Saturday, 31 May 2014

All About Beauty

Hello, Ruth here.

Hands up who doesn’t love a freebie?

? Anyone?

Nope, thought not. I definitely do love a freebie, so I was more than a little excited to find a bag of fragrance samples and No.7 goodies on our each of our chairs upon entering the meeting room at Electric Works for May’s meeting. Yes, this month was all about beauty as we were joined by Meadowhall’s No.7 consultants, Clare and Natasha.

No.7 goodies were brought along
After Lindsay and Kim (our President and Secretary) gave their updates on local and national WI news, including welcoming new members to the committee, we were each given the opportunity to be colour-matched using the swanky No.7 Match Made machine. Essentially, it takes a picture of your skin, and then tells you which one of their foundation shades is most suitable for you. 

Members find out their perfect shade in the break
After the break, it was down to the real beauty business. Lots of hands shot up when Clare asked for two volunteers to help during her talk and Victoria was chosen to receive a skincare consultation.  As an avid skincare fan, I was interested to find out about the No.7 take on cleansing, toning and moisturising, and  I was particularly pleased to hear that they don’t advocate the use of face wipes (*cough* even though they sell them *cough*). Clare shared some other useful tips, including how exfoliating a couple of times a week will remove dead skin cells and help improve absorption of products, and she talked about the importance of wearing facial sunscreen rather than relying on a moisturiser with SPF which won’t provide adequate protection.

Amy gets her new look
Next up, member Amy was treated to a makeover. As someone who doesn’t usually wear much make-up she wanted a natural look, which Clare achieved through a sheer base and neutral tones on the eyes, lips and cheeks. Once again, multi-tasking Clare shared some useful snippets with the rest of us whilst working her magic on Amy. Members seemed particularly keen to find out more about primer, which Clare advised can smooth out uneven complexions and add longevity to your usual base. The other burning question was about eyebrows. As someone cursed with straggly albino brows, I’ve long known the face-lifting benefits of adding colour and shape to my brows, and Clare advised us on how to achieve a natural look whilst avoiding the dreaded Scouse Brow – never a good look.
The primer was a relevation to some of the audience
At the end of the meeting we were offered the chance to receive our own skincare and make-up consultations at the No.7 counter, along with a pleasing 10% off all No.7 products. It was no surprise that a long queue quickly formed as members lined up to get their consultation booked in. A sign of an enjoyable talk me thinks.

 Ruth Kirkman
SHWI Committee member

For more beauty news, reviews and make-up tips, read Ruth's blog – The Beauty Scriptures – and like The Beauty Scriptures Facebook page.

Monday, 5 May 2014

SHWI Mad Skillz: Myth Busting Bread Making

Mad Skillz is one of our spin-off groups organised by Di and Anna T. They organise bespoke sessions where SHWI members can learn a new skill in a smaller-sized group. Last week, two groups of five members went along to Forge Bakehouse on consecutive evenings. Committee member Ruth tells us all about it....
A beautiful loaf of freshly baked bread is one of my all-time favourite things to eat, but alas my limited baking skills (and my dodgy oven) have put paid to any attempts at actually making it myself. I tell a lie, I made focaccia once in 2008. So anyway, I was in need of some bread-based education and I was thrilled to be one of the lucky few to secure a place on the oversubscribed SHWI Mad Skillz 'Myth Busting Bread Making' session at Forge Bakehouse.

It was a thoroughly damp day in Sheffield, but there was a warm glow from the oven in the shop and Martha, the young owner and all round baker extraordinaire, greeted us with freshly brewed tea and one of the most amazing brownies I have ever tasted. Having trained at the School of Artisan Food, she clearly knows her stuff. After the obligatory SHWI catch-up over said cuppa, it was time for the session to kick off.
Anna is amazed by the fermenting dough
It was a very hands-on lesson and we started off by mixing our own dough. I think we were all expecting a serious upper arm workout from all the kneading (we've clearly been watching too much Great British Bake Off), but Martha shared an absolutely revelatory tip with us: the ‘Ten Second Knead’ technique. Forget pummelling your dough for an age. Oh no. Kneading the dough in a circular motion for just ten seconds, then leaving it to prove for ten minutes and repeating a couple of times is just as effective and far less exhausting. Win! Whilst the dough was proving, we learnt lots of other interesting snippets about all of the different factors that can affect the success of your bake.
Plaiting the dough
We then went on to shaping and slashing a whole variety of loaves. Martha had kindly prepared lots of dough for us to practice on and I was disproportionately pleased with my baguette. My poor plaits left a lot to be desired though. Other members of the group were far more successful - there was some very impressive plait action going on - but my Great British Bake Off application will have to wait for another year (or four), me thinks.
Jen, Ruth, Di, Cat, Anna and Vicky
I know I speak for the rest of the group when I say what a great evening this was. Martha was knowledgeable, interesting, and thoroughly lovely. A great teacher. Some left with their own sour dough starter to bake for themselves at home. I left laden with some of Mr Potato Bread (it was delicious) and my very own scraper (essential baking kit apparently). I definitely won’t be leaving it another six years between bakes from now on.
If you’re a Forge Bakehouse regular, don’t fear – our loaves were not made to be sold to the paying public. All of the waste products from the shop are given to the pigs at Heeley City Farm – such lucky piggies! That gesture reflects the overall ethos of Forge Bakehouse. They use locally sourced organic flour in all their loaves and provide lots of local cafes with their goodies. Best of all, everything is really reasonably priced. It's only been open for a couple of years but this place is going to become a Sheffield institution, I'm sure of it.
To find out more about what SHWI Mad Skillz have got coming up, speak to Di or Anna T at a meeting or search for the Facebook group 'SHWI Mad Skillz'. 
Ruth Kirkman
SHWI Committee member

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Seven Hills WI at Sheffield Food Festival 2014

Our 2013 Food Festival stall and GBBO's James Morton!

It only seems two minutes since the last event but it's time for Sheffield Food Festival again! The event has moved from its usual September date and will take place on May bank holiday. 

Like last year, we will be holding a traditional cake stall at this year's event on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 May, 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! This year the event is taking place on the Moor and we will be located in the old Woolworth's shop.

Our Best in Show competition will also be running once again, this time with four categories - Victoria Sponge, Strawberry Jam, Bread and new for 2014 - children's decorated cupcakes. It costs £1 per entry, and all proceeds, along with all proceeds from our cake stall, will be going to our nominated charity, the Young Women's Housing Project. See below for further information and the rules. 

We will be selling copies of the new Sheffield Cook Book which features lots of delicious recipes from around the city, including a recipe from us!  

We raised over £1,000 for charity last year - this was donated to the Parent's Association of Children with Tumours and Leukaemia - 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 on 24 and 25 May (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 2014.

Seven Hills WI x

Seven Hills WI - Best in Show.
Information, rules and regulations

1. Competition Entry

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 Young Women's Housing Project - a registered charity that
provides safe places to live and specialist support to help young women to overcome the effects of abuse.

d. All entries must be bought to Seven Hills WI's stall in the former Woolworth's shop on Sunday 25 May 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 

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. Strawberry Jam: presented in a clear glass jar and judged on appearance, suitability, taste, texture and flavour.

c. Bread: presented boxed or bagged and ready to eat; judged on presentation, appearance, suitability, taste, texture and flavour.

d. Children's (aged up to Year 6 at school (11 years old)). Six decorated cupcakes presented boxed or plated; judged on appearance, suitability, taste, texture and flavour.

3. Judging

 a. Judging will take place between 12noon and 2.30pm on Sunday 25 May.

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

c. The winners will be announced at 3.35pm on Sunday 25 May 2014 in the Festival Kitchen on the Moor. 

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 3.35pm and 5pm on Sunday 25 May. 
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 Evans, 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.

Warp Films' Barry Ryan comes to talk

April’s meeting began with our newly streamlined monthly notices where we heard about various opportunities and events open to us as WI members. This included information about the Denman College Trip priced at £255 for members and £295 for non-members.  Also part of the new format are the notices posted outside the main meeting room with details about different spin-off group events, so remember to read them if you’re interested in joining up!
Members and guests chat before the talk begins
Then, after the usual – and very important - tea break, we sat down to hear from Barry Ryan, Head of Production at Sheffield’s very own Warp Films. With creations such as This is England, Four Lions and Submarine, members couldn’t wait to hear what Barry had to say.
Barry Ryan talks about Warp's most successful film
Talking about the history of Warp Films, which began in a spare bedroom before graduating to the garage, we learned that Warp have now won seven Baftas, have made eighteen feature films and seven television series and even have one world record for the largest collective amount of zombies at a music festival! We were shown clips of Those in Peril, Warp’s first film to make it to Cannes and Southcliffe, a TV show which aired on Channel 4 last year.
With a number of exciting projects coming up, including feature film ’71 starring up-and-coming actor, Jack O’Connell and the next installment of the This is England television adaptation, Barry told us more about the average amount of time it takes to make a low-budget British film (210 days) and how difficult it was to get Jihadist comedy, Four Lions, off the ground.
Interestingly, Barry turned the subject onto how only 12% of directors and writers in the film industry are women, which prompted one of our members to ask if they could submit an unsolicited manuscript!
At the end of the talk, various hands shot up with questions such as how could we get involved as extras, how were certain special effects created and, with regards to the instrumentality of Brass Eye’s Chris Morris in aiding the success of one of Sheffield’s best exports, how significant relationships are within the film industry? 
Committee member Ruth and President Lindsay with Barry Ryan
Eventually time ran out and the meeting had to end but members left feeling proud of Sheffield and its exports, aware of how it can stand on its own two strong feet, independent of the big city in the South. But members also left wondering how we, as the WI, can introduce and encourage more women into the fascinating industry that is the media?
Hannah Sutton, SHWI member