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

Chella

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