Friday, 13 December 2013

SHWI say it with flowers

Tracey from Campbell's Flowers demonstrates

Even though we’re hurtling towards Christmas, it’s the start of the new year for Seven Hills WI! We’ve entered our fifth year (I know, I can scarcely believe it either) and that means that the third Thursday in November saw us hold our Annual Meeting. It also saw members queuing in droves to renew their membership. We began the meeting by naming those members interested in taking up committee roles – and much to the relief of our willing volunteers, there were no objections!

Exciting news about our all our upcoming events, including the fabulous-sounding Christmas party followed. We also heard that our charity calendars are selling like hot cakes which was fitting since Robin Jeeps, trustee of our chosen charity, came along. Robin was kind enough to share with us why PACT is so important to him and to other parents whose children have battled with cancer, as members listened attentively. Then our photographer, Laura Bainbridge, snapped away as he accepted a cheque for the money we’ve raised so far this year. 

Kim, Vicky and Jen give Robin from PACT our cheque

In our looking back at the past twelve months, we remembered our meetings, outings and first sighting of the helter skelter at Electric Works! Then, all the women in the room stood and joined in for that great WI tradition – a rousing rendition of Jerusalem.

Next, Tracey from Campbell’s Flowers was introduced and explained that she’d be showing us how to complete a hand-tied bouquet, before giving us all the opportunity to make our own wrist corsage. The room hushed to complete silence. Believe me, this could-have-heard-a-pin-drop atmosphere is a rare occurrence at SHWI and a blatant sign that we were utterly engrossed as we watched Tracey work. The result was a natural-looking, vintage-inspired bouquet of seasonal flowers – and a round of applause for Tracey. The lucky winner of our raffle got to take the bouquet home, but none of us went empty handed. We had a demo on how to make a simple-looking wrist corsage, followed by Tracey and her daughter dishing out flowers and ribbons so that each of us could have a go. Some women were undoubtedly naturals, whilst others (me included) could probably do with a tincy bit more practice.

Our members make some lovely wrist corsages
As we all prepared to head out, adorned with our corsages, we were reminded that next month, people on the waiting list can also sign up for membership next year. It’s a meeting not to be missed - and not just because of Secret Santa or President Lindsay’s infamous annual quiz. WI member and force to be reckoned with, Liz Mellors, joins us to talk about the award-winning women’s development programme, Springboard.

Right, I’m off to write my Christmas card list….

Jennifer (Vice President)

Saturday, 16 November 2013

The SHWI 2014 charity calendar

Look how pretty it is! 
So, you’re interested in our lovely charity calendar? That’s great news!
We’ve spent the past few months creating the 2014 calendar which features our members at some of Sheffield's best loved landmarks, including the City Hall, the Leadmill, the Cutting Edge sculpture, the Lyceum and the Peace Gardens fountains, and we are really proud of the result!

The calendar is raising money for the Parents' Association of Children with Tumours and Leukaemia (PACT), a charity based at Sheffield Children's Hospital which supports families whose children have been diagnosed with cancer. We chose to support PACT this year after the charity helped our President Lindsay Garfitt's three-year-old niece Isabelle who was diagnosed with a rare form of childhood cancer, Neuroblastoma, in July 2012.

The calendar photography was done by SHWI member and talented photographer Laura Bainbridge and the cover design was done for free by Daniel Rose of DRD Studio

Local companies Apollo, BAPP, Beer Central, Boudoir, Dale Hirst, Exposed, Foster's Dental, Gregory's Haulage and Sheffield Signcraft also got on board to sponsor the printing of the calendar, meaning that every penny from sales can go to PACT.

One half of the Calendar Team, Jen and Kim 

The money bit
Each calendar costs just £10 and you can feel good knowing every penny is going to help children with cancer and their families.

If you’d like us to post your calendar to you, the cost is £12. The extra is to cover the envelope and postage.

The calendar is limited edition (and we've already sold more than half!) so if you want one, please act fast before they all go! Simply email us at with your name and how many calendars you’d like (plus your address if you want it posting) and we will reply with our bank details so you can transfer the money. Please ensure you use your name as the reference when making an online payment.

Your calendar will be posted via Royal Mail second class once payment is received. If you’d like to collect your calendar from us instead, please let us know when you email us. You can collect from the Chapeltown or Meersbrook areas or from Electric Works on our meeting nights (Thursday 21 November and Thursday 19 December from 7pm to 7.30pm). Please note if collecting, we must receive cleared payment beforehand (either bank transfer or cash on collection).

SHWI goes to West Egg...

Anna and Laura with the Showroom chefs

Another month, another SHWI Dining Club..But not just any Dining Club! November saw a return visit to The Showroom, noted for being Sheffield's friendly independent cinema, but also has a fabulous café bar with chef Simon Ayres in charge of the eats. After the success of our bespoke Tudor themed banquet earlier in the year, we went back for a Great Gatsby themed affair.

The regular customers must have thought they'd entered a time-warp as the bar area filled up with ladies in furs, pearls and feathers, and gentlemen sporting trilbys, spatz and braces. Seriously – everyone looked amazing and I agree with someone's comment that we should probably dress like it's the 1920s all the time.

1920s girls

Once seated in the café area, we were treated to an array of beautifully crafted canapés – lobster croquettes, egg and cress sandwiches, bread and butter folds, and fungi flatbreads with quails eggs. They were all beautiful and incredibly moreish.

Next up, we were served potato and leek velouté, with a garlic toast topped with cavier. I've never drunk cold soup from a teacup before – but if it's always going to be that good, I'll happily do it again!
The fish course was a sharing platter of Caesar salad - seared, rare tuna steak, fresh anchovies, shavings of Parmesan, crisp little gem lettuce, chunky croutons and a tasty, tangy dressing. On the side we were treated to a shrimp cocktail – with proper little brown shrimps in a piquant pink sauce. Non-meat eaters could have a green, fresh carpaccio of kohlrabi, with a wasabi aoli and plenty of sweet broad beans.

So far – soooooo good!

As I sat there with a glass of Pinot Grigio, looking at everyone enjoying themselves, I was suddenly interrupted by my Dining Club partner Anna Pilson – who, whilst being pescetarian herself, was so excited (on my behalf) at the sight of the meat course coming out, had come to tell me to prepare myself. It's always good to get a warning on a meat feast – it gives me chance to get the camera out. And what a sight is was - a steaming mound of hot, Bourbon pork shoulder, with crispy roast potatoes, carrots and romanesco broccoli, and gravy. Oh, the gravy... At the Tudor Banquet, I may have drunk a small jug of gravy to myself. I'm a Northern lass. I love gravy. This time round, it being a more classy affair, I drank the gravy from a wine glass. (As you can imagine, I was a little thirsty later in the evening, but I don't regret a drop of it.)

The vegetarian option of braised globe artichoke, roast garlic and spelt risotto with veg friendly Parmesan seemed to go down okay – but I would have covered it in gravy.
By this time, I was getting a little full. But the food was coming out at a nice leisurely pace, which allowed a little breathing space before the dessert trolley was rolled out.

I was expecting mini bite-sized versions of desserts – but no. It was massive, actual portions in amounts we were never going to be able to finish. With this in mind, I saw no problem in having three different desserts. I asked the chef, Simon, which he would go for - raspberry meringue roulade was the answer, with a cheeky chocolatey brandy snap (cream filled of course) on the side. A jokey comment of 'if there's any chocolate cake left over, I'll take some off your hands' was met with the offering of a slice of delicious ganache covered cake.

I think some tea and coffee may have been offered around at the end of the evening – but by then I was in the middle of a gravy overdose and was trying to look gracious as everyone thanked me for organising the event.

So, I would like to thank everyone for coming. I want to thank everybody for getting into the spirit of the evening and getting glammed up. I want to thank the new faces and prospective SHWI members for coming along and being so friendly. I want to thank The Showroom for being so accommodating (again). I want to thank Anna P for doing the boring bit of Dining Club – the spreadsheets and the banking. And I want to thank anybody who has come to a SHWI Dining Club meal. We've been doing this for over a year now, and genuinely believed it would be seven girls sat around a table in various Sheffield eateries. So to have 40 people turn up looking like the cast of Chicago last night was tremendous fun. Here's to another year of local food fun!

Laura Bainbridge
SHWI Committee and Dining Club

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Out on the wily, windy moors at the SHWI Getaway

Inspirational women fancy dress, from Anneka Rice to the Virgin Mary...
So I wrote this having been back from the inaugural SHWI Getaway for about 24 hours. I spent spent pretty much all of those hours (and the ones since) looking at photos of the Getaway, talking to fellow SHWI-ers about the Getaway, chuckling to myself about the Getaway, pondering wistfully about the fact that I am no longer at the Getaway and of course, watching Jane Eyre! Sigh. But rather than moping to myself, I thought I should instead try to capture the experience for posterity in this blog entry (well, it’s practically a love letter to the weekend really, sob).
We all set off in convoy on Friday from a very rainy and windy Sheffield and headed to West Yorkshire to Currer Laithe farm, the venue for our weekend of discussion, culture and refinement (!). Our forthcoming pot luck buffet, the company of SHWI ladies and a roaring fire certainly constituted a welcome arrival (particularly those who had braved the cobbled hill of doom en route). We then spent a sedate (ish) evening of chatting and laughing together as outside the wind howled across the Bronte-esque moors surrounding us.

The Bronte talk
That bit of GCSE A grade-standard descriptive writing leads us nicely to the activity planned for us the next day. We headed across to the picturesque town of Haworth to indulge in a spot of sightseeing at the Bronte Parsonage (although, to be honest, this was almost derailed by our spotting of Oscar, Haworth’s premier celebrity cat, and our subsequent feline-worship). But, eventually, to the Bronte parsonage we headed. We first embarked on a self-guided tour of the parsonage, which involved actually being in the very rooms where ‘Jane Eyre’ and ‘Wuthering Heights’ were written (eek) and er, getting overexcited by bonnets. We were then privileged enough to receive our own private talk about the history of the Brontes by a very knowledgeable and fascinating member of the Parsonage staff. In it we learned (apart from the history of the Bronte family) that poor Charlotte Bronte had bad teeth, Anne Bronte’s favourite holiday destination was Scarborough and that Lord Byron was FIT. I would highly recommend planning a talk if you visit the Parsonage, it was excellent. We followed this up by visiting the church where all of the Brontes are buried (except Anne), having a nice cuppa stop in a local craft fayre, sampling the local sweets and buying Haworth out of jewellery (cough, cough Zoe Loveday!). 

Before heading home, we thought it only right that we honoured the Bronte brother, Branwell, in his local drinking establishment, the Black Bull (they still have his seat, fact fans). That’s us SHWI ladies, all about respecting the history.

The view from Currer Laithe
Saturday night was party night with a theme of inspirational women. Once again highlighting the fantastic creativity within SHWI, we had costumes covering icons from ancient civilisations (Cleopatra and the Virgin Mary), sports stars (Billie Jean King), peerless politicians (Betty Boothroyd), historical heroines (Pocahontas and Rosie the Riveter), literary legends (Charlotte Bronte and Agatha Christie), scintillating statues (Lady Liberty), personal protagonists (Aunt Patsy and, erm, Anna Pilson), pop powerhouses (Dolly Parton and Kate Bush), childhood idols (sorry, ran out of alliterative vocab here but I’m getting overexcited about the immenseness of Anneka frickin’ RICE) and last but certainly not least, the living legend that is shoulder-pad wearer extraordinaire, Hilary Devey. We then indulged in some party games (all good, clean fun, er, honest guv) and while I would LOVE to tell you more about the escapades of that evening, I must adhere to the sacred oath of ‘what happens on SHWI Getaway, stays on SHWI Getaway’…

Sunday arrived and with it the prospect of a walk to blow away the cobwebs and of course, to explore the rugged moorland scenery. A good, hearty splash in the mud and the country air was enjoyed by all (except for the equestrian centre owner, but that’s another story…) and revved up our appetites for the much-anticipated SHWI Sunday lunch. It was a veritable feast, cooked with panache by Grace, Kirsty and Zoe, after being prepared by Laura, SHWI’s own Delia Smith (or should that be Monica Galetti?). The rest of the day was devoted to a relaxation-fest, comprising of chocolate, liqueur coffees, reality TV and board games (which my team won – naturally).

And then – Monday. It was a blue Monday for all as we reluctantly packed and set about tidying away our visit at Currer Laithe. We were no sooner in our cars than we had begun reminiscing about the amazing time we had all had that weekend. And it truly was a fabulous weekend from start to finish. I know I speak on behalf of all of the attendees when I say a massive THANK YOU to Getaway organisers Ruth and Grace. You truly made a lot of ladies very happy and planned a weekend of epic, nay, legendary proportions!

P.S. Notice how I said it was the ‘inaugural’ Getaway in the opening sentence? Well that’s because within hours of returning from the Getaway some of us were already planning the next one! Watch this space for more details over the coming months…

Anna Pilson
SHWI Committee

Sunday, 20 October 2013

SHWI in a flap

It’s October. The leaves have turned brown and there’s a distinct chill in the air, which can only mean one thing – it’s time to renew WI membership. At Seven Hills WI, members have both October and November meetings to bring their cheques or cash (exact money please!) before we open up the doors to the numerous ladies of Sheffield who’ve been on the waiting list to join South Yorkshire’s largest group. 

On Thursday, Treasurer Vicky P-M and Assistant Treasurer Leanne were ready and waiting to collect payment before the meeting began. They do a great job - just a glance at their incredibly detailed spreadsheet baffled me!

Women busied themselves making all-important cups of tea, catching up and having a slice of Di Coupe’s amazing SHWI pie – handmade sausage, chicken and stuffing pie. It was the star prize on the raffle at our Sheffield Food Festival stall and I was keen to have a slice (or two!) with picallili. Nom.

It was soon time to settle ourselves in the main room of Electric Works where Lindsay went through meeting business before we could kick off with the activity. We had the debrief on our visit to the Don Valley Rally (the Don Valley group of WI’s recent get-together) and Lindsay thanked those who had helped put together our brilliant yet unsuccessful entry into the seaside themed table competition. Zoe Loveday, organiser of our stall at Sheffield Food Festival was presented with a gorgeous bunch of flowers as a thank you for all her hardwork in raising £1,056 for PACT.

Our next fundraising effort for PACT is the SHWI calendar which is soon to be finished. Featuring famous landmarks of Sheffield, the limited edition run will go on sale soon so get yours quick!

We had a quick sneak preview of next year’s exciting programme and Lindsay also announced the new committee for 2014 who will take their position’s after next month’s AGM. After spin-off group updates, it was time for a quick break before our dance teacher Sue would start our Charleston lesson.

Charleston was very risqué at it’s time – Sue compared it almost to pole dancing! Flappers caused a bit of a stir so we had to keep that in mind with our movements. We would be learning the dance routine to Fat Sam’s from the musical ‘Bugsy Malone’. It sounded a bit ambitious to me but we rose to the challenge! Sue broke it down into chunks and we swapped places in the room to ensure she could see everyone – including those hiding at the back! After completing the first session, I nipped out for a quick drink of water which meant I missed the last bit of the routine. As a spectator, I was able to see the routine in full which looked amazing! Well done ladies!

It was soon time to pack away and say our goodbyes until next month’s meeting – flower arranging! How traditional!

Kirsty Bowen
SHWI Committee

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Seven Hills WI presents...

You will have probably heard us talking about our amazing 2014 charity calendar, raising money for the Parents' Association of Children with Tumours and Leukaemia, and we are pleased to report it's shaping up nicely! 

We are in the final stages of putting it together now and shot the front cover picture this week with a little help from the lovely people at O2 Academy Sheffield! It was a proud moment for us seeing our name up there and it'll be a fantastic way to start our Sheffield landmarks calendar.

an Delaney, Assistant General Manager at O2 Academy Sheffield, said: "We were more than happy to help out Seven Hills WI with a photo for their calendar which is raising money for a great local charity. It features lots of the city's famous landmarks and with its rich history, our building is definitely one of them."

We've truly been overwhelmed by the support we've had from both our calendar sponsors and those local venues and organisations who have helped us get our brilliant photos. Our sponsors are Apollo Distribution
BAPP GroupBeer CentralBoudoir Hair, Dale Hirst Painter and Decorator, Exposed, Foster's Dental Practice and Sheffield Signcraft

Our 2014 calendar will be available at our November and December WI meetings and also through the PACT shop at Sheffield Children's Hospital. You can also order it directly from us and we'll give more details about this soon. We are only having 150 copies of the calendar printed so if you want one, you'll need to get in there quickly!

Friday, 4 October 2013

We made over £1,000 from cake!

SHWI members with the lovely James Morton from GBBO

We raised an AMAZING £1,056 for the Parents’ Association of Children with Tumours and Leukaemia (PACT) at our cake stall at this year's Sheffield Food Festival.  

We ran a cake stall in the Winter Gardens which saw members bake a variety of treats including cupcakes, cookies, cakes and muffins, and the Best in Show competition held on Sunday. Winners were announced in three categories – Victoria Sponge, Jarred goods and Puddings – by James Morton from the Great British Bake Off. 

Lindsay Garfitt, President of Seven Hills WI, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have raised over £1,000 for PACT. I would like to say a massive thank you to all our members who baked or helped on the stall across the weekend and also a big thanks to everyone who visited our stall or entered our Best in Show competition, helping us raise so much for such a worthwhile charity.”

SHWI's Lindsay, Kim and Vicky at the stall
Robin Jeeps, Vice Chair of PACT, added: “This is a fabulous effort from the Seven Hills WI team and PACT is proud to have been chosen as their charity of the year. Every pound we spend helping children and families comes from public donations like this so we are very grateful.”

The Best in Show winners were as follows:
Victoria Sponge - Neil Askew 
Puddings - Sara Curtis
Jarred Goods - Clare Savage

Well done and thank you to everyone who entered!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

SHWI sings

Members of Glee Bah Gum with some SHWI ladies

In the confines of my car, or indeed in the shower, it's been known for me to belt out a few tunes. Safe in the knowledge that no-one can contradict me, I think I sound awesome. In actuality, I'm pretty sure I sound like a poor man's Barry White. So it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I went along to our September meeting to embark on a public singing sesh with Sheffield's Glee Bah Gum.

Ready and armed with some spectacular Red Velvet Cake (to calm my nerves of course - practically medicinal), we sat down to a stonking performance of Journey's Don't Stop Believing. Next, the group's leader Lizzie talked to us about how Glee Bah Gum came about and she showed real passion, pride and commitment for what they've achieved in a short space of time.

When it was time for us to join in I was enthused by Lizzie's positive words of encouragement - she really put us at ease. So much so, I dared to give my vocal chords an airing, especially on what is arguably the greatest song ever written - 9-5 by Dolly Parton. Oh yes.

There are some stonking singers in SHWI and some got the chance to shine in a solo spot during Gary Barlow's Sing - a Glee Bah Gum favourite. The highlight for me though was the rendition of Jerusalem at the end (obvs), even though I stand no chance of ever being able to hit that damn high note.

Glee Bah Gum stepped in to help us out at the last minute when the group we'd originally booked went off the radar, but you'd never have known. So thank you!

SHWI committee

(Photo by Laura Bainbridge)

Wednesday, 4 September 2013


We did DIY (photo by Lorne Campbell)
So SHWI took the annual Summer break in July meaning that understandably our members were practically scratching at the doors of the Women’s Construction Centre in Burngreave eager to get back to some serious SHWI action. We dutifully turned up in our scruffs, builder’s mug in hand ready to roll up our sleeves and learn some fundamental DIY skills. 

Jen, Lindsay, Kim and Louise get tiling (photo by Lorne Campbell)
We got the business section of the meeting out of the way so we could up tools. This mainly involved us all getting rather excited about our involvement in the upcoming Sheffield Food Festival in the form of a classic WI Bake Stall and Best in Show competition and hearing the latest exciting instalment of the debate that rages on about the exact dimensions the shell box entry should be at The Autumn rally.

Kay the glamorous plumber and her troupe of talented tradeswomen had done a fantastic job of organising an informative and most definitely fun evening of learning the basics of some cleverly picked DIY disciplines. A lot of thought had clearly gone into which skills we would be most likely to use ourselves once we got back to our homes. There were taster sessions of painting and decorating where we looked at different paint effects – one of these being frottage which apparently has two meanings (the urban dictionary or Sarah Willoughby will fill you on the alternative meaning of the word should you be interested...). We also had a Q&A session. I’m not sure if this was necessarily part of the plan but we (ok, it was me) had a lot of questions on various projects at home.

Di and Anna learn about light fittings (photo by Lorne Campbell)

We learnt how to change a light fitting, which only highlighted to me how little I listened in my physics classes at school.

Kay demonstrated how to isolate and take a radiator off the wall for when you’re decorating. Pretty useful stuff I’m sure you’ll agree. Not as complicated as you may think.Well when you know how.

There was also a session on tile cutting as well as bricklaying. I for one was inspired, as only this weekend I have wangled a re-pointing masterclass with my neighbour to sort out my raised beds. WICAT we salute you for inspiring us to take on jobs that are traditionally seen as man’s work.

Oh and how I could forget the ever so tiny detail that photos from our meeting and quotes from our very own Lindsay featured in the Guardian the weekend after our meeting. All in a day's work at SHWI! Some of the photos taken can be seen in this post, big thanks to photographer Lorne Campbell for allowing us to use them.

WICAT offer some tremendous courses that are fan
tastic value for money. See for further details. We’ll be filling you in on what they can offer us at the next meeting. 

Anna Tebble

SHWI Committee Member

Monday, 26 August 2013

Let them eat cake! SHWI's stall at Sheffield Food Festival 2013

Our Secretary Kim
at the 2012 Food Festival

As many of you will remember, we've held a stall at Sheffield Food Festival for the last two years and also run the Best in Show competition. We have made over £900 from our stalls and competition since 2011 and we want this year to be the best yet!

Like last year, we will be holding a traditional cake stall at this year's event in the Winter Gardens on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 September, from 10am until around 5pm (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 something special made by one of our star bakers!

Our Best in Show competition will also be running once again, this time with three categories - Victoria Sponge, Jarred goods (jams, chutneys, curds or pickles) and new for 2013 - puddings. It costs £1 per entry, and all proceeds, along with all proceeds from our cake stall, will be going to our nominated charity, the Parents' Association of Children with Tumours and Leukaemia (PACT), which provides a range of support services for families whose children have been diagnosed with cancer.

An extra special treat for our Best in Show this year will be the person announcing the cake's only James Morton from the Great British Bake Off (you know, the one with the cool jumpers). That's reason enough alone to enter!

We raised over £700 for charity last year - this was donated to Haven House - and we hope that with your help we can beat that total and raise even more this year!

So, how can you get involved? Everyone loves cake so come along to our stall in the Winter Gardens on 21 or 22 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. 

SHWI members - we also need you to help us by baking lots of yummy cakes and volunteering to help on the stall, please email to get involved.

Here's to a wonderfully successful Sheffield Food Festival 2013.

Seven Hills WI x

Seven Hills WI - Best in Show. Information Rules and Regulations

1. Competition Entry

Our stall last year

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

b. You can submit one Entry per Category. Your Entry must be your own work. 

c. £1 per entry, payable on arrival with product – all entry money will be donated to the Parents' Association of Children with Tumours and Leukaemia - a registered charity that provides a range of support services for families who children have been diagnosed with cancer.

d. All entries must be bought to the Festival Kitchen, top of Fargate, City Centre on Sunday 22 September between 10.00am and 11.30am. Entries submitted after this time will not be entered.

e. We accept no responsibility for incorrectly completed, lost or delayed entries or other documents related to the prize.

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

g. If you would like further information on competition entry please contact to answer your queries.

2. Entries
a. Victoria Sandwich: 
cake to be 8” round, filled with raspberry jam, and presented boxed or plated. The entry will be judged on presentation, appearance and suitability as well as, of course, taste, texture and flavour.

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

c. Pudding. This can be any pudding. A favourite from your childhood perhaps or a recent invention of your own that you just want to show off. Please bear in mind that all the puddings will be served and judged cold.

3. Judging

Anna and Lisa get judging in 2012

a. Judging will take place between 12noon and 2.30pm on Sunday 22 September.

b. Winners will be selected from each Category by the judging panel. All judges’ decisions are final.

c. The winners will be announced at 2.35pm on Sunday 22 September 2013 in the Festival Kitchen, top of Fargate, City Centre.

d. First, second and third places in each Category will all be awarded with rosettes. We reserve the right to provide a substitute prize of similar value should the specified prize become unavailable for reasons beyond our control.

e. Any winners not present will be contacted to be informed that they have won a prize and will receive their rosettes by post within seven days.

f. You allow us to take photographs of you and use the photographs together with your name in publicity connected with the competition and prize

4. Collection
a. Packaging, boxes etc. may be collected by entrants between 3pm and 4pm on Sunday 22 September.

b. Any items not collected will be disposed of.

6. General
a. We are required by law to make all the names of the winners publicly available. These details can be obtained by sending a signed handwritten request along with a stamped self-addressed envelope detailing your request to J Bletcher, Festival Assistant, Sheffield Business School, Sheffield Hallam University, Howard Street, Sheffield S1 1WB and marked with the name of the competition or alternatively email

b. Information that you have provided to us will be collected, stored and processed for the purposes of administering the competition.

c. We reserve the right to suspend, cancel or amend the promotion and/or review and revise these terms at any time without giving prior notice and by continuing to take part in the promotion subsequent to any revision of these terms and conditions, you are deemed to have agreed to any such new or amended terms.

d. This promotion is governed by English law and is subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.

Monday, 15 July 2013

SHWI on the run...

Team SHWI! L-R Kirsty, Vicky, Blanche and Anna
Usually on a Sunday morning I enjoy a lie-in before having a (typically) lazy day doing, er, not much. However this particular Sunday morning I was up bright and early at 7am to join my fellow SHWI-ers Kirsty Bowen, Vicky Porteous and Blanche Spataro, AKA Team SHWIrunners, in Graves Park to take part in Weston Park Hospital’s Cancer Charity’s annual 3k fun run. We had entered the event with most of us having no previous running experience and through training for this event we have improved our fitness levels and managed to raise currently over £300 for the charity with donations still flooding in (THANK YOU to those of you who have given so generously!). 

We arrived in Graves Park bright and early on what was to prove the hottest day of the summer so far ready to run with several hundred others who were all united in their determination to support a wonderful organisation doing so much to combat cancer. Although it was far too hot to consider costumes, in a nod to our WI membership we decided to run in pinnies (which explains the accompanying picture!).

After a quick belly dancing session as a warm up (no, really) and a bit of fraternisation with some Star Wars Storm Troopers (again, really) we headed to the starting line ready to complete two laps of the park. On starters order we ran like the wind (ahem) around the sun-drenched (read ‘punishingly hot’) course and were ably supported by family, friends and fellow SHWI members who spurred us all on the complete the course in times ranging from 15.51 minutes to 18.51 minutes and receive finishing positions of 74th-154th places out of 388 participants – not bad at all! After completing the race we stayed to cheer on fellow SHWI and Sheffield Running Club member Grace Tebbutt to annihilate the uber-tough 10k race. Grace achieved a fabulously quick time of just over 48 minutes and was the 4th woman to finish the race! Wow!

Taking part in the event was another example of how Seven Hills Women’s Institute has inspired me and others to challenge ourselves and try new experiences – I never would have thought I’d spend a beautiful summer’s day running around a park rather than lying prone sunbathing in it! I am extremely proud of us all for having raised funds for such an amazing institution that has touched so many lives in Sheffield. This experience has inspired us on to continue running – who knows, the next time I blog about a race it may be a marathon…

Anna Pilson
SHWI Committee Member (and runner!)

Sunday, 7 July 2013

How to make an apron from a pillowcase...

SHWI ladies with their aprons
June's meeting was a crafty meeting. It seems, to me at least, that SHWI can normally be a bit of a foodie haven, but when there is craft, everyone really enjoys it.

Jen in Blue Peter mode!
When I got there, there was a rather delectable quiche made by Laura Bainbridge, (bacon and blue cheese, if you were wondering), and moreish, to the point of indecent, strawberry cupcakes, made by Julie Grigg.

The meeting's activity was headed by the lovely Jennifer Marsden, who had discovered the genius idea of 'pillow pinnies', a way to create a pretty apron very easily, out of a surplus pillowcase. 

One can never have too many pinnies, indeed, some of the ladies have specific 'baking' and 'serious cooking' aprons; here's looking at you, Vickie Riley!

Jen had, in true Blue Peter style, come with three ready-made versions with different levels of difficulty. Duly, the women of Seven Hills WI came equipped with ribbons, trinkets, buttons and knick-knacks with which to decorate their creations. 

The first version was simply a pillowcase turned lengthways with the opening at the top, with the top corners folded inwards, so the apron had a trapezium shape. It was all secured by a running stitch, so even the most fledgling sewer could take part. You could make this a little more jazzy by adding a pocket, by sewing across the pillowcase, creating an open compartment. Then, to make it into an apron, you just had to sew ribbon around the top, for the neckline, and then halfway down the pinny for the back-straps.

The second was a skirt pinny, using the pillowcase sideways so it created the more traditional shape. Sophie Harrold's included fabric inspired by the Hungry Caterpillar, so very apt for an apron, I think!

The third used two pillowcases; one longways, one sideways, to create a full length pinny in a butcher-style. That was my favourite way, as it would cover up any splashes!

As always, the night was full of laughter, chatting and catching up with everyone. It was also the night when I went on the helter skelter for the first time, and I screamed all the way down and fell over when I landed; smooth. I'll do it again though.

There's no meeting in July, but we had the calendar photo shoot and picnic in the Botanical Gardens on Sunday 7 July and for once had amazingly sunny weather!

Zoë Loveday
SHWI member

Photos by Laura Bainbridge

Monday, 10 June 2013

Road Trip! Marsden and Bainbridge do the WI AGM 2013

Lots of ladies...

On the last day of May, the sun was shining down on South Yorkshire when fellow SHWI member, Laura, and I set off nice and early for our road trip. The only cloud on our horizon? Embarking on the journey from Rotherham by the mode of transport most dreaded when faced with warm weather: the coach. Thankfully, sick bags were not needed and we tootled down to Bristol nattering away to women from other WIs from South Yorkshire. 

Not being the types to waste a trip, Laura and I decided that we deserved a drink on arrival and found some, errrm, interesting drinking establishments in which we could quench our thirst. The outing served to whet our appetites for dinner back at the hotel with the marvellous South Yorkshire contingent and I managed to bag a seat on Chairman Dorothy’s table.

Next, Laura and I hot-footed it across town to meet the lovely Michaela (aka Pretty Nostalgic writer and Gloucester Rd WI member). Michaela introduced us to a novel combination of some of the south-west’s finest products: Cheddar-flavoured cider on The Apple. Knowing we had an early start in the morning – and a long day ahead – we were fairly sensible and headed back to the hotel at a time Cinderella would have been wise to observe. Before we knew it, it was morning and the time had come for the main event: off to Cardiff and the WI AGM.


To say I was a wee bit excited about this would be a huge understatement. Singing Jerusalem with 4,000 members of the Women’s Institute, witnessing history being made, and getting to listen to both Griff Rhys-Jones and John Humphrys address the flock of women was certainly enough to ensure a spring in my step!

When we arrived, the Arena was literally buzzing. Before we took our seats, I spotted the Denman stall, where I chatted to marketing manager Katie, who'd featured pictures from our December trip to the college in this year’s brochure. We were later to be addressed by WI member Anne Harrison (offt' telly) about why we had to 'use or lose' the facilities at Denman.

What I could not have been prepared for was just how FEISTY it would become! The first item to address was proposed changes to the WI constitution, which at face value seemed perfectly reasonable proposals to modernise and reflect current legislation. But WI members saw fit to point out the chasm between the legalese-filled documentation and the top-line explanation we were provided. An emotive and emphatic discussion followed, but the changes were nonetheless passed.

Hands up
In an unexpected twist, Griff Rhys-Jones brought a serious air to the proceedings and it was John Humphrys who had us in fits laughter with his characteristically playful manner. The main thread of the former’s address was about protection of listed buildings and conservation of local areas in light of government plans to allow large extensions without requiring planning consent. It was left to John Humphrys to impress us with his impersonations, through a potted history of encounters, including the late Margaret Thatcher, Her Majesty the Queen and notably, an insight into Tony Blair’s private life. And when I say private, I mean best kept between him and Cherie! *ahem*

In a more serious vein, each year the WI chooses to campaign on an important issue of the day. Over the decades, the Women’s Institute movement has trail-blazed campaigns leading to significant shifts in public policy on issues ranging from increasing female police officers (1924), equal pay for equal work (1943), awareness of drug addition (1966) and artificially-produced human embryos (1983) to human trafficking (2004). 

A member from Sotonettes WI
and Rebecca from Tea and Tarts WI
This year, it was proposed that the WI take action to halt the decline of the high street. We heard from a number of notable speakers, before the discussion was opened out to the floor. Concerns were raised about the gap between those high streets packed full of pawnshops and bookmakers, and those teeming with vintage boutiques and gift shops – neither of which reflect the primary shopping habits of the majority. Again, the debate sought to clarify rather than dismiss the notion, with a significant majority voting in favour of backing the campaign.

One of the best things about the trip was catching up with WI members from other groups. I have a particular soft spot (and suspect I am far from alone) for Jean, the South Yorkshire – North Derbyshire Liaison Officer who some will recall came to our International Women's Day Event and who gave me a big hug and a kiss when we were reacquainted! We also got taken to lunch at swanky Cardiff eaterie, Chapel1877, by local WI representatives, Becki and Clare from Birchgrove WI (who we first met last December at Denman College), together with members from institutes across England and Wales, including Tea and Tarts, Cookridge Crumpets, Sotonettes, Creigian, Renaissance, Parkstone and Holybourne WIs. The lady from the latter of these, Jean Johnson, was responsible for Channel 4's A WI Lady's Guide to Brothels. 
Jen with the lovely Becki and Clare
from Birchgrove WI

Lastly, Laura was well-chuffed to have her day rounded off by being asked if she’d consider training to be a WI Advisor. It’s undoubtedly a feather in the cap of both Seven Hills and South Yorkshire to have her as a representative. 

What a fabulous trip all round! 

Love Jen x


PS Next year, the AGM's gonna be in Leeds!

*Photos by the wonderful Laura Bainbridge*

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Ye Olde Seven Hills WI Tudor Banquet...

SHWI member Grace
gets into the Tudor spirit!
Behold, good ladies of Seven Hills WI! On Friday 24 May, Sheffield’s Showroom Cinema Café Bar was brimming with gorebellies galore at the SHWI Dining Club’s latest event, Ye OldeTudor Banquet! The Showroom had very kindly offered to provide us with a bespoke menu of our choice and after consultation with our members, it became clear that SHWI ladies are suckers for a bit of historical action (oo-er!). With this in mind, Showroom Kitchen Chef Simon Ayres developed a menu based around traditional olde English fare from Tudor times, utilising seasonal and locally-sourced ingredients and presented with a very modern twist.

And here is his masterpiece:

Smoked mackerel and goat's milk tart
Roast Tongue - corned beef and kidney pudding

Food for the poor:

Pottage, honey, cheese and bread

Rabbit - posh pastry, rabbit loin, swede fondant, rabbit cutlet
Cod Mornay

Poor Knights’ Pudding - with rose water
Tarte of strawberries with cream…

…A feast worthy of a king, I’ve no doubt you’ll agree.

For the first time in the history of SHWI Dining Club, the event was opened up to friends and family of SHWI members and 21 of us gathered on two banquet tables and awaited the start of the scoffing, with the added nerve-wracking element of Mama Bainbridge ready to experience Laura’s organisational talent! 
Although the room was abuzz with excitement, it is rare that the event lives up to the anticipation. However, when our starters arrived, we quickly realised that verily, had we witnessed naught til that moment (or for non-16th Century dwellers, we hadn’t seen nothin’ yet). 
Smoked mackerel and goat's milk tart

Up first were the two starter dishes of smoked mackerel and goat's milk tart and mini steak and beef puddings with gravy and tongue. The Showroom’s clever and inventive organisation and presentation meant that, true to historical form, our dishes were presented on sharing platters, meaning that people could pick and choose at little (or as it transpired, a LOT) of what they fancied. The names of the dishes make them sound fairly straightforward but the complexity of ingredients made them a joy to behold (and munch). The flavour combination of salty mackerel with creamy goat’s cheese was enhanced by fresh dill and crunchy walnuts and additional texture was provided by the cheese-infused, crumbly, perfectly short pastry tart base. 

Beef puddings
The beef puddings were super savoury bombs of meaty goodness, packed with tender chunks of kidney and encased in a melt-in-the-mouth suet shell. These were served on a platter bejewelled with freshly podded broad beans, that dazzled like emeralds next to the chunky puds, and came with a side of intensely meaty, addictive gravy (Bainbridge actually drank half a jug of the stuff.) These may not have looked as elegant as the mackerel tarts, but who cares when they come served with gravy this good?

These culinary delights were followed by a VERY hearty serving of pottage (chunky root vegetable broth with slivers of bacon), served with three varieties of home-made bread and three British cheeses. First up was a Yorkshire Blue from Shepherds Purse - a delicate, creamy blue with a subtle tang, it was perfect drizzled with the honey and squished onto the poppy seeded bread. The most popular cheese seemed to be the Ribblesdale Goat’s cheese - not the usual soft, log-type chèvre, but a firm, mild cheese with a pretty pea-green wax. Last, but not least, was the Cornish Yarg - a nettle wrapped beauty: fresh, creamy and crumbly. There was so much bread and cheese left over, we cheekily asked for some takeaway boxes, to which the super-friendly staff happily obliged.

Most of us by this point were thoroughly glad we were not dressed in corsets as our Tudor counterparts would have been. Kudos to Grace Tebbutt, Chelle Cook, Victoria White and Jen Marsden who frankly must have managed to channel Henry VIII himself in order to finish their meals whilst be-costumed! However, despite our (historically accurate of course) full bellies, we were only half way through the banquet! 

Next up were the main courses of rabbit served three ways and Cod Mornay. The cod was served on a bed of peppery rocket and was cooked to perfection, soft skin holding together the beautiful cod that flaked to the touch, all covered in a mellow and creamy cheese sauce. 

The rabbit platter was a work of art laid out on a massive slate square - it was difficult to know where to start. Juicy rabbit loin, crammed with herb flecked stuffing and wrapped in pancetta was a definite highlight - t’old Bugs can be a little dry and bland sometimes, but not this time! There were also dainty crumbed cutlets served on sweet swede fondant and little posh shortcrust pasties too, because you can never have a rabbit too many ways. Amazingly, there was still room on the platter for ridiculously delicious mushrooms (salty, baked perhaps? Who cares -they were good!), super-sweet tomato, cleverly presented courgette pieces, more of those jewel-like beans and the obligatory smear of veggie puree. 

Poor Knight's Pudding
Finally, our intrepid diners were rewarded with two mouth-watering desserts of strawberry and cream tarte and Poor Knight’s Pudding with clotted cream. Many of us were intrigued at the sound of the latter dish, and there was certainly nothing ‘poor’ about it. Sweet, warm, fluffy mini pancakes were served drizzled with a perfectly tart berry compote. In glorious contrast was the smooth and simultaneously fresh tarte - a simple masterpiece of the thinnest, short-bread like pastry, filled with sweetened whipped cream and topped with fresh strawberries - it would not have looked out of place in a French patisserie window. Again, the generosity of the portioning meant many a tart was taken back home (in a box) to be enjoyed later when the savouries had been digested.

As our bonaire evening came to an end, our satisfied revellers headed home, taking with them full bellies and good memories. Universally positive feedback marvelled at the very generous portions, excellent service and the fantastic, flamboyant, fabulous culinary delights they had experienced. There was only one problem – after sampling the menus of both rich and poor Tudors, we honestly couldn’t decide if we would have preferred to be paupers living on pottage, bread cheese and Poor Knights’ Pudding, or great noblewomen feasting on an array of meat, fish, pastry and tarts. All that can be said is it’s easy to see why the Elizabethan era was called the ‘Golden Age’! To sum up: Most. Epic.Dining.Club.Ever.

Strawberry tarts

Showroom + SHWI Dining Club = Foody, Tudor-y, heaven.

Anna Pilson and Laura Bainbridge
SHWI committee members and Dining Club organisers