2020 Meetings

December 9th 2020

December Social with Seasonal Cross Stitch

We got crafty in December, with members taking part in some seasonal cross-stitch led by avid cross-stitcher and committee member Bridget. Bridget took us through the basics step-by-step, and members created their own designs while chatting to other Blue Belles using Zoom breakout rooms. Just look at some of our creations!

November 11th 2020

Fish, Chips and Sea Folk

In November we were joined by Andy Malcolm, Fundraising Manager for the Fishermen’s Mission in the East of England. The Fishermen’s Mission is a charity that provides emergency support alongside practical, financial, spiritual and emotional care to fishermen, active or retired, and their families. We learnt about the realities of modern life in the fishing industry, the challenges that fishing families face, and the invaluable support that is provided by the charity. Our members really value community and friendship, and these were some of the many facets of the charity that really stood out in Andy’s talk.

The talk was sobering and informative, but was also delivered with a good dose of fun; Andy taught us about the history of fish and chips, and we took part in a quiz. His enthusiasm and passion for the charity really stood out.

October 14th 2020

We’re Jamming

In October we were joined by Heather Greenhalgh from Fen End Country Kitchen, a local producer of chutneys, jams and curds. Based in the Cambridgeshire village of Over, her products are made by hand to traditional and modern recipes, often with a twist of their own. They use natural ingredients, many of which are locally sourced or foraged and in many cases, organic.

The committee put together sample pots for members (which were picked up in a socially-distanced way!), and while Heather talked to us about her recipes, methods and flavours, we got to taste some of them ourselves.

September 9th 2020

Japanese-Style Fabric Mending

Jemma Dell of The Yelling Pig joined us in September, to teach us about about the modern movement towards sustainable fashion and the creative approach that is Visible Mending. We learnt about the old Japanese traditions of ‘Boro’ and ‘Sashiko’, and followed along with a few different techniques.

The pictures below show some of the projects that we completed during and after the meeting. If you’d like to find out more, Jemma recommended searching for #visiblemending, and taking a look at this website.

Jemma offers spinning, weaving and sewing classes and tuition, and can be contacted at http://www.yellingpig.co.uk/, or found on Facebook.

August 12th 2020

Summer-themed Drink and Draw

We couldn’t meet in person for our summer social, but that wasn’t going to stop us getting together for a catch-up. So we took to Zoom once again, had a natter and a drink, and drew or painted some lovely summer-themed pictures. Here are the results…

July 8th 2020

The Universe and the Search for Life

The great thing about Zoom meetings is that your speaker doesn’t have to live locally, but can be based anywhere in the world! We were delighted to be joined in July by Ted von Hippel, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Florida, USA. Ted’s areas of expertise include observational astronomy, star formation, history of the galaxy, stellar evolution, white dwarfs and direct air capture of carbon dioxide.

Ted’s talk took us to Mars, Jupiter’s moons and beyond, and concentrated on the question of whether there is any other life in the universe and, if so, how we locate it. The talk was really interesting, and Ted made the subject really accessible.

June 10th 2020

Ali’s Baltic Bakes

We were delighted to host Alison Lusis in June, who launched Ali’s Baltic Bakes in November 2014. Not only did she tell us all about Pīrāgi, but she also gave us a live demonstration of how to make them. The little yeast dough pies are a favourite amongst the Baltic and Eastern European nations, prized for their bite-sized convenience and adaptability. Ali produces her Pīrāgi from an original Latvian family recipe handed down by her father-in-law and she has developed her own fillings inspired by the flavours of the Baltic region, using locally sourced ingredients wherever possible. She is the winner of a Great Taste Award.

Pīrāgi are perfect for celebrations such as Christmas, Easter, mid-summer festivals, birthdays and more, and Ali sells regularly at markets and fairs, as well as taking private orders. We can’t wait to try some!

A wonderful drawing by our very talented Belle Abi.

May 13th 2020

The Pixie Gardener

During lockdown, as we were told to stay at home and allowed out only once a day for exercise, gardening exploded in popularity. Whether it was the need for outdoor space, the desire to connect with nature, the benefits to our mental health, the desire to ‘grow your own’, or the need to fill our time as we were on furlough, many of us found a new interest in our outdoor spaces. So we were delighted in May to welcome Anna Jackson, the Pixie Gardener, for a gardening talk and Q&A. Anna taught us how to make the most of the space in our gardens, however big or small they might be, and the best plants to grow for the local conditions. We learnt environmentally-friendly ways to keep the bugs at bay, and were given a list of good local suppliers of garden plants and equipment.

Anna was a fantastic speaker who filled us all with enthusiasm!

April 8th 2020

Poetry and Pets

For our first Zoom meeting in April we were joined by local poets Claudine Toutoungi and Rebecca Watts, who treated us to readings from their poetry collections. Claudine read to us from her collection ‘Smoothie’, which was published by Carcanet in 2017, and Rebecca from her debut poetry collection ‘The Met Office Advises Caution’, as well as from her forthcoming collection ‘Red Gloves’.

Listening to Claudine and Rebecca was a real treat, and we also got to hear about their journeys, experiences and inspirations during a Q&A.

Claudine has completed the BBC Doctors Writers’ Shadow Scheme and was a 2018 recipient of Extant Theatre Company Tim Gebbels’ Bursary. Her poems have appeared in publications including The Guardian, The Spectator, The Financial Times, Poetry (Chicago), Magma, PN Review, The North, The Literateur, The Delinquent, Poems In Which, erbacce and in Carcanet’s New Poetries VI. She has been a prize-winner in Oxford University’s COMPAS competition, judged by Ruth Padel, in the Café Writers International Poetry Competition and in the 2014 Kent and Sussex Poetry Competition, judged by Pascale Petit.

Rebecca’s poems have appeared in a range of publications, including PN Review, New Poetries VI (Carcanet), The North, Magma, Poetry Ireland Review, the Guardian, the Financial Times, the TLS and The Forward Book of Poetry 2020 (Faber). Her debut poetry collection, The Met Office Advises Caution, was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre First Collection Prize. She was a Literature Finalist in the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative 2018, and in 2019 she was awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship.

March 11th 2020

Annual Meeting

Another great, very special meeting last night in which we celebrated our previous year and looked to the year ahead. We said goodbye and thank you to some wonderful committee members Aoife, Laura, Lucy, Melanie, Melissa and Yvonne and then welcomed a “new” committee: Alice, Bridget, Emily, Jan, Jenny, Melanie and Liz (Elisabeth) and re-elected Alice as president. Edit: Sue C also joining us on committee – yay!It is often said at a Blue Belle meeting that the group is what you make it – and that was certainly true again last night with everyone pitching in to help set up, bringing cakes and cheese for all to enjoy and making a real effort to maximise the social time offered. Please be assured that your committee are here to look after and support you. We will be working on a range of plans that mean that you are best placed to keep yourselves and your loved ones safe and happy.

We’ll be looking back on all the great things we’ve done over the year as well as looking ahead to the coming year and all the excitement that will bring. Plus there will be cheese and cake- what a great line up!

February 12th 2020

Name of meeting

Event details

January 8th 2020

An Evening to Make, Do and Mend

It’s time to get out of the house and into the swing of the new year!  And what better way to kick it off, as we think about our New Year’s Resolutions, than to start by looking at the virtue of buying second hand, mending what we have, and putting together a capsule wardrobe.  Guiding us through all of this will be the Insta-famous Jade from @notbuyingnew
We will be running a small-scale clothes swap; please bring along one or two good quality items that you no longer need, and a little bit of spending money; we will ask for a small donation for any items you take home.
A reminder too that Laura P has kindly offered to collect any unwanted toiletries for use by Addenbrooke’s or Jimmy’s Night Shelter, so don’t forget to bring these along with you.