Blue Belles in July – Picnic, Fete, Tea and Tents and Dragonflies

It’s been a busy month of July for the Cambridge Blue Belles!

Our July meeting saw a group of Belles brave a chilly (but luckily dry!) evening to picnic on Jesus Green. Highly competitive games of Pictionary and Pick Up Sticks kept everyone entertained, and in a WI first – no one brought cake!

The Blue Belles also had a stall at the Girton Village Fete on the 12th of July, joining the Cambridge Ladybirds and Girton WIs in the aptly named ‘WI Alley’. The sun shone brightly (thank you Jill from Girton who produced a parasol to shade two Blue Belles who were rapidly turning pink!), and we did a brisk trade in our jams, jellies and lavender bags. Proceeds are going towards this year’s Dig for Denman bursary.

On the 17th of July, a group of intrepid Blue Belles travelled to the Walesby Forest Outdoor Centre for the 2nd Tea and Tents event. Tea and Tents started in 2014, as a weekend of camping and activities for WI members. This year, around 500 members from all across England and Wales descended upon a campsite in Nottinghamshire for a fab weekend.

Eight Blue Belles made the trip, joining up with members from Cam City and Ladybirds WIs to create a Cambridge tented city, complete with gazebos, teapots and plenty of bunting.

A number of activities took place across the weekend including: pilates classes, flower crown making, climate bunting decorating, archery, rock wall climbing, tea duelling, school sports day games, yoga, zumba, axe throwing, swimming, canoeing, and a Saturday night campfire singalong with marshmallows. There was also a Speakers Corner, where Blue Belle, Joanne, spoke about Daisy Change WI, which meets at Fulbourn mental health service.

 The Cambridge WIs fielded a number of winners across the weekend, including a winning quiz team, a Sewing Bee winner and a Bake Off category winner (ask Kara for her prize winning chocolate cake recipe!).

And last but certainly not least, a number of Blue Belles spent Saturday the 25th of July at Cambridge Federation Headquarters at a Wirework Workshop (say that 5 times fast!). The day was spent getting to grips with bending and wrapping wire and beads to produce a dragonfly, able to be worn as a necklace or put on a keyring.

From Denman with Love, Fresh Spuds & Jam + Anecdotes from the Army’s First Female Bomb Disposal Officer

Belles’ July meeting saw the coming together of all of the best bits and bobs the WI has to offer – stories from Denman college, fresh veg and jam from our Dig for Denman allotment and the stories and laughs galore compliments of an inspiring woman – the army’s first female bomb disposal officer.

To start, Butterfly Crafts founder and Blue Belle, Victoria, let us all in on her four day Denman experience of patchwork quilt making for beginners. Relayed back to us with all the passion possible, Victoria described her time at Denman as one she would love to repeat again very soon with top notch tutors, round the clock support no matter what challenges were presented and most of all, a fantastic sense of the joy and fun involved in being in the WI! Denman, you’ll certainly be seeing this Belle again!

Victoria gets ready to show us her newly acquired patchwork talents

Speaking of all things Denman, July’s cropping season has kicked off big time on the Belles’ Dig for Denman allotment and this meeting saw the sale of our very own garlic, onions, spuds a plenty (a pound a bag – bargain!), basil, spider plants AND our very first jam!

Basil and spider plants 
Our first crop of spuds!
That’s cheap!


Using the finest of ingredients grown by the Belles, the jars of strawberry, raspberry, rhubarb and apple jam were topped with a beautiful signature Belles hat, stamped with our lovely logo and sold out within minutes! The added bonus is that with every bite the Belles get closer to funding a Denman bursary for a fellow member – so its a win win across the (veggie/fruit) patch!

Made for Belles, by Belles

Our crafter in resident, Holly, who also sits on craft Committees at both Federation and National level, brought her lovely wares to sell at the meeting and told us what a day in the life is like to be so active ‘behind the scenes’ at the WI.

A glimpse of Holly’s wares

After a refreshment consisting of homemade cake and raffle tickets a plenty (check out the photo of our raffle prizes – including earrings made by uber talented Seven Hills WI member, Laura B and the biggest potato of the bunch from the allotment!), the Belles took audience with Lucy Lewis, the Army’s first female bomb disposal officer.

No one could have prepared us for the hilarity that Lucy was to dish out in her relentlessly humours stories about life amongst hundreds of the opposite gender and what it is like to try to diffuse a bomb – to then realise it was actually planted by a cow following excessive grass eating – rather than a commander somewhere in the tall grass!

Lucy Lewis, 

Lucy’s candid and open account of what it is really like to be a girl in a ‘boy’s world’ was also sobering to hear and lead most to believe that the armed forces have certainly stepped in the right direction, thanks to people like Lucy, but their journey forward continues!

Next month we’re picnicking on nearby Jesus Green with a fab funky Cambridge themed photo quiz! Bring on the group couscous!