Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Our first trip

Roll up, roll up ladies who's up for a tour round a local vineyard and a chance to try their wine?

On August 21st we will be heading over to Wraxall Vineyard on our first ever WI trip. The tour and tasting cost £5 per person and we will book a minibus if you would like (for a small additional charge) so we don't have to drive.

Fun times! If you are interested please get in touch by email WI.frome@gmail.com or via our Facebook page www.facebook.com/FromeWI

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Our questions for...Helen Skelton

Helen Skelton joined the Blue Peter team in 2008 and has since gone on to complete some amazing physical challenges. She has kindly found time in her really busy schedule to answer some of our questions.

Image credit: Ruth Crafer

In 2009 she became only the second woman ever to complete the Nambia Ultra Marathon – a gruelling 78 mile course through the Namibian desert, which she finished in under 24 hours. Two weeks later she was back in her running shoes, taking part in the London Marathon for Leonard Cheshire Disability.

In early 2010 she decided to push herself further by kayaking 2,010 miles down the Amazon in support of Sport Relief. Along the way she broke two Guiness World Records; the longest solo journey by kayak, and the longest kayak by a woman in 24 hours.

Never one to rest on her laurels, for her Comic Relief challenge in 2011 Helen drew inspiration from "Man on Wire" and decided to train in the art of highwire walking. A BBC1 special, Girl On Wire, followed her progress from her first tentative steps three feet off the ground, to her spectacular 150 meter long, 66 meter high walk between the towers of Battersea Power Station.

All of these remarkable achievements however were utterly eclipsed by her latest challenge for Sport Relief. In January 2012 Helen travelled 500 miles across Antarctica to the South Pole by ski, kite and bike, enduring temperatures of -48 degrees. However even that wasn’t enough to stop her breaking another world record by becoming the fastest person to travel 100km by kite ski. Her entire journey from day one of training through to completing her challenge was broadcast in a nine part series of Blue Peter Specials on BBC1.

Q: Out of the physical challenges that you have done was there ever a moment where you just found it too hard/scary and thought you couldn't complete it?

A: During the 80 mile run I did in Namibia after 26 miles I was on the floor in tears, I was so sunburned I had nothing left in my legs and I was starting to hallucinate through dehydration. It was awful but I just didn't want to come home and say to people I had failed. The thought of that made me get up and keep going.

Q: Do you find you are ever written off because of your looks (a young, attractive woman is not usually associated with extreme physical achievements)? And how do you combat this?

A: Constantly, the other runners at the ultra marathon said to me "you won't finish so just enjoy it." As long as you know who you are and what you have to offer, the things other people say shouldnt affect you

Q: Do you have any tips for how to complete endurance running races? I am trying really hard to train (only for a half marathon!) and am not sure I'd ever be able to run a full marathon although I'd like to!

A: Don't over think it. If you can run 5 miles, break a run down into 5 miles at a time, take it bit by bit.

Q: Is there a challenge that you'd really like to do in future?

A: I want to do a team event, and I would like to do an ironman.

Q: How important do you find things like sports massage/post training care? Do they really make a difference to recovery/performance?

A: I don't take sports massage and diet seriously enough. I find if I eat and drink a lot I can get through endurance events. My attitude towards food has changed since I started running. I have cake and biscuits guilt free. They are food!

Q: What sport or exercise do you do for fun?

A: I play tennis and squash against my fiancé, I love going out on my bike but the thing I do everyday is go out with my dog.

Q: The WI motto is 'inspiring women' - who do you find inspiring?

A: Chrissie Wellington is my hero. I was hugely inspired by Ellen Mcarthur as a teenager.

Q: How do you decide what challenges to complete? Do you look for records to break (e.g. the longest solo kayak down the Amazon), activities you'd like to try or are you presented with options?

A: It is always about doing something new for the audience. I don't like setting records, you get too much criticism for the elite pele who do that particular sport but my boss loves them from a tv point of view. I set them I don't break them.

Q: How have you found the label 'role model' that must come with being a Blue Peter presenter? Is it more of a burden than you expected before you took the job?

A: It's an honour to be called a role model but most of the time I just talk out loud so I think there are people who deserve it more than me.

Q: And lastly, what's your favourite cake?

A: Lemon drizzle

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

July Meeting Minutes

WI monthly meeting – Thursday 19th July 2012
Speaker – David Hill - Paralympian
Activity – Cake Pops

This evening we were first visited by a photographer from the Standard, who took a few photos of all our lovely ladies next to the fantastic David Hill (Paralympic swimmer).


· Laura has arranged a new poster which will now be available to see along with pin badges to buy
· WI Facebook site – advertising businesses will now be strictly limited to WI members only. The committee will monitor this and will delete any posts by non-members
· Help is needed at the NCT/WI cheese show on the 8th September. This tent will be providing changing facilities for mums and babies, feeding areas and refreshments. WI will support this in honour of the year of the midwife. Any helpers will get a free ticket to the cheese show
· We have been offered a table at the Frome Artisan market. One on 5th August and one on 2nd September. We need volunteers to bake for the stall and also to help for an hour or so on the stall. Handicrafts can be sold (quality things only) and anything sold will be given a 50:50 share
· Yarn bombing (street art but with knitting/crochet) We need volunteers to knit and to put up in the designated place (to be confirmed) Information will be up on Facebook and emailed
· Emma would like to arrange a non-craft activity for all those keen walkers or bikers. Please contact her if you would like to join in a walk or bike ride soon
· There will be a group trip to a vineyard at Wraxhall. £5 a person to have some fun and drink a few wines!

David Hill

We then heard the most inspiring speech from David Hill. At only 23, he told us of his life as a professional athlete and how he first got into swimming, right through to becoming a finalist in the backstroke, representing Great Britain at the 2004 Olympics and the present day.

He could swim at 3 years old and by the time he was 12 was talented spotted. He talked about his technique in the water and how is disability has led to his legs being incredibly strong and his main source of power.

His parents were totally behind his dream and supported him through boarding school to train as a swimmer. Trying to fit in school too was a struggle and David’s main message to all children now is to never ever give up on your dream, but also don’t sacrifice your education for your sport. He spoke about his training and the amount he has to eat in order to replace all his energy spent in the pool, every day eating 7 proper meals! (lot of envious ladies!)

He is now retired at 23. His next aim is to compete in the triathlon, adapting his bike to suit his disability, but he is also starting to train as a carpenter and joiner. He has custom made gadgets that fit on to a prosthetic arm in order to help him complete his woodwork skills such as a clamp, a hammer, or leveller for sawing.

His whole attitude was one of absolute passion for his sport. He felt he wanted to give others a ‘run for their money’ and always kept in mind that it wasn’t that he couldn’t do something, he just needed to find a way round it and adapt. He delivered his speech with humour and skill and made everyone feel comfortable about asking questions. A true star!

David will be volunteering at the Olympics this year as he was not allowed to compete due to an appendix operation. You may also hear him doing some commentary on Radio 5 live.

Cake pops

Storm and Laura then demonstrated how to make cake pops (balls of decorated cake on a stick!) All had a go and loved it! Other links up on the FB page.

New name for the WI

Sophie ran a group during the session to collect new names for the group. The suggestions will be discussed by the committee and then put up on Facebook for a vote.

A fantastic night as always!

Saturday, 21 July 2012

July meeting pictures

As the London 2012 games approach our July meeting featured a talk from professional athlete David Hill. As a swimmer he has won bronze medals in both the world and European championships as well as representing Britain at the 2004 Athens Paralympics.

Credit: Team Bath

The talk was really interesting and amongst other things we learned about life as a professional athlete (hard), how much he has to eat to fuel such activities (lots) and what he plans to do in the future (epic). David was an inspirational speaker who left us all feeling slightly in awe of the dedication required to achieve at such a high level.

If you would like to find out more information about David please visit his Team Bath page, or we can pass on your details if you would like to get in touch.

After David's talk we had a break allowing everyone to try the amazing cheese based baked goodies brought in by our members. There have been lots of requests for recipes so we will post these up as soon as we can.

We also had a table where members could suggest alternative names for our branch. There were lots of ideas and we will collate and share them with you ASAP.

Lastly, Storm and Laura did a demonstration on how to make cake pops.

They are delicious and very easy to make. The recipe has been put on the blog if you would like to have a bash.

Once the demo was over everyone had a go at the final steps of cake pop making - taking the rolled cake balls...

Dipping them in melted chocolate, decorating them and eating them!

A huge thank you to David Hill for a brilliant talk - good luck for the future!

Thanks to everyone who brought cheese bakes, drinks or donations. The cake and drinks tables are maintaining a super high.

And thank you to everyone that came on Thursday - it's a pleasure to spend an evening with you!

Next month
In our August meeting we will be hosting a talk from Bramble and Wild on Catherine Hill and they will teach us how to make beautiful jam jar posies.

The meeting is free to members or £3 for visitors.

Please bring your own jam jar and flowers if you are able. If you would like these supplied then there will be a £2 charge.

Please could you let us know - either by email WI.frome@gmail.com or on the Facebook event if you plan on attending and whether you would like us to supply flowers/jam jars?

Friday, 20 July 2012

Cake pops recipe

Cake pops are the new macaroons which were the new cupcakes, or something. Anyway they are super easy to make and very delicious to eat.

Credit: BBC

Here is the recipe for cake pops from our July meeting.

Cake: this recipe uses 1 chocolate sponge made in a loaf tin, but this could be replaced with any sponge or fruit cake. You can either make a cake or buy a ready made sponge (shh no one will ever know).

Icing: this recipe uses chocolate fudge butter icing but you could use any thick, spreadable icing or frosting. Again you could make your own or buy ready made.

Chocolate, melted: we used white chocolate.

Sticks: we used white chocolate Mikados but you could use lollipop sticks or candy sticks. In fact Mikados turned out to be a bit unsuccessful with warm hands as they snapped so don't use them!

Decoration: sprinkles, sparkles, whatever takes your fancy


1. Bake cake and leave to cool completely. Or take cake out of packaging!

2. Cut crusts off of cake. This will ensure there are no lumps in your finished cake pops.

3. Crumble the sponge into a bowl. The finer the sponge the better. You could use a food processor to do this, your hands or a knife.

4. Add a tablespoon of icing to the sponge crumbs and mix with your hands. Keep adding one spoonful of icing at a time until the mixture comes together in a dough like consistency and forms one large ball. Too little icing and the mixture won't hold together, too much and it will be sloppy. This is a crucial stage!

5. Refrigerate for at least half an hour.

6. Now roll ping pong sized balls of cake mixture and place onto a lined baking sheet.

7. Refrigerate for at least half an hour.

8. Break the white chocolate into an oven proof bowl and put into the microwave on 20 second blasts until melted. Be careful not to over cook or the chocolate will separate.

9. Put a blob of melted chocolate on the end of a stick and push into a cake ball. Do this for each cake ball and leave the chocolate to dry. This will only take a minute or so and the chocolate will act like glue to hold the stick in place.

10. Now dip each cake ball into the melted chocolate ensuring an even coverage. Stand the cake pop upright to dry - you could use a cup, jam jar, floristry oasis, whatever you have to hand.

11. Before the chocolate dries add your decorations. For inspiration google 'cake pops' there are hundreds of pages of inspiration. If in doubt hundreds and thousands look quite nice.

12. Sit back, feel smug at your baking wonder and eat cake pops.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Frome WI on the Radio

Did you hear us on the radio this morning?

Thanks to the fantastic Frome FM Breakfast Show for inviting us in this morning to talk about the new Frome WI.

Laura and Sophie on air

DJs Alice and Ben

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Our questions for...the Mayor

Next in our series of interviews is a Q&A with Cllr Pippa Goldfinger who was elected Frome Town Mayor in May 2012.

Q: What is your highest priority for your time in office?
A: My highest priority is to increase public participation in all aspects of the community and with the Town Council itself.

Q:What's your vision for Frome over the next few years?
A: To improve the physical appearance of the town, especially the centre. Establish the Neighbourhood Plan so that future developments in Frome are of a high standard and we get the right economic balance – Frome must not become a dormitory town! Also to increase community engagement.

Q: What is the most challenging aspect of being mayor?
A: Dealing with stuffy protocol!

Q: What is the biggest impact the government’s austerity measures will have on Frome?
A: Both Mendip and Somerset councils have pulled back funding in many areas, leaving Frome Town Council to pick up the pieces. This often seems unfair.

Q: What do you think Frome could do to encourage greater financial investment/development?
A: We have already made a start by employing a new and talented economic regeneration officer with great experience who is both excited and enthusiastic about working in Frome. We are also one of the government’s front runners in the ‘Neighbourhood Plan’ – where the public get to shape the future development of Frome.

Q: How do you plan to engage with more people, actively get people building communities we are proud to share & live in?
A: In our September newsletter we will include projects proposed by members of the community which the public can vote on to receive grants in order to carry these proposals out. Our aim is to get people involved in rather than commenting on community projects. We also currently run ‘working groups’ where the public help us to shape policy and carry out projects using their expertise and enthusiasm. The Town Council is compiling a database of all community groups in Frome so that people who want to get involved can join an existing group.

We’ve also invited people to come and speak at the start of Full Council meetings and Committee meetings. It would be great if the W.I. came along at some point to give us a presentation on what you are upto.

Q: Why will you be different from any other mayors?
A: All mayors are individual but in recent years Frome mayors have broken from tradition to reflect both their personalities and the changing face of Frome. I intend to follow this model.

Q: Why should we be interested in a town mayor? what can you do which will make a real difference?
A: The mayor can provide a focus for the public and can communicate what the Town Council is trying to achieve to the public. It’s a community role. If you’re interested in your community you should be interested in the mayor and your town council

Q: Are you excited about waving for hours in the carnival procession?
A: I will be waving graciously as a mayor should, but please look out for my entourage!

Q: And finally, a very WI question. What is your favourite cake?
A: It’s got to be a ‘Tarte de Naranja’ a Spanish almond and orange cake from Claudia Roden’s Mediterranean Cookery.

For more information about the mayor and Frome Town Council have a look at their Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/FromeTownCouncil

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Wells WI Summer Party

Last night a couple of us went over to Wells to visit the WI for their summer party. Lucy Silk, the Wells president, has been really supportive during the set up of the Frome branch so it was great to see her in action.

The evening was themed 'At the Races', there was Pimms, homemade elderflower, a bake off of strawberry themed items and mouse racing. Yes mouse racing, I didn't know that was possible either!

The Wells ladies were all very welcoming and it was lovely to attend another branch and see how they operate.

After a few Pimms and some cake, Frome WIer Muriel Lavender treated us to some of her poetry. She looked fab (as always) and was hilarious.

So all in all a brilliant evening - thanks Wells WI!