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.

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.

Last call: Denman Day with the PDSA, ballot closes Tuesday 8 September

Sotonettes members have been invited to apply for tickets for the forthcoming Denman Day, Oxfordshire, in conjunction with the PDSA. A ballot to allocate tickets will be held on Tuesday 8 September, so you’ve still got time to apply if you like the sound of a wonderfully informative and deliciously entertaining trip out to Denman on 29 October 2015…

In a very special event, the WI welcomes PDSA and two of its celebrity supporters to Denman to share in a day of knowledge, nostalgia and baking!

TV vet Steve Leonard and PDSA Director General Jan McLoughlin will talk more about the work of PDSA, and TV chef and PDSA supporter Colin McGurran will share how he became involved with the charity following his success on the BBC’s Great British Menu. Colin will also be giving a very special baking demonstration during the afternoon and will take questions from the audience.

To find out more, click here, or find the application form here.

Good luck!

The Romsey Show, Saturday 12 September 2015, Broadlands Park

A last call to arms for all you crafters out there…


It’s now just three weeks to the Romsey Show, Broadlands Park, Romsey!

Sotonettes members have been invited (individually or as a group) to enter the WI Tent Craft Competition. The categories are:

• Individual Entry: “Jam and Jerusalem” – any craft
• Group Entry: “This Green and Pleasant Land”

And for the WI meets Bake off…..

• WI Sugar Craft Competition: 100 Years of the WI – 3 hours on 12 September in the WI Tent to create something wonderful out of sugar paste!

More information can be found here and at, plus see what our former President, Hannah Farmer, had to say about last year’s event.

Planning Ahead: New Year Country House Party at Denman

It’s quite early to start thinking about Christmas, but the WI is not to be sniffed at when it comes to forward planning! Here’s a recent posting we received from Denman about this most festive of occasions…

Celebrate a wonderful centenary year by joining us for the traditional Denman New Year House Party on the 30 December 2015 to 2 January 2016. Visit our Georgian manor house and seventeen acres of parkland for three nights of pure indulgence and get the chance to chat with like-minded people about all the centennial antics you’ve experienced during 2015.

The price of £519 for WI members and £549 for non-members includes plenty of workshops so you can learn new skills, a wide variety of entertainment, such as a band, a seasonal quiz and a visit to the local pantomime, and all of your meals, with an extra special celebration dinner on New Year’s Eve. It certainly is not to be missed!

Visit for more information and to book.