Sotonettes do Death Cafe






Now, this idea may sound strange to some, but it made for a fascinating evening. As a taboo subject in our society, it was great to discuss death matters with others; topics covered included different ways of having a funeral service, such as in a community centre or football stadium, with a homemade or personalised coffin. I didn’t know other locations besides churches can be used for services, and not being religious in the least myself, this was good to find out. We also shared personal experiences such as the deaths of our own loved ones, what we think makes a good funeral, and then more medical matters like assisted dying and palliative care. Also we chatted about the Mexican festival Day of the Dead, or Dia de Los Muertos, where they celebrate the loved ones they’ve lost with decorations like sugar skulls.

There was a great mix of Sotonettes members and non, which made for a wide ranging discussion with lots of views raised. I felt there was a combination of serious and light hearted chat, with respect given to those who shared personal stories and also humour when it occurred.

Day of the Dead Sugar skulls

Day of the Dead Sugar skulls








Death Cafe is an international social franchise, run by a group of volunteers, where groups of people come together to discuss matters related to death in an informal way; it’s not a therapy session but can help people to discuss issues they may not otherwise feel able to, as it is a sensitive subject in our society. Death is a huge part of life but is often tricky to raise in everyday conversation, which is one of the aims of the cafe, to embrace it and make it more open to discussion. I definitely feel more able to chat about it without feeling uncomfortable, knowing there are like-minded people out there. Now, if only I could pick a song for my funeral!


For more info about Death Cafes, their website is:


Sotonettes committee


Today is the day….

In case you had missed it, the Women’s Institute is celebrating its centenary; and 100 years ago today the WI started in Llanfair PG, Anglesey.

The Sotonettes have been involved in cycling the Centenary Baton around Hampshire, held a traditional bunting-filled and cake-fuelled Afternoon Tea, and had a bacon-bap breakfast with the Mayor of Southampton in a Ferry Terminal. In Hampshire there has been a flash mob singing Jerusalem at the Romsey Show, and an amazing turnout of entries for the WI Competition “100 not out” at the New Forest Show (100 of which came from Sotonettes). Different Southampton WI’s have celebrated in their own ways, including yesterday when St. James’ WI had a one-woman drama and talk about the WI in Jubilee year 1965. The ways we have celebrated are as varied as the women who make up the WI.

Llainfair PG WI 1915

Llainfair PG WI 1915

Sotonettes 2015

Sotonettes 2015









I joined the WI because, well, there was a post on facebook and friend suggested we go along! Knowing nothing except I quite like craft and can be partial to jam and cake, I did not know what to expect. Three years on I’m President and proud to be part of a diverse group of women who have a range of interests and like to meet up a few times a month to craft, talk books and listen and participate in a monthly meeting on anything from burlesque to calligraphy (and anything else our members suggest!). Our competitive nature emerges at local show competitions, and the friendly nature of all local WI members is welcoming and refreshing to find.

We’d love to hear why you joined, or if you are curious to find out what we are all about you can find us in the Slug and Lettuce, Above Bar, Southampton on the last Tuesday of the month, or in the IKEA restaurant, Southampton, on the second and third Tuesdays crafting or talking book (and eating cake).

Here’s to the next 100 years, and I hope some us will still be around to celebrate (and reminisce) at any 150 year celebrations.

2016 Hampshire WI Calendar

The sample copy of this year’s Hampshire Federation calendar has arrived with the Sotonettes, and it’s filled with photographs taken by Hampshire members.

The calendar has 12 detachable postcards, handy for sending a quick note to friends and family!

You can order yours for £3.70 at the next main Sotonettes meeting (Tuesday 29 September) where the sample copy will also be on display, or drop us a message and we’ll add your name to the order!

Any surplus raised from calendar sales will be allocated to the General Funds of Hampshire WI.

Open Space Discussion: Southampton’s New Arts Venue

Sotonettes members have been invited to attend the following event on 26 September to discuss the forthcoming arts venue in Guildhall Square at The Nuffield Theatre

” A new arts venue for Southampton is currently being constructed on Guildhall Square in the centre of Southampton. This new venue will be stunning contemporary arts hub which will comprise of arts facilities for University of Southampton’s John Hansard Gallery, City Eye, and a multi-purpose performing arts centre with two flexible performance spaces and a rehearsal studio run by Nuffield.

We would like to invite you to join us for an Open Space discussion about this new venue. The event will give you the opportunity to discuss what the future looks like for the arts in Southampton, and we would love your input.

If you would like to attend this free event, please RSVP to Aidan Grounds at or call 023 8031 5500 ext. 233. ”



Hampshire Federation Christmas Sugar Craft Workshop Saturday 14 November 2015

Christmas is a while away yet, but Sotonettes members have been invited to the forthcoming Hampshire WI sugar craft workshop in Burley, where you can come along and make two Christmas-inspired cake decorations for your Christmas cake, led by Josie Smith.

Members will be able to create Christmas-inspired flowers and figures to top your cake – the two hour session will be divided into two with afternoon tea in the middle. All materials will be provided, including fondant icing and colourings.

Parking will be available at the workshop, held at Myrtle Hall, Copse Road, Burley, 2 – 4 pm.

Book now to avoid disappointment; the closing date for applications is Friday 16 October 2015.

Contact or talk to one of the committee at September’s Sotonettes meeting if you would like to book a place; tickets are £12.50 each.

New Forest Show WI Tent Committee Autumn Get-Together

Sotonettes members have been invited to attend this year’s autumn catch up for all things New Forest Show-related, hosted by the New Forest Show WI Tent Committee.

Join us at Brockenhurst Village Hall on Wednesday 14 October 2015 from 10.00 am to 12.30 pm for a coffee and a danish pastry.

Trophies will be presented, and it will be an excellent opportunity to meet up with friends, have a chat and put forward ideas for the 2016 show.

Attendance is by ticket only: for more information and to request tickets, contact the Sotonettes Secretary Parking is available free at the hall, and the deadline for tickets is Friday 18 September 2015.