Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Holidays are coming...

Holidays are coming....

Deck the hall with wreaths of holly

Herts Belles started preparing for the holiday season at November's meeting. The lovely Nadine, from Spinney Cottage Flowers, came down to demonstrate how to make stunning door wreaths and table centre pieces.

Nearly 60 members and guests packed the hall to get creative with the festive foliage and it wasn't long before the whole room smelt of Christmas trees.

Lots of laughter, cake and a few pricked fingers later and everyone was heading home with stunning creations.

It was lovely to meet so many new faces and we hope to see you back for our next meeting
 in January.

Make do and mend

November also saw Herts Belles take part in Sustainable St Albans week. Emma G and Jean brought some Oh Sew Vintage magic to the Repair Workshop, mending  everything from bags to trousers, while the Belles hosted a tea room and cake stall. Cake sales raised £233 for Wi funds - well done everyone!

Festive Fun

While there was no formal meeting in December, Herts Belles booked our annual and now traditional meal at Bar Espresso. Eat, drink and be merry was definitely the order of the day with lots of laughing, party hats and very bad Christmas cracker jokes. A great night - no doubt we'll be back for more fabulous food and great company next year.

Well, what a great end to the year! See you all in January for power hooping and bad secret Santa!

Best wishes
Emma C x

Monday, 9 November 2015

Out and About in October!

October was a busy month for Herts Belles!

Ghosts, Ghouls and things that go bump in St Albans...

As Halloween approached, October's meeting saw the bravest of the Belles hit the streets of St Albans on a ghost walk. Led by local tour guides Bernard and Elizabeth the walk took us to some of the oldest, most interesting and most haunted buildings in the city.

The tour started outside the Old Town Hall where we learned about the ghostly soldiers who died in the Battles of St Albans during the Wars of the Roses in the fifteenth century. Witnesses have heard the clattering of hooves and clinking of armour on the anniversary of the battles.

Then we headed to The Grange, now Nationwide, the building dates back to 1763 and was built by John Osbourne, a former mayor of St Albans. It is said to be haunted by his daughter-in-law Dorothy Osbourne who killed herself when she found out her husband was having an affair. Her ghost has been seen disappearing through walls and workers in the offices have reported a ghostly chill in the air even when the heating is on....

We also headed to Ivy House and heard the gruesome story of Meades the chambermaid. Many people have reported seeing the apparition of a young woman dressed in white going up the staircase of the building. She is thought to be the ghost of Meades, a servant who found herself pregnant by a member of the household and was punished by being bricked up alive behind a wall of the house!

After hearing about various pubs, inns and houses with enough ghostly goings-on to keep Yvette Fielding and the Most Haunted team busy for a whole series, we ended the tour at the Cathedral. Alongside the usual array of ghostly monks, heretics and exorcisms we heard how organ is mysteriously heard playing even when the church is empty and locked - spooky!

For more information about walking tours of St Albans have a look at the website

Soggy Bottoms and Warm Buns...

Herts Belles teamed up with Waterstones to host two bake off competitions in St Albans and Welwyn Garden City. Entrants were judged on their creativity, taste, presentation and technique plus an overall star baker award. We were there promoting all things WI and talking to potential members.

A host of celebrity judges including Charlotte White from Restoration Cakes, Masterchef finalist Theo Michaels and Herts Advertiser food critic Becky Alexander were joined by Lucy from Heaven is a Cupcake, Danny Smith, presenter of West Herts Drivetime and Mayor of St Albans  Salih Gaygusuz to taste the vast array of cakes on offer.


The judges hard at work sampling the entries

With the pressure to uphold the WI's reputation, Herts Belles ladies did us proud! At the St Albans Bake Off Bec won the award for best tasting bake and Dawn won Star Baker, while at the Welwyn Bake Off Emma G won best presentation. Congratulations!

Dawn and Bec with judge Charlotte White
Dawn's Star Baker cake

Emma G's award winning Nutella cake

Music, Magic and More...

This month saw us host our long-awaited Autumn Group Meeting for the other local WI's.

Nearly 100 WI members packed out the London Road Club for an exciting evening of entertainment.

The evening was compered by friend of the Belles. Cllr Annie Brewster and began with a recording of 'Loving Hearts and Skilful Hands: by Sandra Kerr and Werca's Choir, a song written especially for the WI Centenary.

Cllr Annie Brewster

The first half featured two fantastic live acts. The Polkadot Dolls vocal harmony group brought some vintage glamour to the proceedings singing a selection of songs from the 1940's. The gorgeous girls were followed by magician Kevin Flannery who astounded the audience with an array of tricks and illusions and balloon art.
The Polkadot Dolls

Kevin Flannery

The interval gave everyone a chance for tea,sandwiches and cake - and even a cheeky glass of wine or two.

The second half got underway with a mesmerising routine from CaHula Rose, hula hoop performer, followed by the very glamorous Delilah Delice burlesque act.

CaHula Rose

Delilah Delice
The evening's finale, girl group, The Amorelles, hand every one up on their feet and singing along to a selection of sounds from the sixties. 

The Amorelles

After the raffle was drawn, all that was left was to thank everyone for a fantastic evening and wish everyone a safe journey home. Now we can relax and look forward to the Spring group meeting!

We would like to thank everyone who came, all the fabulous acts who performed and everyone who gave their time and hard work to organise such a fantastic evening.

The next meeting sees the Belles back at the Jubilee Centre getting ready for the festive season with a Christmas wreath making workshop run by Nadine form Spinney Cottage flowers. The cost of the workshop is £7.50 which covers all the materials you will need to make a fabulous wreath or table centrepiece. Full details of the evening are on our Facebook page so hopefully see you there...

Best wishes,
Emma C

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Group Meeting Details

Herts Belles St Albans WI are very excited to host their first ever group meeting! We are delighted to present an evening to delight the senses. Music, magic and more!

We will be joined by the fabulous Polka Dot Dolls an all singing all dancing 1940s group, Kevin Flannery magician extraordinaire, The Amorelles will bring us the sound of the 60s and Delilah Délice will shimmy away the evening. All of this for just £4!

There will also be a fabulous raffle including some amazing prizes from local businesses and of course it wouldn’t be a WI meeting without lots of homemade tea and cake. Refreshments are included in the ticket price. There is also a bar should you wish to make the evening even more enjoyable!

This isn’t restricted to just WI members so feel free to bring your sister, mum, friends and show them what we’re all about. Tickets can be purchased at our September and October meetings. There may also be some tickets available on the door subject to availability.

It would be great to see as many of you there representing Herts Belles as possible and in order to add to the atmosphere we are asking you all to dress to impress!

Parking: There is a small car park at the club, and on street parking although we suggest parking at The Nuffield Health Gym, access to this car park is via Highfield Park Drive, St Albans, AL4 0AH. There is a cut through from the car park to the venue.
Tickets can be purchased at our October meeting or to secure your place please drop us an email so we can send you our bank details.

Venue : London Road Club, Cell Barnes Lane, St Albans, AL1 5AS

Doors open at 7.30pm for a prompt 7.45pm start.

Looking forward to seeing you all there!

August Meeting

Augusts meeting was a quiet one but for those that braved the weather we all had a great time.
We were lucky enough to have the pavilion in the park which meant we could eat our picnic in the dry! Fallon from Fallon Ismail Photography joined us for the evening and talked us through some basic camera skills and techniques. It got us all thinking outside the box so we ventured out to get some snaps!
It’s definitely something we want to revisit next year when the evenings are still light!

Tea and Tents 2015

In July four members from Herts Belles packed up their tents and sleeping bags and headed off to Nottinghamshire for a camping weekend like no other! Tea and Tents is a camping weekend organised by an elite team of WI members for WI members. 
The weekend was absolutely amazing with 500 members in attendance. There was a broad selection of ladies from all corners of the country and a massive age range too.

Throughout the day there were all manner of workshops and talks run by the ladies camping there. Prices for the workshops averaged out at about £5 and you could book yourself onto as many (or few) as you wanted. The campsite was lovely with brightly coloured bunting, knitted creations and even a sculpture of umbrellas hung in the trees.
In the evenings there were lots of other events including a makers market, Bake Off and Sewing Bee competitions, campfire and of course lots of lovely homemade food.  

There were too many things going on to mention them all but it’s safe to say we smiled and laughed all weekend. I don’t think we could praise it or recommend it highly enough. So ladies of Hertfordshire who’s up for joining us next year?