Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Raising money with cake at Eroica Britannia Festival

We've just about recovered from a weekend in Bakewell at Eroica Britannia festival - and what a fab weekend it was! 

Photo: Brook Hayes
It was at the beginning of the year when Eroica invited us to have a stall at the festival. They had seen how successful we had been at events like Sheffield Food Festival and wanted us to bring some WI flavour to Eroica. 

Eroica (not Erotica like some people think!) is a 3-day family lifestyle and cycling festival in the Peak District not far from Sheffield. Now in it's third year, the festival is based on the original L’Eroica (meaning 'the heroes') cycle ride held every year in Gaiole, Tuscany, since 1997. It's a of good old-fashioned cycling before carbon fibre, lycra gear and energy gels.

But it's not just cycling - there's lots of vintage clothing, crafts, music, entertainment, and most importantly for SHWI, food! 

Photo: Brook Hayes
Grace and I worked together on organising our stall like previously at Sheffield Food Festival. We try and divide it straight down the line - she deals with our WI volunteers and I sort the logistics and liason with the organisers. 

This time we were camping which provided an extra layer of complexity! But luckily, we had some excellent help all weekend from Charlotte, Brook and Cat who helped Grace and I get fed and stay dry. We had been concentrating so hard on our stall that we forgot essentials like toothpaste, wellies (we arrived to a mud bath on site), and food. 

We were supplied with extra hands bringing fresh cake every day too which meant we got to have a wander round the festival, soak up the atmosphere or go for a much needed kip! 

Photo: Brook Hayes
Saturday was our best day and we had a steady stream of customers buying our brownies, flapjack and lemon drizzle cakes. It was great to see so many WI members too from groups around the country! Grace and Lucy had entered the Best in Show cake competition and Lucy came third place. Other competitions included Best Dressed, Best Home Brew, Best Dressed Dog and Best Moustache! 

Photo: Brook Hayes
Sunday was the day of the big bike ride and cyclists set off from Bakewell early to ride 30, 55 or 100 miles through the beautiful Peaks. It was a quieter day for us as families and friends were busy watching the ride. However, we still had a good day and loved watching all the bikes arrive at the finish line. 

We're so happy that we raised another £600 for Light Sheffield, our charity of the year who support families affected by perinatal mental health illnesses. 

Photo: Ellie Last
Thank you to everyone who made cake or volunteered, or came to buy some cake from us! And a big thanks to Eroica for inviting us. 

Our next fundraising event will be SunFest - Abbeydale Brewery's beer festival at the Rising Sun, Fulwood Road, Sheffield. 

Monday, 20 June 2016

Fascinating Fascinators with The Hat Stand

Summer is on the way and our lovely Seven Hills WI ladies do like to dress up. Any excuse will do - day at the races, weddings, summer parties - you name it if it involves a lovely day out and an excuse to dress up we’ll be there! But wherever this summer’s activities take our members they will be looking even more glamorous thanks to the millinery master pieces they created at our May meeting. That’s right, we made fascinators!

Members choose their feathers

The session was led by the fascinatingly fabulous millinery trio, Siobhan Nicholson, Amanda Moon and Sophie Cooke - all independent Sheffield-based milliners who come together as The Hat Stand to promote the art of millinery.

The activity got off to a flying start with Siobhan, Amanda and Sophie talking us through how we would be making the fascinators. The supplies table was awash with beautiful bases, felts, feathers and jewels. Every colour under the rainbow was available to excite the creative flare of our members. As we set about choosing the component parts that would be magically transformed into a millinery masterpiece, we were told our only limitation was our own imagination! St Andrew’s was suddenly a hive of energy… and feathers!

I was inspired by the wonderful creations being put together by our members. I never fail to be impressed by the skills present in our group. So many different ideas, in such vibrant colours, were being assembled and soon several ladies were already modelling their wares. In under an hour a simple base, feathers and jewels had been worked into a creation worthy of a day out at Ascot.

Laura displays her fascinator

Having toured the room for inspiration I set to my own creation. I had a wedding that weekend and had carefully matched my colours to the dress I would be wearing. Now, I like to think I’m quite crafty and can turn my hands to most things, but it turns out that when given feathers and glue I quickly become a sticky mess! I was quick to realise I was no budding milliner, but that didn’t matter because I, like the other members, was having a super time and hadn’t stopped laughing all night. Such frivolity did nothing to improve my work and consequently I’d like to thank Siobhan and the ladies at my table for rescuing me from becoming elbow deep in glue, feathers and sequins! But all was not lost; even I it seems can (with help) create a stunning looking fascinator. Amanda helped to secure the clip and voilĂ  – a fascinator was born!

I proudly presented my fascinator to my family that night along with one of the new funky SHWI tote bags! That’s right we are once again selling gorgeous Seven Hills WI totes, this year it’s a black bag which features our centenary teacup and flower design. Bags cost £5 with all profits going to our supported charity, Sheffield Light. But don’t worry if you haven’t got yours yet there’s still time - we’ll be selling them at future meetings, the Bakewell L’eroica festival (17-19 June) and SunFest Beer Festival (7-10 July). So come along to one of these events, buy a stunning tote bag and eat some tasty treats homemade by our talented members. You never know we might be wearing our fascinators too! 

Members with the ladies from The Hat Stand
Bex Lissaman
Committee member

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

We raised over £1000 at Sheffield Food Festival

We've raised over £1000 selling homemade cake for a local charity at this year’s Sheffield Food Festival.
For the fifth year in a row, our city centre WI group have been at the festival by baking and selling cakes. This year’s stall in the Peace Gardens was extremely popular with the stall selling out of cakes every day. We raised £1024 in total.

Kirsty Bowen, President of Seven Hills WI said “Our stall was a massive hit once again at Sheffield Food Festival. Thank you to everyone who came down and bought cake or entered our raffle and a big thank you to all our members who worked hard to volunteer or bake.”
All the money raised will go to Light Sheffield, a local charity run providing support across Sheffield to families affected by perinatal mental health illnesses, including post natal depression and anxiety. Our members voted to support Light Sheffield as their charity for 2016.
Jess Rennie from Light Sheffield said: “It’s fantastic that Seven Hills WI have raised so much money from cake! We want to thank all the members who volunteered or baked cake. The Money will go to helping mums and their families who are affected by perinatal mental illnesses in Sheffield and the surrounding areas, to access valuable support provided by Light Sheffield.
Seven Hills WI have been invited to take part in Eroica Britannia family festival in June, bringing our popular charity cake stall to Bakewell Showground. We will be at the festival on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 June 2016.