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October Meeting

We have a brilliant evening planned for you with Viv’s Infamous Quiz! Plus booking finally opens for the long awaited Postal Museum and Mail Rail trip!

September Meeting

We had a great evening with the Essex Blood Runners telling us all about how they work and what they do – amazing stuff and really interesting to hear their stories. We also had our fake injury Challenge Cup and our rather fabulous Produce Swap, not to mention our Book Bonanza table!

July Meeting

Really good! Really good! Yay! Laughter yoga was most excellent fun! What a great way to kick off the summer!

June Meeting

We had an excellent and investigative time in June, at our Essex Centenary celebratory meeting. We were joined by the Ad Hoc theatre group from Hornchurch, who performed a murder mystery for us. It was great fun, with lots of laughter followed by an awesome lemon curd birthday cake, made by Lesley B and lashings of prosecco! Our Challenge Cup was to make a lei and we had multiple imaginative entries, with the ultimate first place being taken by Margaret. And we met our Diverse Essex scarecrow entry, Scary Bella! Holiday themed prizes were awarded to the winning table and we got an update on the latest 100 Challenges exploits of our members too. Have a peek here…

May Meeting

We had an awesome time in May with our visitors, Sister Philomena and Rev’d Sue talking about being Prison Chaplins – its was moving, horrifying and down right funny at times too. Such incredible ladies, who do an amazing job. Our 3rd Annual Plant Swap was well populated, and our decorated plant pot Challenge Cup went down well. Congratulations to Nic, who won the fabulous £400 Denman Bursary Draw.

April Meeting

We were busy this month! We held our Annual Meeting and decided on our committee and President for the following year. Newbies to the committee this year are Nicola Hatch-Lighterness and Annette De Georgio. Our President Jane, was re-elected for 2017-18. Our Vice President, Liz, Secretary, Tricia and Treasurer, Viv, all agreed to stay on in their current roles. Jane and Tricia gave reports of the year including a show of various photographs demonstrating what a busy and varied year we have had. Jane thanked all those involved, whethe rn the committee or not, for their ongoing support, and all members for their enthusiasm.

We also voted on whether we agree or not with one or both of the proposed resolutions for campaigning nationally over the next year, Alleviating Loneliness and Plastic Soup. Our Vice President, Liz, presented the cases for and against with Alleviating Loneliness and some discussion followed. It was voted ‘for’ almost unanimously. Our President, Jane, then presented the cases for and against Plastic Soup. There was quite some discussion afterwards and the vote for this one was more split with many more abstentions too. The vote was ‘for’ as well ultimately.

And we also launched our amazing 100 Challenges for the Essex Centenary with Breda, Colleen and Liz coming up to sign the first discs for having tried out a segway!

Finally, we also announced the Challenge Cup winner for this year! Which was Breda, who retained the cup for the second year running! Well done Breda! Now who is going to take up the challenge this year?!

Check out our pictures below, especially our Floral Showstopper Challenge Cup entries…

Full details of the two resolutions can be found at the following links:

Alleviating Loneliness: http://bit.ly/2oqxNTb

Plastic Soup: http://bit.ly/2pygaWi

March Meeting

We will be joined by yarn expert extraordinaire, The Crafty Heffalump, who will be demonstrated some of her amazing yarn dyeing skills to us, plus we shall be running a Freshers’ Fayre so you can find out more about all of our sub groups. Finally we will get to see more of your creative sides with our Egg Dyeing Challenge Cup!

As per previous years, we shall be collecting Easter Eggs, at our March meeting, to donate to the women and children staying at Changing Pathways (formerly Basildon Women’s Aid) this Easter. Mini eggs, small eggs, large eggs – whatever you choose.

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February Meeting

This month we are joined by some of the team from Essex Wastebusters talking to us in conjunction with the WI’s Love Food, Hate Waste campaign, about leftovers and what we can all do as individuals. The Challenge Cup details can be found by clicking on the right – we’re hoping for some tasty recipes from you all! And we have our cookery themed Swap Table. Plus… and most importantly… we have new members joining us tonight! So we’re very excited to meet them!

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January Meeting

We were joined by the lovely Kirsty from Bedfords Park Walled Garden, which is is a community-focused food growing space on the edge of London. It also sits within a nature reserve and an historical setting. It was really interesting to hear about the work that they have done and all the changes they have achieved. And also about all the edible weeds, including Japanese Knotweed.

A big well done to Top Three in our Challenge Cup photography contest.

December Meeting

That was one awesome party Belles!

November Meeting

In November we had a refuge update from Natasha about what they do with our donations and the future of the refuge. It was great to hear about the varied work they do and support that they provide. We then had a fabulous flower demonstration from Sophie of Ivy Rose florists in Brentwood, who showed us all how we could manage to produce a very impressive looking table decoration for Christmas. And the Belles surpassed themselves with some awesome miniature flower arrangements for our Challenge Cup contest. Take a look here…

Burlesque with Bunty

We had such a fabulous time, learning to burlesque with Bunty Beauford-Brown. And to top it all she was an inspirational speaker with her not uncommon experiences of the self consciousness that women can feel, and how burlesque gave her the chance to get her mojo back. Just superb. And wow, didn’t you all go to some effort with the underwear! From flashing bras, to party popper bras to rock climbing up a pair of long johns to ring the bell nestling in the crotch!

Brilliant too, to see Lesley’s home made mannequin bust. And it is great for the committee to see just how many of you actually use the website and the Facebook page. Carol and Marion report that trade was brisk for upcoming trips and additional tickets have had to be ordered for Hylands Park. So click straight through to the Tripping With The Belles page if you don’t want to miss out!

In the meantime, enjoy some memories of the October meeting:

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WOMEN IN SPORTS WEEK 2016:

We have been supporting this initiative as a WI, in line with National Federation. We decided the best way to support this was to provide members with the opportunity to try some new sports. So we organised sessions of tennis, archery, abseiling and weight lifting. Across the events we had great attendance, which was great as we tried to spread the events across the week to include daytime, evenings and weekends. The tennis has led to a regular TBBWI tennis session with a coach at Bentley Tennis Club on a Tuesday morning (see Dates page for details). The archery resulted in plenty of bullseyes – there’s definitely some hidden talent there! Abseiling was brilliant and there are some very brave ladies in our WI, who tackled the 10m (higher than a two storey house) at least once, if not twice, despite suffering from a chronic fear of heights. And the weight lifting gave several ladies the chance to try out a totally different way of keeping fit. Take a look at some of the memories below:

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SEPTEMBER MEETING:

We had a brilliant time with Sophie Biebuyck, and her hearing dog, Rusty. We heard Sophie’s inspirational story of how Rusty, her hearing dog, helped change her life. And Rusty was a superstar and lapped up all the attention.

We also had our awesome home produce swap table which did brisk trade throughout the evening and was only left with a giant marrow at the end! And finally we had a bit of a Q&A with Jane, our President, about different ideas members had and how they could help out with welcoming our trial members this autumn.

SUMMER GARDEN PARTY:

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After a grotty Tuesday, we were lucky with a lovely sunny day for our TBBWI Summer Garden Party on Wednesday. Liz kindly hosted again and did a superb job. There were around 25 Belles and 5 small people in attendance. Everyone brought food to share and that resulted in a scrumptious feast for all. From sausage rolls to paella to salads to boozy trifle and Cointreau fruit salad, plus much, much more. We won’t need feeding for days! Here’s some pictures from Margaret and Jane (click to view them close up)…

 

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JULY MEETING:

July was an awesome meeting. Very hot, but awesome! 30 degrees and little breeze in fact, according to the thermostat in the hall. However, we had the very chilled out and brilliant group, The Daisy Bowlers with us and so the evening sped by. It was also assisted with the inclusion of some rather yumptious scones and glasses of Prosecco. July’s Challenge Cup was Handmade Fans and our members didn’t let us down! The Daisy Bowlers kindly judged them for us on the attributes of waftiness and beauty!

Click on the photos to see them full size…

JUNE MEETING:

Well June was a corker of a meeting. We were joined by the lovely image consultant, Elaine Smith, and , fabulous make-up artist, Leanne Perilly, who showed us “Your Capsule Wardrobe and Make-up Bag”. We had a great time hearing from them and deciding how easily we could reduce our wardrobe to Elaine’s capsule size! Some great make-up tips from Leanne too. We were dressed to celebrate, in honour of H.M. The Queen’s official 90th birthday, and all our Belles looked amazing.

June’s Challenge Cup was: “Wish You Weren’t Here!” – we asked you to bring your worst holiday souvenir and you didn’t let us down, especially with the skull!

 

MAY MEETING:

We had a fabulous time in May, finding out all about the Essex Wildlife Trust with Tony Gunton, finding out who knows their stuff with our ‘Make Your Own Bird Feeder’ Challenge Cup competition, celebrating the Arrow Belles A Team being Essex Darts Runners Ups and Marion and Kirsty doing their sterling work hosting our Annual Plant Swap. Here’s a little reminder…

And here’s our three top entries, with Breda pipping everyone to first place again!

All in all a great evening!