Next Wednesday: it’s AmaZINE!

We were so lucky with the weather for our local history walk in August – it was a fascinating evening and nice to be out and about in our neighbourhood.

But now there’s a little chill in the air we’ll be safely inside for September.

:: 17th September: DIY publishing – blogs, zines and make your own zine page! : 7.30pm ::

You don’t have to be a best-selling author to share your voice with the world! Publishing your own work in a blog or zine is a lovely way to flex your creativity. Several of our members – and of course BBWI itself – have their own blogs. We’ll be hearing about why people love to blog, and how to go about it. We’ll also hear about the thriving home-made zine scene and gather inspiration for our own.

After tea and cake we’ll get busy with the scissors and glue and make pages for our 2015 Borough Belles zine. Bring anything you’d like to see included – favourite recipes, a poem, your loveliest watercolour, and we’ll add it to our next issue. See our two previous issues, 2013 and 2014 for inspiration!

Welsh Chapel, 90 Southwark Bridge Road, SE1 0EX.
Guests are always very welcome if you would like to come and try us out! Guests pay £4.


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Jewellery June

Here are some snaps from our last meeting in June. We had the immense privilege to talk to Silversmith and Consultant, Karin Paynter who gave us an insight into the world of jewellery and silversmithing. She talked about a whole range of subjects; her incredible career to date and all the decisions she’d made throughout her adult life, what it is like to be a female in a very male-dominated world of silversmith, her current work as a consultant and the current exhibition at Somerset House, Hallmark Salon.

We then had a jewellery swish with some, not-nearly-so-valuable costume jewellery of our own…

A fine array

A fine array

2014-06-18 19.38.36 2014-06-18 19.39.18 2014-06-18 20.43.15

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Check out the BB Zine!

The ever-hardworking Emma has been beavering away over the past few months collecting articles from BBWI members to put into our 2014 zine! It is finally ready and here for you to enjoy:

The link will also show you our Zine from 2013!


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A Message from Lara


Last month we said a fond farewell to the 2013-14 committee as we had our AGM. We were very sad to see some of our lovely committee members go (though they have assured us they will still come to our monthly meetups!). Lara, our former president has done the job for two years and she read through all the things we’ve done as a WI group over the past year.

Lara’s Message:

“It has been a great privilege to have been Borough Belles president for the last 2 years. When I first moved to London I really missed having a strong group of friends and crafters to hang out with. With the Borough Belles I have found a wonderful community of likeminded ladies which is so friendly and diverse and made some great friends. Borough Belles combines well things I am passionate about; craft, wildlife, learning new things and feeling a bit more connected to the community.


After a long day, I turn up at WI feeling tired and stressed from work and leave feeling amazingly uplifted! There is something fantastic about having a group you turn up with craft, listen to interesting talks, dance and eat cake with. Since becoming a Borough Belle I have learnt to dance like Beyonce (while, still trying), been to my first supper club, embroider, dream of keeping bees, made chutney late into the night to sell at farmers markets, papercut, judged a cake competition (life-long ambition) appeared on Channel 5 news and written an article for WI life. I’m especially proud of links we have made with Choir with No Name, the Garden Museum, Waterloo Food bank and Bronzefield WI. Being part of the WI makes me feel connected to a strong history of inspiring women and that can only be a good thing.


I’d like to say a BIG thank you to all members who have supported me over last couple of years – the enthusiasm to try new things has been brilliant as well as all the hard graft that has gone into running the WI and organising events (cake-baking, cup-washing, running stalls).   I’m really excited to see what BBWI does next and will be cheering the new committee on from the sidelines! See you all at a meeting soon. Lara x”

We’ve had exciting workshops, and lots of talks from different people from all sorts of professions and interests, and we had a great go of “Social Bingo” where we had to find out all sorts of interesting facts about each other. Turns out we have a lot of budding archeologists in our group!

As the new committee begins (check us out on the About Us page of this blog) we want to say a great big thank you to those members that are stepping down. It is a big ask being part of the committee and lots of things happen behind the scenes from washing up cups to booking speakers to organising socials! We hope you still come to meetings and we feel very grateful for all your help!

We now hand over to the new committee who are wasting no time with there grand plans for the year ahead! Stay tuned…

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18th June: Very Swish Jewellery!

A kiss on the hand may be quite continental…


For this month’s meeting we are going to be dazzled with jewels. Karin Paynter is a qualified designer and silversmith who also provides career support and training to craftspeople in the jewellery industry. She is about to launch Hallmark Salon at Somerset House, an exhibition showcasing jewellery and precious objects by 90 of Britain’s most talented craftspeople. She’ll be speaking to us about her own designs and commissions, how beautiful pieces take life, helping craftsmen and women promote their work and keeping them abreast of the latest technologies, and working with the V&A, the Goldsmiths’ Company and others.

Following Karin’s talk, and in keeping with the evening’s theme, we’ll have a jewellery swish! Precious jewels are unlikely, but bring along that ring you don’t wear any more, the pretty necklace your auntie gave you but isn’t really *you*, the bangle that reminds you of that ex and swap them for something new to you!

Do also bring any broken jewellery and old odd keys you don’t want any more – we are collecting it for an upcoming craft project.

At our usual home at the Welsh Borough Chapel, 90 Southwark Bridge Road, SE1 0EX. Guests are always very welcome if you would like to come and try us out! Guests pay £4.   

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People, Plants and War – Workshops with the Garden Museum


During 2014 as part of the centenary of the First World War, the Garden Museum’s learning programme will focus on the thrift, knowledge, skills and self-sufficiency used during the war by the people left behind.

As part of this fantastic programme the Garden Museum have offered to work with us to run some workshops to help us build new skills in gardening, growing food and flowers, making herbal remedies, face creams and soaps from plants and decorating/up-cycling ceramics. These skills will then be shared with the public at a Thrift Fair to be held at the museum in September.

The Women’s Institute was created during WWI (1915) to encourage more women to get involved with food growing.  The Borough Belles has been invited to these workshops for free! This is an exciting project to be part of and we hope at least one of these workshops takes your fancy! Workshops will run between 10.30-12.30 at the Garden Museum in Lambeth. These workshops are free for members to take part in and there are limited spaces. If you would like to take part – please join the Facebook event page or email us.

:: 6th April – Growing Food workshops – I

Workshop to teach us how to sow flower, herb and vegetable seeds. We will give them a mini-crate (wooden) each so that they can grow the plants at home on the window sill or balcony.

:: 4th May – Growing Food workshop – II

Workshop to create an edible garden in a recycled or up-cycled container.

:: 1st June – Ceramics Workshop – Up-cycled mugs and tableware to create commemorative ware

Using vintage china with patterns of flowers on, participants will add transfers with images relating to gardening and First World War.

:: 6th July, 3rd August, 7th September – Making things from plants – face creams, home remedies and soap

Workshops on making facial creams, home remedies and soap

We look forward to seeing you there.




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Papercutting fun!

The Borough Belles were packed to the rafters this week with ladies trying their hands at papercutting. Lead by the lovely, Poppy Chancellor, we took to the cutting board with our scalpels and patterns to make beautiful Rob Ryan-esque creations!

Poppy gave us some great tips on how to successfully cut out a design with a professional-looking finish and it wasn’t long before some of us started adding our personal touches to the templates we’d been given.

A papercut tree

A papercut tree

Thanks to all the Belles and guests that came and had a go. Even if you’ve tried paper cutting before we hope you learned some new techniques or honed your skills!

The best thing we learned is that this craft is so cheap! All you need is a good scalpel, a cutting mat, some paper and imagination! (It also might help to build up a callous on your forefinger!)


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