Cupcake Decorating – 24th April 2012

Another month and another amazingly successful Sotonettes meeting!

Our April meeting was Cupcake Decorating with Hannah from the Hannah Banana Bakery, which was great fun! We had another fantastic turn-out, in fact we had so many of you come along we ran out of seating and sadly couldn’t accommodate everyone.

Our committee put in a sterling effort on the baking front, churning out around 200 cupcakes for the meeting, including both vegan and gluten free options. The rest was left to the lovely Hannah, who came fully prepared with huge amounts of fondant and (vegan) buttercream.

Hannah is the lady behind the Hannah Banana Bakery, a Southampton based vegan bakery that she runs single-handedly from her home. Her cakes are always beautifully decorated and receive fantastic reviews, and we were so grateful for her giving up her time to come and teach us all how to create beautiful cupcakes.

Hannah took us through handling fondant, how to colour it and how to make it dry hard to hold it’s shape. We then used cutters and moulds to make flowers, butterflies, buttons and love hearts out of our coloured fondants. Everyone got really involved and seemed to have great fun playing with the fondant (it is basically edible playdough!), and some of us got really messy too!! We clearly have some very creative members, as there were so many great sugary creations being turned out all over the room.

Once we’d got well and truly to grips with the fondant creations, Hannah took us over piping buttercream. There were two different nozzles to experiment with and different ways to use each one – working from the inside out to create a rose effect, from the outside in to get a great peak of buttercream or making smaller spikes of buttercream all over the cake.  We started testing the techniques on paper plates before putting buttercream to cake and adding our fondant decorations, sprinkles, sparkles and other fancy cupcake pretty things!!

To end the night, we had a couple of awards for ‘Best Decorated Cupcake’. The judging was actually pretty tough, as the standard was really high and there were so many pretty (and yummy looking) cakes. In the end we picked Heather and Sarah as our two winners, for their use of a range of different techniques and well presented final cakes. Congratulations ladies!

It was a really good night, and we hope you all had fun too! We would like to apologise again to any of you who we couldn’t fit in; it’s really hard to know how many of you will turn up, but we will always endeavour to accommodate as many of you as possible. Members will never be turned away – so to guarantee your place, join up!

A few reminders from announcements on the night;

  • We are arranging a trip to The New Forest Show on Tuesday 24th July. Booking in advance, tickets are £15.20 each, although we can get a group discount if we get more than 12 of us to go. The plan is to get the train from Southampton Central to Brockenhurst (£6.40 return) then using the shuttle bus service from Brockenhurst station to the show ground (£3 return). Driving around Brockenhurst is pretty crazy at the best of times, but if you would like to drive yourself feel free.
  • We will be having a WI tent at the Ejector Seat festival in Palmerston Park, Southampton  on Saturday June 2nd. We will be selling bee themed items to raise money for the WI campaign to protect the honey bee. If you would like to make items for our tent, help us (wo)man the tent or would like to have your own stall at the event, do get in touch.
  • There are plans to have a sewing day for our Days for Girls campaign at some point in the future, details will be circulated in the members newsletter.
  • Our next meeting will be on Tuesday 29th May, in the Soul Cellar (change of venue!). Jean Johnson, a member of the Hampshire County Federation of Women’s Institutes, is coming to speak to us about her campaigning on the legalisation of prostitution. Jean has travelled the world to see examples of how legalised prostitution really works to improve the lives of the women involved. Jean is also an avid shoe fanatic, so wear (or at least bring along) your best footwear!

Thank you all for your continued support, we hope you are enjoying being a part of the WI and the Sotonettes as much as we are.

As ever, if you have any questions, queries or comments, either leave a comment here, use the contact form on the website or email us at

Best Wishes for May!

Sotonettes Committee


Speed Crafting

Our meeting on March 27th, only the second meeting of the Sotonettes and our first proper activity since becoming a WI, was Speed Crafting!

Speed Crafting was our WI take on speed dating, a lot of tables with different crafty activities to try out for 20 minutes, before moving on to the next craft! While a lot of us were already quite crafty, there were also a lot of ladies who definitely didn’t feel very crafty, or hadn’t tried out some of the crafts on offer before. This was a great way to get people involved in trying out something they hadn’t tried before, maybe learn a new skill, discover a passion for craft they didn’t know they had and, if nothing else, have some fun with new and old friends!

At the start of the meeting, two police officers from Hampshire constabulary and Katie from Southampton Rape Crisis were kind enough to come along and give us a talk on personal safety in Southampton. On the night after our first meeting there were 3 attacks on women around the city, which really brought home the need to be safe in getting around after dark. Please stay safe when travelling to our meetings, if you travel alone and are worried let us know and we can try to pair you up with someone travelling in your direction.

After the announcements, it was time to get down to all the fun of speed crafting. There was an origami table, with our own committee member Christabel teaching us how to make origami stars and cranes from old magazines. Our president Emma showed us how to make really simple roses out of felt and corsages out of tape measures. Out campaigns lady, Hannah, was on the Days for Girls table, telling us all about the campaign and how to get involved – from donating bags, soaps and fabric, to cutting out patterns and sewing the sanitary items together. As well as our own committee members, we had Sarah Filmer come along with and her Blue Jumper knitting project and showing people how to knit, as well as Tina Adams showing us how to make and decorate cards, including some fancy heat embossing.

The whistle was blown and we all got crafting. It certainly seemed like everyone really enjoyed everything they got to try out, and got to take home some of their own beautiful creations (how often can you say that about Speed Dating?). After 20 minutes, the whistle went again, and we all moved on to the next craft table. While 20 minutes might not seem like a long time to learn a craft or create something, it was great to get a taster of so many different crafts that you could try again at home – I know some of you have definitely been giving them a go since the meeting, next time we’ll all be decked out in felt flowers, origami stars and knitted scarves (or is that just me?).

If you really enjoyed a particular craft, didn’t feel you had enough time to learn properly or would like to try something we didn’t have on the night – don’t forget we have our ‘Ideas Line’ up at meetings where you can make suggestions for things you’d like to do with us in future.

The blog has developed quite a lot lately. We now have a galleries tab, with pictures from past events and meetings. If you have taken any pictures you would like to have added to a gallery, email them to us and let us know who is in them and when they were taken.

Our next meeting is on Tuesday 24th April. If you have any questions about us, our meetings or becoming a member; leave a comment here, visit our facebook or website, or email

We hope to see you at our next meeting,