Shoreditch Sisters strum their G strings

Also known as the meeting the ladies sort of learnt to strum a Ukelele

The Ukelele evening, was in my humble opinion one of the best meetings we have had, not necessarily because we made beautiful music, or got a grade 8 certificate in ukulele and banjo. The evening was great because regardless of whether your a proficient wind blower, or the closest you got to musical greatness was recorder in year 7, everyone can get stuck in strumming some cords and singing along to some cheesy hits.

imageour evening conductor Martin Laking of the Queen of Hoxton’s Ukulele Hootenanny left us all in no illusion that this was going  to be an evening of beautiful music. In his words… The ukulele’s not the nicest noise… But it’s the singing and playing together, or  not that really makes the evening.

The evening started with learning some pretty challenging cords…. Or three cords. Which we then played with varying skill and dexterity to murder “You are my sunshine”.

After getting fairly excellent at that, we quickly moved on to The Proclaimer’s greatest track…Five hundred Miles…we had to learn a new cord for that one, and we rounded off the evening with a Beach boys classic Sloop J B… Which none of us recognised until we got to the title, and with a full 5 cords required it was for this musician dear reader, a cord to far.

The raffle and cake was, as always, excellent. Whoever made the fairy cakes…. More please! Also every month, all the money for the raffle goes towards a Shireditch Sisters chosen charity. For the last 6 months that charity has been Luminary Bakery. In the last 6 months we have raised over £430. So keep buying tickets.

Radiant Riders cycle London to Paris!

Note to reader: Despite the trip originally being planned as just a challenge for us all, we later decided it would be a great opportunity to raise money for a worthwhile charity. If you would like to sponsor us we are raising money for Calais Kitchen, who work in refugee camps in Calais and feed over 9,000 refugees in Calais and Dunkirk daily. Thank you.

Having conquered lots of short rides in East London (usually finishing in a good pub for a well earned drink), the Radiant Riders started to think about something more challenging…and the classic cycle from London to Paris was the one that captured our imagination. Nine members signed up and the planning and training began, with a decision to follow a scenic 340km route over four days. We did plenty of training rides, learning useful things along the way, like the fact Essex is lovely, and it’s pretty hilly on the way to Brighton. A few members of the group hadn’t ridden since they were about 15 and so new bikes and learning how to maintain them suddenly became more important!

Then two weeks before D-Day disaster struck. Stef was hit by a car door when cycling home and ended up with a broken wrist – very sadly she had to pull out. (Get Well Soon Stef!)

So eight ladies set off for Paris, leaving in a range of groups, meeting up in the lovely village of Lindfield to start our journey proper.


After a pleasant 35mile ride through beautiful Sussex we made it down to the coast for the HUGE ferry to France!


We started our time in France as we meant to go on : with delicious things. After bakery products and coffee we set off on our 35 miles of the Avenue Vert – an old railway line converted to a lovely cycle path – nice and flat!!

After a relaxing lunch it was time for the hills to begin! At least hills=views


Upon arrival at our overnight stop, celebratory drinks were in order!!


The second day in France was more rolling hills. The spectacular views just about made up for the pain of pedaling up them. And then we arrived at our accommodation for the evening – a chateau!!!


After relaxing on the terrace and a eating a delicious home cooked dinner (made by the owner, not us) we retired to bed at about 9.20pm (rock and roll!).

Final day!! We set off for the final 40 miles in high spirits, knowing most of the route was through beautiful forests and we’d be in Paris for dinner.

Minor disaster with a detour for Kathryn off of a dual carriageway and Karen experiencing the only puncture of the trip, but these didn’t hold us up for long and we were soon on our way again.

We stopped to enjoy French bread, cheese and salami in an uber picnic in the genteel gardens of Versaille, before pushing on for the final stretch to the Eiffel Tower!!


As we started our final descent we turned a corner and caught our first glimpse of the city, and moments later the Eiffel Tower was revealed, standing proudly like a beacon over the rooftops. We paused to squeal and enjoy the magical moment before doing our final weave through the city streets, with the tower getting larger with every pedal stroke.

And then we made it! We were greeted by the lovely Katie and Stef at the Eiffel Tower, waiting with bottles of sparkling wine and medals to congratulate us on completing the route.


Cycling through Paris to Gare du Nord to drop off our bikes was an experience but we all survived and made it for dinner involving copious amounts of wine and ALL OF THE CHEESE.

We had a well earned relaxing Sunday in Paris and then a Eurostar journey home with more wine!

Here’s to the next challenge in 2017!!

Shoreditch Sisters get their bling on…

Pinterest Fail… or not

So August, clearly the time when people want to get their craft on! We were so happy to see so many of you joyfully abandon the sun and join us for an evening of jewellery making. The evening of crafting started with some basic (stolen from the internet) instructions on how to make rope necklaces and wire wrapped bracelets and off everyone went.

My first attempt at following my own instructions before the start of the meeting, put me very firmly in the Pinterest fail category, I ended up with the saddest bit of rope that I would struggle to get my dog to wear.

Not so, these ladies – we have some genuine gifted folk when it comes to crafting… it is the WI after all!



Forget about the price tag
Ain’t about the uh cha-ching cha-ching
Ain’t about the yeah b-bling b-bling

If any of our Shoreditch Sisters have a skill, hidden or otherwise that they want to share with the world (or the Shoreditch Sisters) and you could teach at a meeting – let one of the committee know. Or if you would just like to offer up a suggestion for a meeting, don’t forget you can email us at or you can hit us up on Facebook.

Unwrapping the Mast Brothers

Our June meeting was all about CHOCOLATE! It was a taste extravaganza, as the lovely ladies from the London branch of the Mast Brothers took us to flavour town with a talk…and samples of their chocolate making process. Mast Brothers are craft chocolate makers and according to our lovely guest speakers they are a full bean to bar chocolate makers. The roasting process is all done by hand, using similar methods to the Mayans and Aztecs. More exciting than that though was getting to see a full on cocoa pod which was still filled with its pulpy fruit – which honestly looked like an extra from the Alien movies- but it tasted ok. I’m not sure I’ll add it to my weekly fruit intake, but it was exciting to try out the mushy blob!

mushy alien fruit

We learnt about tempering chocolate…all important if you want to avoid bloom on you chocolate… That’s the white stuff you occasionally find out your chocolate that has melted in the sun, and then reset. If you heat and cool chocolate without controlling the temperature the crystallisation of cocoa butter will result in crystals of different sizes (bad crystals) forming. The key crystal is crystal number 5 apparently. 5 is the key for cocoa and coco butter to remain friends!

Aside from amazing flavours, the chocolate is wrapped in the most amazing paper. Totally beautiful designs…. Puts Wonka bars to shame!


Prints to D.I.Y for

It’s just as well our May meeting was about memory, as we needed a reminder to update the blog for April! It was actually an unforgettable evening, but we got a bit carried away with the end result and forgot to tell you lovely lot all about it.

Everyone knows the W.I likes to get crafty, and one of the ways you can spot us when we’re out and about campaigning is with our trademark banner.


Kicking off with a bumper turnout Sarah Mangan guided us through the process of screen printing with the aid of lovely assistants in the audience to help demonstrate how to put some welly in when getting the ink to stick.

With varying degrees of artistic confidence we were put to work creating cut outs inspired by SSWI’s subgroups, and activities. It became apparent that this largely involves food and drink! Between cake, chatter and pints it proved to be a productive evening, and the room was filled with “oohs” and “ahhs” as the banner came together.

By the end of the evening we had put together a beautiful banner incorporating all the things that make us the Shoreditch Sisters!

Saving the best till last, the moment we were all waiting for, Sarah added the finishing touch for the final reveal:

Coming to a street near you!



The AGM and Remembering, Forgetting, & the Science of False Memory

First things first, a WI doesn’t work without some serious behind the scenes Mafia type organisational skills. For the last year the committee has planned, organised and executed all the meetings and subgroups which we as members get to enjoy, and who without which we would be cake and raffle less. So thank you to our dedicated team of ladies, and an especially big thanks to the ladies that are leaving the committee this time round: Jo Mayhew, Louise Corden, Jasmine Didymus and  Rachael Walker. Ladies we salute you! Welcome to Caroline Brooks who has rejoined the committee this year.

Special thanks to the lovely ladies from Middlesex federation who attended our organised chaos again this year, and for braving the basements of east London.

KP VP, Our lovely Sarah of Middlesex Fed (HQ), and Angie
KP VP, Our lovely Sarah of Middlesex Fed (HQ), and Angie

Next up was the fabulous Dr Julia Shaw, so popular was her talk that it was one of our busiest evenings. Shock horror two chaps actually turned up to attend… (sorry Gents, ladies only!)

Dr Shaw
Mind Ninja!

Dr Julia  is a senior lecturer in the Department of Law and Social Sciences at London South Bank University. Julia’s talk took us through the astonishing world of memory: from why you can’t recall a name you’ve said hundreds of times to your brain creating false memories.

Basically everything you ever remember is a LIE… sort of. Every time you remember an event you are reconstructing it and have the ability to change it… Which makes us all fantastic JK Rowling style writers of our own autobiographies… such fun!

Did this meeting even happen or am I just making it up, or mis-remembering it? Do repressed memories exist? Can you make someone remember a crime they didn’t commit? In an experiment by Dr Shaw she managed to convince 70% of her participants to remember a crime they didn’t commit… she’s like a mind ninja!  But more importantly Dr Shaw’s work actually has implications when it comes to witness statements and memories of crimes.  Researchers have speculated that certain tactics may lead people to recall crimes that never occurred, and could potentially lead to false confessions. Dr Shaw’s study was one of the first studies to provide evidence to suggest that full episodic false memories of committing crime can be generated in a controlled experimental setting. If you want to read more on the study you can read the paper here.

In a crime involving a weapon people are more likely to remember details of the weapon than the perpetrator. So if you are planning on committing a crime… don’t. There’s no need to be a git.

Dr Shaw has a book out on the 16th June – The Memory Illusion: Remembering, Forgetting, and the Science of False Memory –  which you can purchase from a member of a legendary race of female warriors believed by the ancient Greeks to exist in Scythia or elsewhere on the edge of the known world (Amazon.)

Blog post by Jen Lane on behalf of Shoreditch Sisters WI

Haiku you!

How do 25 ladieez celebrate International Women’s Day? With poet, writer and performer extraordinaire Cecilia Knapp of course! And what a doozy of an evening it was. We had poetry, a workshop, some free style writing, cake and a never-ending raffle. What better way to celebrate the day, than with a group of wonderful lady chums, unearthing your latent, or not so latent in some cases, creativity.

Poet and all round amazing lady – Cecilia Knapp

For the whole bus ride home, I thought I was a poet, almost. I saw Haikus and couplets in everything, such was the enthusiasm and creative energy imbibed into our group by Cecilia. To listen and watch her perform was such a pleasure, her poetry and delivery is such a richly evocative experience that it was impossible not to feel her words relate to some part of all our experience. Her eloquent romp through love and loss, washing machines, fags made of tea and of night buses was a beautiful insight into her world and ours.

Is that you God? It’s me… Walt Whitman

Next came the moment that if this was a work away day, I’d be burrowing under my chair in the hope of escaping any part of – the get involved section! However, Cecilia is clearly a pro at putting children and grown ass women at ease! A bit of free writing and focus and suddenly everyone is Walt Whitman!

Haiku bingo was another classic game, one I’ll be busting out at all future family functions… so you can enjoy it too, below is a winner of Haiku bingo…

 Some of my parts

Not just a fanny
But a wondering mind too
Celebrate us Woo!

What’s in a name? Juliette wouldn’t have got a look in with these rose meringues.

Shout out to Linda for the AMAZING cakes… all shall now be judged by the standard of the rosewater meringue. Seriously though, any bakers out there, cake/snacks and bingo donations always welcome. Bring ’em along!