Thursday 20 November 2014

Christmas is coming...

There, I said it! 
Apologies if you’re in the ‘not before December 1st’ brigade, but it’ll be a real struggle to bring you up to date without mentioning the ‘C’ word.

First off, October’s meeting was a craft fest of starry proportions with origami, crochet, sewing and salt dough decorations being created for our Christmas tree at the lovely Treefest event at St Mary Redcliffe Church.  
It takes place the week beginning 8th December and we’ll need a few people to help set up and decorate (and possibly a tree too…details, details)!  Let us know if you’ve got a couple of spare hours on the Monday and want to be involved.

If you’ve continued with your crafty talents and made more decorations at home, please bring them along to our meeting next week.

Speaking of which, we’ll be welcoming back Liz Ferguson next week – she taught us how to make fabulous tissue paper pompoms last time she was with us.  This time she’ll be sharing and demonstrating her gift wrapping ideas, from the budget end through to the more luxurious, with a generous smattering of funny tales from the life of Liz!

We’re still after volunteers to help on our stall at the Windmill Hill City Farm Christmas Fair, on Sunday 14th December – have you put your name down for an hour or 2 yet?  If not why not?!  Come on, season of goodwill and all that…

Finally, bring along some cash to next week’s meeting, there’ll be opportunities-a-plenty to part with it.
If you’re not already a member of Malago WI, membership is open so why not join us for 2015 – we just need to relieve you of a mere £36.00.

We have received our beautiful, tea towels, designed by the very talented artist and Malago member Emily Ketteringham, so they’ll be on sale for £6.00 each.
Finally, we’re clearing out our cupboard to make way for a new load of goodies, so we’ll be flogging stuff such as glitter, beads, sequins, art pad and anything else we can find!

Any money raised will go back in to making Malago WI as fabulous as we can.

See you on Wednesday,

Wednesday 22 October 2014

A starry night...

Well, let me start with a big Happy 6th Birthday to Malago WI!

It’s really been 6 years since this lovely little branch of the WI began to grow – have you been with us since the start?  No?  Well it’s never too late to jump on board.

If you’re not a fully fledged Malago WI members, October is the perfect time to change that.  New membership opens so you can register for 2015 for £36 and you will get the last 2 meetings of 2014 for free, so come, join us, we’ve so much great stuff planned.

Last month the serious topic of personal safety and awareness was delivered in a fun and practical manner by Andras Millward from 
FAST Defence.   Simple skills to take forward through everyday life, others that we hope we won’t ever have the need to use – Set, knee!

However, on to our October meeting, we’ll be getting crafty once again making a variety of star decorations.

We’ll have several demonstrated star crafts, including origami, crochet and sewing as well as committee made decorations ready to be embellished.  These will go towards our entry in to
Treefest and for selling on our stall at the Windmill Hill City Farm Christmas Fair on Sunday 14th December – more on that next week!

We’d love you to bring along any of your own ideas that fit the star decoration theme if you’d prefer to ‘freestyle’, or maybe you’re a dab hand at a craft that adapts to our theme and you could share with us – 
contact us if that’s the case!

We have a fairly decent supply of stuff, but it’d be really helpful if you have anything you could bring to use or share such as gel pens, glitter glue, paint pens,  odds and ends of fabric, felt and wool, paper – and if colours are glittery or festive, then so much the better!

Also, please bring a crochet hook if you fancy having a go at crochet stars – we don’t have enough of those to go round.

This is going to be a lovely informal meeting, in which everyone will be able to produce a few star decorations using a variety of techniques, and enjoy a good chat with fellow members and of course enjoy a slice of cake because we’re also celebrating the 6th birthday of Malago WI!

In addition to all of those goings on, we’ll also be unveiling our first, bespoke, designer Malago WI tea towel – you’ll be able to get your orders in first to beat the rush when they go on sale at the Windmill Hill City Farm Christmas Fair.

Finally, for those that are already Malago WI members and  would like to get a bit more involved, we’d love to have  some more of you  joining our committee - as someone once said, teamwork divides the work and multiplies the success, so who’s up for it?

See you all on Wednesday,


Thursday 18 September 2014

September news...

Hello Malagowers!

Thanks to all who came to last month’s meeting with John Wright.  He knew a thing or 2 about mushrooms, but has anyone been brave enough to go mushroom foraging after listening to his stories?
Not me!  I’ll stick to spotting them and taking a photo but I was thoroughly entertained listening to all he had to tell!

Now, September’s meeting is approaching and the nights are drawing in.  We’ll be covering the subject of personal safety and self-defence, with tips and strategies about awareness and boundaries and using assertive body language and verbal strategies to dissuade an attacker.
 Dress in comfortable clothing and be prepared to get involved a bit too.

We’ll also have some news about a new WI choir group, so if you fancy stretching your vocal chords, you’ll want to come along and hear about the plans for this.

Finally, we’ve started to look for local winter or Christmas fairs that Malago WI could get involved with in order to raise both funds and our profile.  We’ve made some enquiries and will hopefully have news by next week, but if you know of an event that you think would benefit from a Malago WI presence, then do let us know,
Until Wednesday 24th,

Wednesday 20 August 2014

What's happening in August...?

Hello Malagowers!

Thanks to all who came along to Aldwick Court Farm for our summer outing last month – I think it was a grape success, don’t you agree?! (See what I did there?)

I don’t think they were anticipating selling as much wine as they did to a Women’s Institute group, although we did tell them beforehand , we’re not your regular WI bunch (unintentional grape related pun).

So from wine to mushrooms in one short month, August’s meeting is just over a week away and we’re really looking forward to welcoming John Wright, wild food and foraging expert.  You’ll probably know him best for sharing his knowledge with us and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall on the River Cottage TV series.

Don’t forget, you can bring along a friend to a meeting too – they’ll just need to pay £5.00 as a guest, which is a bit of a bargain for an evening with a fungi like John Wright.  (Foraging related pun – geddit?!)

Also, bring some cash as John will have copies of his book for sale.

We’re expecting it to be a popular night, so please arrive in good time for an 8pm start or you may find there’s not mushroom left!  (That’s anoth… oh, okay, I’ll get my coat…)

See you on Wednesday 27th August, don’t be late!

Until then,


Thursday 24 July 2014

Hittin' the road...

Hello there!

As the title says, this month we're hittin' the road! That's to say our regular meeting in the hall has been replaced by a lovely little outing to Aldwick Court Farm for a vineyard tour and a spot of wine tasting and at this moment, the weather forecast continues to be pretty darn fabulous.

If you've booked and paid for your place, we'll see you at 7.15pm for a prompt 7.30pm departure on Wednesday 30th July from the site of the old Gala Bingo hall on North Street. (that's the end nearest the Steam Crane pub.)
There's a couple of spaces left, so if you've not got round to booking your place email now to ensure you don't miss out!

Finally, can you help us out for an hour or so on Saturday 9th August please? Malago WI have been offered a stall at Lark in the Park - the launch of the new South Street Park, just near our meeting hall. It's a great opportunity for us to support a community initiative and also promote ourselves locally. There are lots of family friendly stalls and activities taking place on the day for anyone to join in.

Avril Baker is happy to run and co-ordinate a stand making simple childrens kites from packs and also badges from cup cake cases but we need some extra pairs of hands to help out on the day. If you can come along and help for an hour or so please get in touch with Avril via email or call during the day on 0117 977 2002

Thank you!
Until Wednesday...

Thursday 19 June 2014


Finally summer has arrived and long may it continue!

Last months meeting was a lovely summery affair, resulting in approximately 70 gorgeous fabric flowers (and a few crocheted flowers) for Vicky at 
Paper Village to add to the dresses that will be made at her many workshops for the Dress a Girl Around The World project.  Have you signed up for one of her free workshops yet?  Take a look at the Paper Village Facebook page for the workshop date or just pop into the shop and sign up there.

At our May meeting you might recall it was the time of the wooden spoon once more.  All members cast a vote to support (or not) the proposed Resolution of increasing organ donations.  Our majority vote was in favour of supporting the resolution and the information was taken to the AGM held earlier this month.  The resolution was passed with 5981 branches voting in favour and 133 against.

Next weeks meeting is all about boobs!  We’ve got 2 speakers visiting us, firstly Lynn from 
Perfect Fit in Keynsham will share her considerable knowledge about lingerie and the importance of ensuring you get expert fitting and advice to make the most of your figure whatever your shape and size. Aside from running Perfect Fit Lynn is also a leading light in the Keynsham business community having chaired the Business Association, now the Chamber of Commerce, for many years championing the interests of traders and retailers and the future of Keynsham town centre.

Our second speaker is local community midwife, Tracey Dawn White, who will share her own experience of successfully coming through breast cancer and provide advice on how we should all be more 
breast aware.

We’ll also have a bra bin at our meeting, so bring along your old bras, because simply by binning them you can help raise money for breast cancer research.

Or alternatively, how about sponsoring your own Malago WI team? We’ve entered the Race for Life on Sunday 6th July, just click the link 
HERE and help support us and Cancer Research UK.

Finally, as mentioned last month, our July meeting will be a trip to 
Aldwick Court Farm for a vineyard tour and wine tasting (please let the sunshine continue!)  Places are limited as we’ll be travelling by coach.  It will cost £5 to help cover the cost of the coach hire (£10 for non-members).
So get you name on the list asap if you haven’t already and please bring the cash to the next meeting to secure your place, it’s going to be a fab evening and you don’t want to miss out!

Until Wednesday (don't forget your old bras!),


Thursday 22 May 2014

May the fun continue...

Hello Malagowers,

we'll start start by saying thanks to Helen Blenkinsop for her interesting talk last month on preserving memories and her experiences in writing her parents memoirs.  It was lovely to hear and see members’ memories and family stories and diaries too.  I hope at least some of you have been inspired to do more with the memories you have or have had shared with you.  You can keep up to date with Helen’s writing activities via her website and social media, under her Pseudonym, AA Abbott.
Now tell me, have you all recorded details of last month’s meeting in diary form, photo records or blog format?!

This month’s meeting is a return to a bit of hands-on crafting.  Vicky, from Paper Village will be showing and helping us to make fabric flowers.  These will then be used to embellish dresses made at workshops run by Vicky, in her shop for the Dress a Girl Around the world project – of which we will hear more about at our meeting.

As mentioned at our last meeting, if you have some pieces or off cuts of fabric that you can donate to the cause, please bring them with you, if you have time and can cut out 12cm diameter circles that would be even better!  We’ll need 6 circles per flower, so even if you just do a few each, it’d be a huge help.
Also, any haberdashery you have spare will also be gratefully received and used, so buttons, beads, ribbons and lace – please bring along.

Perhaps you fancy making your own decorative item for embellishing the dresses, bring your crochet hook and crochet flowers, maybe?  Cut out a pocket, add a little embroidery and ribbon trim? If you've got the imagination for a bit of craft free-styling, then go for it! 

Now, how about this Race for Life?  Will you join the Malago WI team to help raise money for Cancer Research UK?  Register HERE for the 5k event and quote our group reference ID DI6428 to link in to our team. 
We’re not planning on breaking any speed records here, some of us will be walking so don't be put off by the thought of running!  Get a friend to register too – you don’t have to be a WI member to join our team.

Alternatively, could you spare a little money to make a donation on our Just Giving page?  We’d be very grateful, and maybe you could share the link amongst your friends via your social media pages?  Whatever you can do to support us and Cancer Research UK will be appreciated.

Finally, our lampshade workshop took place at the weekend and 24 stunning lampshades are now brightening Bristol - there's a photo on our Facebook page if you'd like a look!

Hope to see you on Wednesday, fabric and haberdashery in hand!

Until then,


Thursday 24 April 2014


Spring greetings to you all!
What gorgeous weather we’ve had recently, doesn’t it make you feel good?
Blue sky and sunshine, lovely – please stay.

Much like last month’s meeting – making porcelain beads, buttons, pendants and all manner of little trinkets with Lisa Stevens.
 A lovely evening of chatter and play also makes you feel good and we still have the thrill of getting the finished, glazed items back from Lisa!

This month Helen Blenkinsop will be talking to us about how to preserve memories. 
As a Women’s Institute maybe we’re more familiar with preserving fruits and vegetables, but how often have you heard a story from an elderly relative’s past, or witnessed your own children do something or say something that made you think ‘I must remember that’?

Well, Helen will tell us how.  And she knows, because she’s done just that having spent four years working with her parents to capture their memories and produce an 80,000 word book for future generations to enjoy.

 Helen is also a published author and writes suspense-filled thrillers with a touch of romance under the name AA Abbott; take a look at her website for more details about her books.

Bring along a pen and paper to the meeting on Wednesday and if you like, old diaries and photos - perhaps from your teenage years, or older ones that you've inherited.  Also a bit of pocket money, as Helen will have her books for sale!

Looking ahead to our May meeting, we’d like your help please.

We’ll be welcoming Vicky Harrison from Paper Village and Louise Horler from the Dress a Girl Around the World Project – read more about this lovely charity that provides little girls in third world countries with pretty dresses, HERE.

 We‘ll be making fabric flowers and decorating pockets and patches, which we will give to Vicky to add to the pillowcase dresses made during the sewing sessions she’ll be co-ordinating over the summer.

So, can you help by digging out any scraps of fabric and cutting out 12cm diameter circles for the fabric flowers?  We need 6 circles to make 1 flower, so your help will be appreciated!
Otherwise, any pieces of fabric, or haberdashery such as buttons, ribbons, bias-binding, pieces of lace and the like that you’d be willing to donate to the cause would also be very welcome.

In the meantime, be sure to support Vicky’s latest project as it reaches its climax.  Maybe you’ve already been involved in making pieces for the City of Briswool, a huge, woolly representation of our fine City.  It will be on display in Paper Village during the Arts Trail weekend of May 17th and 18th.

Finally, the Race for Life is happening in Bristol on Sunday 6th July and Malago WI has entered a group.  If you’d like to be part of it, you just need to enter our Group ID code when you register and we can share our fundraising efforts for Cancer Research UK as well as perhaps co-ordinate training sessions for those inclined to run!  Let us know if you’d like to be part of this wonderful event with Malago WI.

Until Wednesday,


Wednesday 19 March 2014

March in to Malago WI...

There’s a definite hint of spring in the air, isn't there?  We’ve seen more sunshine than rain recently and there was at least one day that could be described as warm since we were all together at February’s meeting with Karen Lowe.

 Have any of you spring cleaned your wardrobe with the help of Karen’s useful tips and your new found knowledge of your body shape? 
Or maybe you’ve just experimented by tying your scarf in a different way at every given opportunity!  Whichever, I hope you all enjoyed it.

We’re really getting our craft on this month; firstly March saw the inaugural get-together of the Malago WI craft Club sub-group (that doesn’t trip of the tongue – alternative suggestions on a postcard!)  It was a lovely, informal get together for members only that saw experienced and inexperienced crafters knit, crochet, and patchwork, chat and laugh together.
If you missed out this month, don’t worry, it’s a monthly club to be held on the Wednesday 2 weeks before our main meeting.  You don’t have to commit to coming every month or even have a craft project on the go.  Come along for inspiration and friendship.  Drop us a line for meeting details.

Continuing the craft theme with our March meeting, we’ll be getting crafty and creative with Lisa Stevens.  She’s a wonderful artist creating beautiful, small, textured porcelain pieces such as bowls, tiles and jewellery. 
Take a look at her work here and here.

We’re going to have a go at producing our own masterpieces at our March meeting, focussing on small, flat items such as beads and pendants or small tiles which Lisa is going to take them away to glaze and fire them before returning them to us to use as desired. 
How fabulous – although you might want to leave your own rings at home so they don’t get clay stuck in them!

 So get your thinking caps, Lisa has suggested that you might like to bring some items to shape or add texture to your work such as something to press into the clay, or any shaped cookie cutters that may make it more personal to them. Possibly textured fabrics; lace, brocade, knotting and crochet, all of which are fun to press into clay. Also things like textured buttons, old jewellery, bits of old ironmongery...or natural things like seed pods, leaves and shells. These can all make interesting textures in the clay.

As mentioned last month, a further craft opportunity is the lampshade workshop we’ve arranged with Quincy Lampshades for Sunday 18th May, 1.30pm til 5pm.  

This is open to members and non-members, but spaces are limited to 25 so email us at for details and prices and how to book.  Get your skates on and start choosing your fabric!

Finally, thanks to all who donated prizes and bought tickets at last month’s raffle – you helped raise £40 for Malago WI, yippee!

See you all next Wednesday,


Saturday 22 February 2014

February news...

How lovely to see so many of you at our first meeting of 2014!
It was a good one wasn't it? For those who missed it (why?!), Attic Tea came along and hosted a tea-tasting session.

It was a wonderfully sociable evening, the hall was decked out to reflect the fact that the Chinese New Year was upon us (did your fortune cookie bring good news and wise words?) and we had plenty of time to chat with each other as we discussed the veritable merits of the green tea blend, versus the black, white and pu'erh blends under the guidance of Anne.

So with brains boosted and stress busted we head in to February when Karen Lowe, image consultant and personal stylist, will help us with those age old problems that crop up for us all at some time or another;

Is your wardrobe full of clothes, yet you have nothing to wear?
Do you struggle in the morning deciding what goes with what?
Does shopping leave you stressed or upset?
Would you like to know your body shape and how to dress it?
Would you like to update or refresh your current image?
Karen is currently in the running for Business Mother of the Year, and at our next meeting her secrets will be uncovered to leave us brimming with self-confidence. Join us to discover a fabulous new you, looking at body shape SOS and the art of great accessorising.

Also at our February meeting we’ll be holding our raffle of excess and unwanted Christmas gifts, so bring along your contribution to the prize table and thank you to those of you that have already have done so!

Registration is still open too, it’s £34.70 for the year and we've got some great things planned so don’t miss out.

In other news:

WI business meant that members present at January’s meeting were able to cast a vote of support for one of four potential resolutions, which will become the key campaign backed by the WI. Our majority vote is forwarded to Avon Federation and final discussions and voting takes place at the AGM in the summer. The majority vote going forward from Malago WI is to support the campaign against female genital mutilation.

Are you considering entering the Race For Life this year in support of Cancer Research UK? The Bristol 5k event is on Sunday 6th July and several committee members have decided to take part, we’d love to have you join us as well. We've registered a MalagoWI group, so we can provide you with a group id code if you’d like to take part with us, meaning all sponsorship raised will be donated as 1 submission and we’ll have a Just Giving page for easier fundraising. Nearer the time we can co-ordinate some ‘training’ sessions for those that want to and if you have daughters or friends who want to take part too but aren't WI members – well that’s fine, this isn't a members only event! Take a look at the website for further details and entry prices here. We can give you details at our next meeting too.
Who fancies a craft club? We’re trying to co-ordinate a monthly craft club, something fairly informal to be held at a committee member’s house probably. We've yet to sort out precise details, but are keen to find out who would be interested, so we’ll have a sign-up sheet at the next meeting to register your interest or you can email us to let us know. As a WI sub-group this will be for full Malago WI members only.
We’re also hoping to organise a lampshade making workshop with Quincy Lampshades, to take place on a Friday evening or weekend afternoon. Dates and costs will be sorted once we have an idea of who’s interested. This will be open to full Malago WI members first and guests afterwards if places remain. A sign-up sheet will be at the next meeting or you can email us to register your interest.

Phew, well that's all for now folks,
Hope to see on Wednesday,


Thursday 23 January 2014

Happy New Year
Happy New Year everybody!

It seems a little late to be saying that, but it’s our first communication of 2014, so think it’s more than justified.
Hopefully you all had a wonderful time over Christmas and 2014 is moving along smoothly for you.

It was lovely to see some of you for Christmas drinks at the Tobacco Factory in December and our November meeting with
Ivory Flowers was gorgeous.
Isn’t her shop looking fantastic, brightening up North Street during these drab, wet, winter days?

So here we are, January, traditionally the month for new regimes and resolutions – get fit, lose weight, stop smoking/drinking – essentially stop the fun stuff, straight after a month of indulgence.

It's just too hard, particularly with half full tins of chocolate, Christmas cake, biscuits and other delicious edibles bursting from cupboards and cluttering surfaces.
Far more practical to spend January enjoying all these tasty treats and start afresh in February, surely?

Well, with that in mind, we have
Attic Tea visiting us in January for a tea tasting session.
Anne will talk us through the different types of tea available and the health benefits they offer.
Take a look at their lovely
website if you’re not already aware of them and their products.
Maybe this will help kick start a healthier regime for February.
There’ll be products available for sale too, so come prepared, cash, cheque or credit card are all acceptable.
I’ll be looking out for the tea with cleansing and detoxifying properties!

As we mentioned at our last meeting, do bring along any unwanted Christmas gifts or excess boxes of chocolates, bottles of wine and so forth (unused and unopened, please!) that you want to get out of your house, ready for our raffle, which we'll hold during our February meeting.
We’ll store the donations until then and can co-ordinate the raffle draw and prizes in to something a little more orderly.

Importantly, please remember that it’s membership renewal month so you will need to pay your annual fee of £34.70 or the £5.00 visitors’ fee. You can pay by cash or cheque, but you only need to fill in the membership form if you’re a brand new member or if any of your details have changed.

Finally, we’d love more volunteers to help with the smooth running of our meetings, so if you can offer your services to help set up the hall before the meeting – committee members are usually there from 7.15pm, or help out with serving the tea and cakes during the break or to make/bring a cake to be served, that would be wonderful.
We’ll be creating a roster for helpers for each month which will be available at our meetings, or you can contact us through the usual channels to offer your help.

Until Wednesday...