to welcoming you back when your next book is published.

Jennifer x (Programme and Events Co-ordinator)

For more information about Mary Jane Baxter, go to 

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Ready, Steady, Cook!

Jo (centre) gets the challenge underway
Anyone who likes cooking will love Pampered Chef products and since we are a WI filled with cooks, bakers and foodies this meeting was a popular one!

We were joined by Jo Muscroft from Pampered Chef who brought along a selection of wonderful products but the twist was we actually got to try them out while making a Florentine Chicken Ring and icing some mini cookies.

It was a Ready, Steady, Cook style challenge as members of our group were pitted against each other to make the Florentine Chicken Ring using Pampered Chef products such as the food chopper, stoneware and grater. It was such a quick, easy and delicious recipe, made up of chicken, spinach, peppers, cheese, mayo and croissant dough (a wonderous thing!) and it looked really impressive, definitely one to bring out at a dinner party!

Next it was time to put the Pampered Chef icing tube up against a gold old fashioned piping bag to ice some mini cookies. My team had the tube and I have to admit, a piping bag is easier, which was proven when the other team!

Chicken ring...yum!
If your mouth is still watering at the mention of the Florentine Chicken Ring, take a look at Jo's blog for this recipe and more. You can also follow Jo on Twitter @pamperedsheff for more tasty ideas.

Jo made lots of sales on the night which is great for SHWI as 10% goes to our nominated charity for this year, Haven.

Next month we've got the fabulous Mary Jane Baxter coming up from the Big Smoke to talk to us about her new book, Chic on a Shoestring, can't wait!

See you all there!

Monday, 19 March 2012

SHWI loves tea!

I love Tea. No, I really love Tea – so when I heard that Seven Hills WI had invited Kirsty from Teabox Online to our March meeting I was over the moon.

Tea for me is the elixir of life itself – without a hot (oversized) mug of Yorkshire’s finest brew in the morning I am incapable of being a useful member of society. It’s a drink for all seasons – warming in Winter, and thirst quenching in Summer. And so many different varieties! I cannot remember a time that I have ever turned a cup of tea down, often rushing to finish the one I have to accept happily a fresh brew – me and my Dad share the same love of tea and have the kettle on constantly when I visit!

But – back to the meeting...Kirsty; accompanied by her Mum and Tea making assistant extraordinaire; Ann – arrived at March’s meeting to a flurry of activity – an excited hum around the room as the throng of ladies caught up on the last month’s news.

Highlights from News and Views – and an exciting up date on out Pot painting plans for May were delivered.
Exciting times ahead for SHWI include our Fantastic Cookbook – featuring the best of the SHWI baking skills and accompaniments too! The sad news that the Denman weekend in May was fully booked was balanced by the joy of another announced for December. After a short interval including a number of members being interviewed by Mark Ansell of BBC Radio Sheffield we gathered for the main event.

Kirsty began with an introduction to her business. Started in 2010 by tea lover Kirsty Munro, Tea Box is a loose leaf tea business based in Sheffield. The aim is to constantly evolve their tea offering, embracing traditional tea tasting values as well as innovative ‘outside the box’ flavours and combinations. Quality is of the utmost importance to them and to ensure the highest standards, all of the tea is packed and blended by hand.

We learned that Tea had been drunk in Britain for over 350 years, however according to legend, Tea was first discovered by Chinese Emperor Shen Nung in 2737 BC. Tea was popularised in Britain following the marriage of Charles II to Catherine of Braganza – the Kate Middleton of her day – who as a Portuguese Princess was partial to a cuppa and very soon the middle and upper classes took to quaffing the fashionable import to keep up with the Royal trend.

Kirsty explained that very much like wine – all Tea comes from the same core ingredient – the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant, an evergreen, tropical plant from the Camellia family. The tea plants are cultivated for easy plucking at around 1 metre high – however if left to their own devices they would be quite a lot taller.

The tea leaves are then taken through a different process depending on the type of tea required. For the delicately flavoured white tea – the leaves are simply dried then steamed. For the robust flavours of Black tea the leaves are dried, rolled, fermented, left to oxidise and fired to create the dark tannin rich tea that we are more familiar with.

With introductions complete the tasting began.

The first tea, the beautifully named, Chinese Silver Needle – clear with fine silvery flecks, little to no aroma but a lovely delicate tea taste.

The second, An Oolong Tea – which is dried, bruised, dried, and pan fired – unfortunately never made it to our table. But after a sniff of the wet leaves (lovely!) you could pick up a much stronger smell.

The Third, a Green Tea, named Chinese Gunpowder for its dark coloured appearance, had a slightly seaweedy after taste! It reminded me of sushi – and would probably make a nice accompaniment to it.

Fourth – a first flush Darjeeling from India – the first flush means that it is the first crop from a new plant – and is often called the Champage of Tea. A much more rich traditional tea taste from this and quite dry.

Fifth – a bright pink number, Strawberry Punch – an infusion – that contains no tea, but a hand blend of hibiscus, rosehip and strawberry pieces amongst other things. Lovely and fruity and when held on the tongue really revealed its full flavour.

Finally – a mystery tea. An expectant hum grew as the tea was handed round. A nod to check all had the opportunity to taste. And Boom – the code word of Sausages was me!! With assistance from my table mates Hannah and Stella we had deduced the flavour of the infusion. Rhubarb and Custard – I confidently announced – and we were right! And the prize – a beautiful hand crafted badge with a teapot motif which Stella took, a Teabox mug for Hannah and a sample of the mystery tea for me.

What a fantastic evening – and I finally won something!

Excited about next month and our ‘baked goods’ pot luck supper and cookbook taster – along with the Pampered Chef party …. Now … where’s my cheque book?!

Much love,

Sarah, Webmistress x

Monday, 20 February 2012

SHWI talks sex!

I've started trying to write this blog post about five times now, so I'm really wondering why I volunteered to be the guest blogger for this month's SHWI meeting! So, after so many failed attempts I'm just going to dive right in and hope that no one looks at my internet browsing history. I'll also give you a heads up that this post, especially some of the links, might not be suitable for the workplace but I'll leave that to your better judgement...

The meeting kicked off in traditional fashion with plenty of tea and cakes (yum!) before Lindsay went through some key pieces of information from the last committee meeting. There are lots of exciting things going on at SHWI at the moment , with the Sheffield food festival, our amazing cookbook, bunting and charity nominations to pick out just a few!

Our guest speaker was Liz Wilson (who had really fab leopard-print tights on by the way!) from the Centre for HIV and Sexual Health was at the meeting to talk to us about women's sexual pleasure.... I was already a bit nervous about what I'd let myself in for and I have to say my trepidation only increased when one of the ladies on my table said "oh my goodness, she has love eggs and lube".

That said, Liz put us all at ease immediately when she told us we wouldn't be recreating any scenes from Fried Green Tomatoes - phew!! Liz gave us a brief history of women's sexual pleasure (I had no idea the Kama Sutra is as old as it is!) before kicking off a discussion about our perceptions of women's sexual pleasure. It was really interesting to hear different views from lots of the women at the meeting, and also really funny. My favourite anecdote was about an awful, and completely useless, sex education video which I also remember being subjected to when I was about 11!

Liz showed us a really funny Friends clip; check out the clip if you can as I won't be able to do it justice, but basically Chandler asks Rachel and Monica for advice about how to please a woman and Monica draws him a diagram and gives him some tips. This led to a discussion about what things we thought affected women's sexual pleasure. There were some really thoughtful and serious points raised but again I have to share the funniest - Xbox!! Liz also introduced us to Geena the 'gina. Yup, you read that right!! Geena is a fold up vagina in a box and a very useful tool for explaining female anatomy. We didn't get to meet him, but there's also a George the ejaculating penis apparently....

If you hadn't guessed by now the talk and discussion was only going one way; how we thought you could increase women's sexual pleasure. I'm not going to go into the ins and outs (no pun intended!) of what was discussed but I do want to share the highlight of my evening. Liz was showing a selection of... items, specifically a picture of a famous model of said item, when someone (who shall remain nameless!) declared that theirs broke within a day! Naturally, we all jumped to the same conclusion but apparently it was not from overuse.

I'm pretty sure I can speak for everyone there (and it was another packed meeting!) when I say it was a really fun, vibrant and enjoyable meeting - and also a lot less embarrassing than I'd expected. Stay tuned for next month's blog post though as we will be doing some tea tasting and I'm already really excited as I love tea!!

Leanne, SHWI committee

Saturday, 21 January 2012

SHWI is pants!

It was a busy meeting...
we only just had enough chairs!
So, Thursday the 19th January was the new year return of the wonderful Seven Hills Women's Institute meetings, and what a meeting it was!

After becoming fully booked for membership for 2012 even before the first meeting was held, we now have 101 members in total. I was a little apprehensive as to how we would all fit in the meeting hall, but as ladies gradually filtered in up to the start of the meeting, a lovely atmosphere of old friends catching up alongside new members plunging into a probably very scary but exciting organisation developed. 

Several people (including myself) bought some fantastic looking baking; from Vicky's 'smores', a lemon drizzle cake and my own Quality Street muffins (an attempt to use up the last of the Christmas chocolate) and people buzzed around the tea counter in anticipation for the speaker. All the baking was eaten - something that doesn't happen that often- and we even ended up not having enough chairs for the amazing turn out! The bustling atmosphere meant that new members were able to feel much more included and join one of the already filled tables.

After a great catch up presentation by the committee (lots to go through, but this was necessary so everyone knows how we function!), there were lots of people wanting to get involved in the other subgroups such as supper club, knitting club and the walking group - this year should be fun filled and busy for all involved! The enthusiasm and excitement will also hopefully mean lots of opportunities to raise plenty of cash for our nominated charity who will be revealed next meeting, and the Food Festival will hopefully have plenty of baking and helping hands for it to be an even bigger success this year.
Janet with some Queen Victoria-sized

As we all sat down after the 'interval' we excitedly waited for the speaker to arrive - Janet Stain - who was to speak to us about the 'history of briefs'. Everyone had been waiting to see exactly how she would approach such a niche subject but we needn't have doubted her. The talk was ingenious, providing us with true history as well as some fantastically entertaining tales of Queen Victoria's knicker collection, woollen pants of the 1940s, school pants complete with a pocket for your tissue and the emergence of the very sexy french knicker in the 1920s. The speaker herself had amassed an incredible collection of undergarments ranging from huge split bloomers to delicately laced wedding pants, some dating back to the Victorian age for us to ogle and laugh at. It was great to have someone with a bit of fire in her to relate to us all, and she certainly made us laugh (as well as telling me off for using my phone to take photos!).

What an incredible meeting to kick the year off - here is to a truly great 2012 for SHWI!

Grace Tebbutt, SHWI Committee

Monday, 2 January 2012

December meeting: festive fun and 101 members!

Our last meeting of 2011 was a busy one...we opened membership up to everyone at the meeting and were shocked by just how many new people turned up to sign up for 2012 - We signed up more than 40 new people at the meeting taking our member total to 101! The bad news is that makes us full so we can't sign up any more members this year. We've been overwhelmed by the continued interest in SHWI and from the amount of emails and messages we've had, we could probably have signed up 200 members this year but unfortunately our venue is just not big enough!

For those lucky people who managed to bag a space, we've got an exciting year planned, starting with 'A Brief History of Knickers' talk on Thursday 19 January.

As last year, we are operating a guest list for non-members to attend, this costs £3.50 per meeting. We have limited space due to venue capacity restrictions so can only offer a spot to those on the guest list, email Katie at to get a place on the list (we operate this on a first come first served basis). NON-MEMBERS: PLEASE DO NOT COME ALONG TO A MEETING UNLESS YOU HAVE A CONFIRMED GUEST LIST SPACE, IF YOU DON'T HAVE A SPACE YOU WILL BE TURNED AWAY, SORRY!

As well as signing up all our new members (good work Vicky and Leanne!) we had mulled wine and mince pies, my annual quiz and secret Santa, a great way to see out 2011!

I hope you all had a very happy Christmas and I look forward to seeing you at a meeting soon.:)