We might be unable to meet in person right now but we are still very active with our weekly blog, monthly Zoom meetings, virtual sub groups and an AfterZoom Tea most weeks. We also have some sub groups starting to meet back in person (see blog for full details) and you can find the blog here

Cancellation of March Meeting & What We Can Offer You Instead!

Following the government’s latest advice, we have had to cancel the March monthly meeting. This decision hasn’t been taken lightly and is with regret. But don’t be too disappointed as we’re nothing if not innovative at TBBWI and so it just means that things at TBBWI are going to work slightly differently for a while. First up, here’s what’s now happening with our usual monthly collections:

Refuge Easter Egg Collection
This is still happening as it will be especially important to support the families with the current situation. Many of you will have bought eggs already so please drop them to one of the addresses that has been emailed to you BY THE END OF SUNDAY 22ND MARCH. There will be a box or bag outside the house where you can leave these items.

Recycling and Refuge Clothing & Toiletries Donations
Please save these items for when our meetings resume.

Food Bank
Please, please do continue to support the Food Bank, especially at this most difficult of times – please drop your donations to one of the following locations:

Breakthru Church, 165 Hanging Hill Lane, Hutton, Essex CM13 2QH 10:00-12:00 Noon  Monday & Thursday
Doddinghurst Road Community Church, CM15 9EH 1100- 1300 Tuesday & Wednesday
Sainsburys, William Hunter Way, Brentwood 08.00 – 21.00 Box at store front

The committee will meet virtually and review the situation at the end of March. We will update you with regards to the April meeting after that.

On a more positive note, being a Belle means your membership isn’t just about the monthly meetings. There will still be the chance to take part in other Belles activities – especially important for those of you having to self-isolate.

Join in our Online Groups
For those on Facebook, we have 11 private member-only groups as follows:

First up is our main group for socialising on or off line and for company, conversation or just an online coffee break – it’s the Buddy Belles which 50 of our members are already members of:

Happy Hookers:

Online Craft Group:

The Bookworms Online:

Blooming Belles:

Plastic Free Fantastic:

TBBWI Sewing Bee:

TBBWI Wooden Spoons:

TBBWI Shooting Stars:

Business Belles:

Techno Belles Online:

Not on Facebook?
Our President, Jane, is more than happy to help set you up, in a totally secure way, so contact her on the details in your email for some help.

Socially Distanced Walks, Alfresco Brunches & Picnics
Our walking group, Heading Out With The Belles, will keep going for now just at an appropriate distance from each other!

Helping Each Other
It’s a really difficult time but especially for those in the identified vulnerable groups who may be facing 12 weeks of isolation. What WI ladies are particularly good at is helping others in times of need and rising to a challenge. Please let us know if you need a hand with shopping, if you are worried about someone or if you are self-isolating and just feeling in need of company, please get in touch for a chat by phone or email.

Contact Margaret or Jane using the details on your latest email.

And don’t forget to support your small local businesses where you get the chance as well as they are going to be hit particularly hard over the next couple of months.

Website & Email
This website will house our new weekly blog with ideas and suggestions of ways to manage the isolation both for those who don’t work and for those working from home. These will cover a variety of things from nutrition to craft to books and films and more. If you have any contributions and ideas for this, please email Jane.

Your Ideas!
If you have any suggestions of anything else we can do whilst social distancing is happening, please let us know at one of the above email addresses.

Finally and most importantly, make sure you keep safe and healthy. Keep up-to-date with the latest Public Health England and government advice here: 

February Was Cheeky!

February saw a welcome return to our favourite romantic author, and new Belle, Virginia Heath A.K.A. Sue Merritt. And Sue thoroughly entertained us especially on the subjects of Egyptian contraception, wandering wombs and hysteria consultants!

Our Challenge Cup was in support of the #ClimateCoalition #ShowTheLove green hearts campaign and Nic H-L won the Sadie Jones Challenge Cup for 2019-20 – it was a close run competition so we’re hoping to see more entries over the next year!

January Was Full Of Song

Our January meeting is full of song and we’re going to be coached to sound beautiful from an amazing vocal coach. Check back here for details after the meeting. Our Challenge Cup is to design a new £20 note for 2020 with something or someone that you think sums up 2020. It’s also our Annual Unwanted Present Swap at this meeting so we’ll be eagle eyed to see what deals there are to be done!

December we partied like it was 1999!

November we saw The Queen of Willow

October was all about Dressing The Stars

Summer Garden Party

Liz F once again very kindly offered to host our Annual TBBWI Summer Garden Party in her beautiful garden. The ladies had a wonderful time and pictures to follow shortly.

July’s Meeting: A Magical Midsummer Evening

We had a spectacularly magical evening in July where we were visited by a magician, enjoyed cocktails and mocktails and summoned our very best conjuring spells. We learnt about The Magic Circle and the history of magicians in the United Kingdom and the world and then we were wowed by some close up magic tricks!  Below are some photos from our evening including the spells that were created for the Challenge Cup!

June Meeting: Learning About Self Defence

Last month we learnt some top tips on how best to defend ourselves should we be stuck in a tight spot from Kazen Kai!. It was great fun and we all teamed up in pairs to put each other’s reflexes to the test!

For the Challenge Cup we enjoyed delicious bite-sized comfort bakes, the perfect remedy after some light cardio! We also collected lots of empty crisp packets, so we can send them for repurposing, kindly being organised by Becky Wash. Well done to everyone who remembered to bring their own cup for tea and coffee – each time we don’t ditch a single use plastic cup, we are making a difference!


May Saw Us At The Airport

Our meeting in May was great fun courtesy of our speaker Mike Benning, who talked to us about his time in the police as Silver Commander at Stansted.  We once again hosted our annual plant swap run by Marion! And for the Challenge Cup we asked you to decorate a paper plane and get ready for take off! Planes were judged on being the most attractive plane as well as the one that flew the furthest, which happened to be Liz’s which even had a tiny President Jane in it! Well done Ladies!

April Is A Fresh Start

Last month at our AGM we looked back on another successful year with reports and a presentation which highlighted all the activities over the past twelve months. After thanking committee members who were standing down, this year’s committee was appointed. We are pleased that Jane was voted president for another year supported by the committee as follows:- Tricia Dyke (Secretary), Viv Shooter (Treasurer) , Margaret Webb, Carol Allen, Liz Southgate, Nicola Hatch-Lighterness, Kirtsy Halsey, Jane Snooks, and Jess Feeney.
We then heard about this year’s resolutions, ‘Don’t Fear the Smear’ and ‘Save local buses’ including some very personal accounts. Members voted almost unanimously to support these campaigns. The temporary venue with bar was much appreciated!


March Saw the Return of Viv’s Quiz!

We all enjoyed Viv’s topical quiz which drew inspiration from speakers we had listened to over the past year. Well done to Table Three who were victorious! Thank you again to Viv for organising and to Liz S. for collating all of the scores.

The Belles were challenged to create a photograph of an everyday object from an unusual angle.  There was an array of interesting and creative shots. Congratulations to Nicola who brought a whole new perspective to the iconic teapot!

Lastly but by now means least, there was a very impressive collection of donated Easter Eggs and tinned meat. We have since heard from the Food Bank that we donated a whopping 51.55kgs of food from our tinned meat donations! Tinned meat was desperately needed and this will go on to feed lots of families in need. Thank you for yet again rising to the challenge!

February Got A Little Bit Romantic!

This month we were joined by historical novelist Virginia Heath who talked to us about The Glorious 1800s. The first Challenge Cup of the new cup year was for Best First Sentence To A Romantic Novel and we presented the Challenge Cup for last year to Elizabeth Ross. Congratulations!

We Started 2019 With A Clear Out!

We started 2019 in style with Channel 4’s fabulous Declutter Divas, Alison and Zoe. They talked to us about how to declutter, as well as telling us about their own experiences. The Challenge Cup this month was for Healthy Cakes and wow did we have a great selection, thank you Belles!


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