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Upstairs Downstairs

Tuesday 3rd March 2015

Upstairs Downstairs


Our Upstairs Downstairs was certainly an evening of two sides (as was intended). With the glamour of our flapper girls, having a crack at the Charleston (thanks to Sarah for showing us the steps). Some great costumes, you all totally looked the part!



We all enjoyed sipping a few cocktails and trying to look sophisticated! The downstairs element to the evening was illustrated excellently through the delicious authentic 1930s steamed puddings. Thanks to our bakers Mary, Kate and Beth.The theme of the evening was inspired by a book Mary has read about the life of  a girl in service in the 1930s. Our plan had been for Mary to give a short talk on the background to it all. But alas time ran away with us (we were all having too much fun socialising over cocktails!).  So here it is for you to read at your leisure Service in the 1930s. It really is worth a read as it does make you appreciate how far we have come (in many ways) in such a short time, thanks to Mary for compiling that.



And our final photo is the epitome of Upstairs Downstairs….the cook trying to dance the Charleston with a flapper girl!

Next Meeting

Tuesday 7th April……Make Do and Mend

History of the WI

Tuesday 3rd February 2015

History of the WI….still inspiring women? (and our first “Annual”)


As we have been up and running for just on fifteen months now it was about time for our first Annual Meeting, complete with Treasurers Report (delivered efficiently by our meticulous treasurer, Mary). Mary has kept our books balanced beautifully in our first year which has been no easy task for her as she has also had a newborn to look after during this time (as well as two other little ones school age and pre-schooler!!). So our thanks to Mary for an excellent job, and our main take home message from the report is….we must do some fundraising for us to continue to enjoy the kind of fab activities we have enjoyed so far.

The President and Secretaries report was delivered which was basically a resume of what we include in the blog, from monthly meetings to extra curricular events and fundraisers. The President (Gail) gave a heartfelt thanks to members who have not only attended meetings but have participated with gusto!! The reason our institute (Valley Girls) is thriving is down to our lovely members and regular attenders who have thrown themselves into each meeting and activity with 100% enthusiasm every time! Well done ladies. Pats on the back all round!


On the subject of enthusiasm our snack club for this meeting took us to a whole new level! Jane and Liz produced two Victoria Sponges, one following an austerity wartime 1915 recipe and the other a luxurious 2015 version with plenty of sugar and fresh cream. Both delicious….not much to spare at the end of the night. A fab idea, complete with stenciled icing sugar dates! Jan and Liz have also taken on an extra role each within the federation on the sports and leisure committee. They will be keeping us informed of federation wide events and hopefully arranging some fun rounders matches in the summer months. Good work, Ladies!



Once the Annual Meeting business was dealt with we then moved on to our activity of the night which was exploring the origins of the WI and taking a whistle stop tour through it’s 100 year history. Most of the information was sourced through the NFWI website and also from the book shown above “A Force to be Reckoned With”. Kate our secretary produced an excellent quiz based on the presentation which included a multiple choice round, true and false and match the decade to the resolution. The quiz has already made it’s way to Denman (via Caroline our Federation chair) and word is it went down very well, good work Kate! A picture round by Mary also provided us with a good few laughs!!

The title of our meeting this month was “History of the WI….still inspiring women?”. Well, to answer that question in a word….yes!! The discussion which the quiz generated, the enthusiasm of participation and the offers of help for future events left us (three officers) feeling inspired….so inspired we’ll be continuing in our current roles for the coming year!!

We’re looking forward to our next decade for the coming meeting which is 1925-1935.

Next meeting Tuesday 3rd March……Upstairs Downstairs


Burlesque Dancing

Tuesday 6th January 2015

Burlesque Dancing



We kicked off our year long centenary celebrations with some burlesque dancing.


It was lovely to welcome back Julie Thomas who started us of exactly a year ago with Bollywood dancing.  Julie (with help from her friend Kim) led us through the moves of two contrasting routines. Both ladies certainly looked the part in their outfits! Fantastic!


The session was all about learning some seductive moves and some cheeky poses, as demonstrated here by the ladies.


It was the perfect session to start us off in the new year and to get us moving on a cold January evening, and we all looked pretty good too! So when are we forming the dance troupe then, ladies?!!

Next meeting

Tuesday 3rd February…History of the WI (still inspiring women?)….and some admin in our first AGM

Christmas Party

Tuesday 2nd December 2014

Christmas Party


Our first Valley Girls Christmas party managed to combine some key features of a classic WI meeting….

Chr craft3

We had crafting with the beautiful Christmas stars and table decorations.


There was socialising, and information sharing with two very good games, ideal to keep even the most jaded family party going!!


We had (on the snack table) some excellent bakes from our very talented members. Highlights included almond flavoured butter cream topped cupcakes and some very chocolatey chocolate truffles.


It was a great way to round off our first complete year as the new kids on the block (in WI terms!).  We’re now really looking forward to 2015 and the centenary celebrations. We’ll be using our carefully planned programme to explore and celebrate the WI’s 100 year history. First meeting of the new year is Burlesque Dancing to help us get moving on a cold January evening.

Chr craft 2

*****Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to ALL****

Next meeting

Tuesday 6th January 2015….Burlesque Dancing.


Christmas (speed) Crafting

Tuesday 4th November 2014

Christmas (speed) Crafting



Christmas (speed) Crafting saw us revisiting our popular Speed Crafting session from earlier this year, with a few alterations i.e. this time we were not so speedy and we had a Christmas theme.



Crafts on offer this time were felt tree decorations, Christmas cards (or gift tags) and lavender soap.DSC02201

Everyone was very busy sewing, cutting and sticking.



Soap making was less interactive as the base seemed to take ages to melt. However this gave members a good opportunity to have a catch up as the lavender fragrance wafted around the room!



And the by-product of this was a bar of lavender soap each to take home, and a good night’s sleep was had by all!


Next meeting   Tuesday 2nd December…….Christmas Party.

Cooking Demonstration…hints and tips

Tuesday 7th October 2014

Cooking Demonstration…..featuring Pampered Chef



For our October meeting we welcome Pam from the Pampered Chef who came along to give us a cooking demonstration using some of the famous Pampered Chef equipment.


She shared hints and tips for some fail safe dishes and sides, and demonstrated the wonders of some of the Pampered Chef gadgets.



Pam also lead us in an hysterical game of “Pinch Bingo” (sometimes known as “Bitch Bingo”!!) a new game for many of us at Valley Girls WI, but definitely to be repeated at some point. Lots of fun a great leveller and a good fundraiser (£50 gained for funds on the night – well done ladies!!). Oh….and just who did get that spatula?!!


After the cooking demonstration and game there was an opportunity to sample some of the delicious dishes, savoury and sweet. Some had been prepared by Pam and other by fellow Valley Girls all utilising Pampered Chef equipment. The Tipsy Trifle made by Emma was a definite show stopper! Good work Ladies!


Next  Meeting Tuesday 4th November…..Christmas (speed) Crafting!

Cocktail Mixing

Tuesday 2nd September 2014

Cocktail Mixing…and tasting!!


The perfect opener for our Autumn Programme came in the form of two dashing (!) young men from Voodoo Moon Cocktail Bar in Wrexham. Andy and Jules kindly (and foolishly…perhaps!) agreed to come and give the Valley Girls WI an introduction into the world of cocktails. Two young men, a room full of women, a generous amount of alcohol….what could possibly go wrong?!!


Andy and Jules presented us with a very knowledgeable overview of the history and development of cocktails. We learnt that many of today’s cocktails were developed during the era of prohibition in the USA (at the beginning of the 20th century) when alcohol was illegal so juices and syrups were used to disguise it. We learned a little bit about “bath tub gin”….a future meeting topic?! Perhaps not! We also learned that Jules is something of a Tequila aficionado and both chaps enjoy reading (from their extensive literature collections) about alcohol….who knew bar tenders can be geeks too?!


Four lovely ladies from the Valley Girls had a go at mixing and shaking.



No glasses were broken in the production of these cocktails!


It was a fab night, the boys were very entertaining and as stated proved themselves to be highly knowledgeable “mixologists”! The cocktails tasted amazing and certainly had more than a bit of a kick. The flavours seemed to dance on the taste buds, there was definitely some drooling on the front row, but it’s uncertain as to whether that was  down to the cocktails alone….jury’s out! An all round winner of the night was the classic Cosmopolitan….we are a group of classy ladies after all.


Thanks to Jules and Andy for a great night…find them on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/voodoo.moonbarwrexham

Next Meeting Tueday 7th October…..Cooking Demonstration (hints, tips and tasting) featuring Pampered Chef.

Coffee Morning

Tuesday 8th July 2014

Fundraiser – Coffee Morning


We were very fortunate with this date for our first fundraiser as the town was buzzing for the start of the International Musical Eisteddfod, the festival where  it is said “Wales welcomes the World”!! So a good Welsh welcome was provided in the form of cakes!




 And more cakes!!


Our members had also been busy producing craft items for sale.


We took to the streets armed with sample of our baked goods to lure the crowds in!


A sterling team effort on all fronts meant that we raised a whopping £300……excellent effort ladies!!



Now it’s time for our Summer Break.

Back in  September for Cocktail Mixing!

Summer Evening Walk

Tuesday 1st July 2014

Summer Evening Walk



Our first summer outside meeting will certainly go down in “Valley Girls WI history” as we were blessed with the balmiest of summer evenings.

We met in the car park of the Hand Hotel and were given some background information from Ros Stockdale, about the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in which we live.



The walk took us across the bridge over the River Dee.



And to the canal where we met up with another member of the AONB team, Rhys for some more facts about the area.

Our climb up towards Dinas Bran continued.


Stopping at “The Pancake”.

Timed to perfection so that we enjoyed a glass of fizz (alcoholic or soft!) and toasted a successful beginning for Valley Girls WI, just as the sun was setting!



Next Meeting

Tuesday 2nd September….Cocktail Mixing!

AGM – Leeds

Saturday 7th June 2014

National federation of Women’s Institutes AGM – Leeds



Myself (Gail – President) and Kate (Secretary) felt extremely privileged to be able to go to our first AGM within our first year in the WI.



It took place in Leeds in the First Direct Arena where over 5,000 women gathered to listen to talks, speeches take part in a debate and have a good old sing along by raising the roof with Jerusalem!! Along with Mae Hen Wlad fy Nhadau, the WI was born in Wales after all!

Guest speakers this year were Sir Andrew Motion, English poet & novelist; Dr George McGavin, entomologist, author & presenter; and Bill Turnbull, British journalist and presenter


For more information about the meeting, along with full transcripts of the Chair’s speeches see the following link to the NFWI website http://www.thewi.org.uk/media-centre/news-and-events/past-news-and-events/am-14



Being a newbie to this whole blogging m’larky I thought I would direct you (in this instance) to a piece written by a more experienced New Wave WI group namely Seven Hills WI – Sheffield. For an extremely eloquent and succinct account of the day, click on the link below. See if you can spot Kate and myself as we joined in the lunchtime meet up of the young ‘uns!


Do have a look, it’s worth a read!

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