Alice Hicks

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Poring over the Past – NWR at the Women’s Library

Poring over the Past – NWR at the Women’s Library

This week our chair of trustees, Josephine Burt, along with National Organiser Natalie Punter and Mary Stott Award winner (and former National Organiser) Antoinette Ferraro visited the Women's Library at the London School of Economics (LSE). This library holds records of the women’s’ movement in 19th and 20th centuries including the NHR/NWR archives.  Here's what she had to say.

Antoinette, Natalie and I recently spent a wonderfully interesting day at The Women’s Library (part of the British Library and currently housed at the London School Of Economics, LSE, in Central London) looking at 60 years of NWR heritage.

The Women's Library houses England’s primary library and museum resource on women, women’s issues and history, and the women’s movement from, primarily, the 19th and 20th centuries. The main collection dates back to the mid-1920s, though the core collection was formed from a library established by Ruth Cavendish Bentinck in 1909. These archives moved to LSE, as part of the British Library collection, in 2013.

We had the opportunity to view photos and marketing materials dating back to the early 60s even the official annual reports and financial returns, though we decided to leave those for another day!

It was lovely to see photos of the women who set up and ran the organisation from 1980 - having read the book that details our first twenty years 1960-1980 (“The Lively-Minded Women” by Betty Jerman published in 1980) and it was great to see the original materials upon which it was based. Antoinette was delighted to find some photos of the National Group in the 1980's which included her.

Some of the publicity materials looked very dated, as they would, but the Golden Anniversary literature (from 2010) looked fresh and vibrant. We also found a hidden gem – a poster from the 1960s – which we are thinking of rejuvenating for our anniversary! (watch this space).  It was sobering and yet reassuring to find that the problems and issues we have today have been there over the years and are really a feature of informal organisations such as ours.

I felt very nostalgic when I found some local press cuttings from Leighton Buzzard from the 1980's and recognised the names of friends I met through NWR. I’d like to thank our members and LOs for keeping such excellent records of our history and I think we owe it to the next generation of NWR to ensure we continue to send in materials from the last 10 years and onwards.

For those of you (individually or as a group) who would like to see the archives for yourselves NWR members are welcome to visit by appointment - see http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/collection-highlights/the-womens-library or call LSE Library 020 7955 7229

Josephine Burt, Chair of Trustees


Celebrating 60 years of the National Women’s Register and the National Housewive’s Register – 1960-2020

 National Conference 2020 – Precious Gems - A Celebration! 11th-13th September 2020

#NWRDiamondDays #NWRdiamondconf2020 #LivelyMindedWomen

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Free Theatre Workshop from Birmingham-based "Women & Theatre"

Hello!

I am delighted to inform you that NWR have received an invitation from the women-owned, Birmingham-based theatre company "Women & Theatre" for our members to participate in a free theatre workshop on Friday 25 October 2019 (3.30-5pm) and Saturday 26 October 2019 (11-12.30pm)

These creative workshops are being held at The REP in conjunction with the launch of their new production Prime Time. Led by one of Birmingham’s most exciting female writers, and co-writer of Prime Time, Rochi Rampal, the workshop will involve drama and writing activities giving participants the chance to explore with others the joys, challenges and opportunities of women around retirement age.

These are free workshops open to all – no previous experience necessary.

Places are limited so booking is essential. Please book directly with Women & Theatre by calling 0121 449 7117 and please mention my name (Alice Hicks) or NWR at the time of booking.

                                                           .....................................................

Not up for treading the boards yourself? Why not simply enjoy the show?-

Women & Theatre presents PRIME TIME - three intimate and entertaining monologues that capture diverse experiences of women of retirement age, coming to Birmingham Repertory Theatre https://www.birmingham-rep.co.uk/ from 23-26 October 2019, BOOK NOW.  (Wednesday - BOOKED OUT, Saturday matinee - BOOKED OUT; Thurs, Fri, Sat 8pm showings - LIMITED TICKETS available.

Prime Time photo

Birmingham Repertory Theatre

23 - 26 October 2019

Comprising three monologues created from research interviews by three Birmingham-based writers, this funny and moving production presents wide-ranging experiences of women of retirement age.

Tickets are on sale via The REP on 0121 236 4455 or https://www.birmingham-rep.co.uk/whats-on/prime-time.html

                                                             ............……………..

If you do take part (or just see the show) please get in touch and let me know how it went - I'm Alice Hicks at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We hope to continue to bring you wonderful, unique opportunities such as this as part of NWR’s commitment to adding value to your membership!

Alice, Membership and Communications Coordinator, NWR

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Equality and accessibility - NWR's commitment to you.

This year NWR made a commitment to our members to improve our accessibility as an organisation, including our responsibilities under the Equalities Act and financial accessibility, and to become and remain a Carbon Neutral organisation.

One initiative, launched in April, is the NWR members’ hardship fund. This is designed to ensure that members are never forced to leave NWR due to financial issues, illness etc. It also allows potential new members to receive subsidised membership, should hardship otherwise prevent them from joining.Our first hardship fund applicant came almost immediately via Susan, an LO.

Susan explained that a longstanding member, Belinda, had become seriously unwell and, when group subs renewals came around, found herself in difficulties. Her group felt — as I would — that it would be inappropriate to approach Belinda or her husband. So, what to do? Previously Belinda’s membership would have lapsed, along with that all-important connection with other women through our organisation’s local groups, regional events and conferences, regular newsletters and magazines and, of course, our very popular national conferences.

Fortunately, LO Susan knew about our new hardship fund and approached me directly. We discussed what NWR meant to Belinda and the nature of her illness. I decided to grant a three-month membership subsidy. Three months rolled by and Susan and I spoke again. Belinda had approached the group to ask about remaining a member and, to our delight, she said “Of course I want to stay!” Happy Days!

However, this isn’t about NWR or about one NWR group losing a member: it’s about making sure that women who want or need to be connected to likeminded women may do so - regardless of financial restrictions. Sitting at home today you might not consider that the loss of one member, long-term or new, matters - but it matters to them and it matters to me.

I am delighted to be with NWR to celebrate the diamond 60th anniversary and I am excited to see what we can do to involve as many women as possible in the years to come. So, as you peruse the magazine and attend your meetings, please think “What can I do, in my group or as an individual, to make sure that the objectives of NWR — to connect, to educate and intellectually stimulate women in my community — are honoured?” We all need to be thinking back over the past (nearly) 60 years and asking “What did I need?” and “What can I do now?”

Happy 59 and a halfth anniversary, and I look forward to seeing you all next year! AMH 

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South West Salisbury Visit

Ten NWR friends recently visited Salisbury and enjoyed an informative walk around the fantastic Cathedral Close on Monday morning. The tour was lead by member Liz who told us many interesting facts about many of the houses.... the history, famous visitors and residents and the ghosts!

The sun was shining for (at least part of) the day and we enjoyed a jolly lunch in the Cathedral Refectory.

What a wonderful day! Please let us know what other events NWR members are enjoying around the country!

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Diamonds are forever! Capturing NWR's photographic gems!

Diamonds are forever! Capturing NWR's photographic gems!

Get your cameras out for the first NWR competition of 2019!

NWR are pleased to announce the launch of the 2019 Photographic competition – with twelve winning images being immortalised in a commemorative calendar to be released in celebration of our diamond anniversary in 2020.

So, what do you need to do?

First of all dust off your camera, refresh your skills while you're out and about, and get your creative juices flowing!

There are four categories:

  • "I get by with a little help from my friends"
  • "The more things change, the more they stay the same
  • Women of the world; and
  • A visual interpretation of a poem/song

We can accept pictures taken on any device but all images must be available, and submitted, in colour. If you wish to use film you may but the image should be initially submitted in a high-specification digital format. All images must be scaleable to A3. You may submit multiple entries to each category. Images will be judged by a panel of professional photographer, NWR’s Membership and Communications Coordinator and the NWR magazine editor.

Photographs will be judged on composition, focus, clarity, colour depth, overall image quality, creativity and relevance to the brief/topic.

How to create a winning image?

Think about the brief. Be smart and use your imagination. De-clutter the image and focus on what your picture is about then fill the frame with it. Practice, Practice, Practice! Start taking your camera wherever you go and take photos every day – no matter how good a photographer you are we all get a little rusty.

Be original. Equipment, even on a phone, is incredible these days – the one thing you can always use to stand out is your own creativity. Put something of yourself in the image. Two photographers can shoot the same subject in the exact same conditions and produce totally different images.

How? By inserting your interpretation and your perspective. Shoot what you love. Use The Golden Triangle or rule of thirds – nature is based upon these magical mathematical rules and they will elevate your work too. Don’t centre your subject (usually). Use space.

Simplify and exaggerate – you may wish to use contrasting colours, juxtaposition with other objects, even shutter speed to give a well-defined image/scene. Create depth and use leading lines to draw the viewer in and create a journey through the image.

Lighting is everything! Never shoot into the sun/ in the middle of the day unless you REALLY know what you’re doing. Understand the “temperature” of the light. Use the golden hours at sunrise and sunset – the light is beautiful. Edit yourself ruthlessly!

Closing date 31/07/20. Terms and conditions apply. Full competition rules will be available on the website shortly.

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Marie Morrison
Camera out and ready to go !
Friday, 21 June 2019 20:00
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Women, beget women!

Women, beget women!

NWR was established to enable women who were at home with small children to connect with other women and, from time to time, members tell me that "women don't need this any more".

I disagree.

I have at various times in my life been at home with a small child; been caring for an adult family member, working in a male-dominated environment, working alone from home; and I have moved to a new area where I knew no-one. It is these women, women like me, that we are reaching out to now!

Women can find it particularly challenging in this day and age to maintain and begin new friendships. There are hundreds of dating websites, and dating - including speed-dating - events across the country but where does a woman go who just wants to talk? Or walk? To keep her mind active? To find kindred spirits? They come - we hope - to NWR.

So, on International Women's Day, look at you group and ask - are we providing that friendly, welcoming environment that enabled us to join 10, 15 - even 30 years ago?
Here at NWR we are reaching out to women countrywide through local radio and television, local open-evening events, and by making sure that we can start to get our name known as a space where "you can do you"

Finally, if you want help attracting new members to your area just let me know! 

 

 

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Horbury and Ossett's Great British Bake Off!

Horbury and Ossett's Great British Bake Off!

Horbury and Ossett NWR recently welcomed 2018 Great British Bake-Off Contestant Karen Wright to a special meeting.

We were delighted to welcome Karen Wright, contestant in this year’s Great British Bake-Off to our recent meeting. Karen grew up not far away in Featherstone, West Yorkshire. Her entertaining talk came about thanks to a family connection and with the series aired and winner announced she was now able to speak freely.

Karen describes herself as a self-taught baker and stalker of French patisserie window displays. From the thousands who applied Karen really didn’t expect to get selected for the final twelve. She gave us an insight into the application process. The first stage was a lengthy form with questions about baking experience, including everything from hot water crust pastry to bread. She set about teaching herself to do those things she couldn’t do. After sending in the application a researcher rang for a lengthy chat, including technical questions about baking. This lead to a regional selection day. For this Karen had to make two things in advance. It was for this she realised that you needed to go in with confidence regardless of nerves underneath. After all they were looking for a mix of people who could bake and appear on television. A few days later she heard she had been chosen for a further selection day in London. It was on the train to London that she first recognised Kim Joy from the earlier regional selection. In the end Yorkshire was well represented in the programme.

 

Once selected contestants received lots of information on what would be required at each stage of filming. This gave them time to practice ideas. Filming took place on two long intensive days over weekends during the summer. All the contestants were excited to meet up and finally get into the tent for the first time. The tent is actually full of film crews following each contestant. Two days filming is all edited down to an hour’s programme.

 

What was perhaps most inspiring was how Karen had seen it as a personal challenge, showing her that she could achieve much more than she imagined. She brought along her designs and photos of her cakes showing us her innate creativity. Karen is not sure where it will all lead, but she is already in demand for talks and demonstrations locally and has set up her own website. She will be appearing next year at the well-known Wakefield Rhubarb Festival in February. She is more than anything keen to inspire others young and old to try something new. Maybe we all need to follow her lead and pick a personal challenge for 2019 and reach outside our comfort zone!

 

We had decided in advance that those who wanted would be asked to make three scones to a recipe of our choosing. Our competition for the evening was not against the clock, but there was still a bit of pressure to come up with presentable scones for the evening. We had a good selection of both savoury and sweet ones and it showed how creative you can be, even with the humble scone. Karen was happy to judge our efforts.

Our member Thérése Manship was the winner. Here’s her winning recipe:

Christmas Scones

 

·         2 medium eggs

·         1 tsp vanilla extract

·         500g (18oz) plain flour

·         25g (1oz) baking power  

·         75g (3oz) golden caster sugar

·         finely grated zest of 1 orange

·         finely grated zest of 1 lemon

·         125g (4 ½ oz) unsalted butter chilled and diced

·         200g mixed fruit

·         Buttermilk, see recipe.

1. Whisk the eggs with the vanilla in a small bowl. Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl of a food processor and add the sugar and zest. Add the butter and whiz to crumbs, then add the egg mixture and just enough buttermilk to bring the mixture together. Transfer to a large bowl and mix in the dried fruit. You can always add a little more buttermilk if the mixture appears dry and crumbly, but take care not to overdo it otherwise the scones will spread. 

2. Roll the dough out 2cm (¾ in) thick on a lightly floured worksurface and cut out scones using a 6.5 cm (2 ¾ in) cutter. Space well apart on one or two non-stick baking sheets and leave to rest for 20 minutes. 


3. Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6, then brush the top of the scones with milk and bake for 17-22 minutes until golden (the lower tray may take a little longer than the top). 

The runner-up Angela Beardshall made cheese, pumpkin and poppy seeds scones with a rhubarb and ginger chutney.

We'd like to thank Karen for a most entertaining night!

You can find out more about Karen and future events, or contact her via her website:
www.karenwrightbakes.co.uk

You can also follow her on Instagram or Twitter @karenwrightbake

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Middlesborough’s “In The Pink” Local Conference - October 2018

"Live, Love, Laugh - inspirational wellness in the pink"!

3 great speakers, 7 groups, a big pot of tea, and oodles of freshly baked cakes – conference here we come!

With lots of homemade cake as usual and representatives from 7 different groups, from Morpeth, Northumberland down to Horbury and Ossett, West Yorkshire the Middlesborough Day Conference sounds like it was a roaring success!

Thank you, Andrea and the rest of the Middlesbrough organisers, for the great work you did as volunteers.

And thank you to our delegates for making the day a success. This conference is an amazing example of the NWR ethos - you get out tenfold what you put in!  

 

“In the Pink” – Building a conference!

By Andréa Bowness-Etur – Local Organiser, Middlesborough

Where to start? Let’s start at the end - “In the Pink” was a wonderful day – with great speakers, thoroughly enjoyed by all the delegates (many of whom were dressed in pink!) who all left with great smiles on their faces! (You’ll find out why in a moment!)

Middlesbrough was a very small and new group when we held our first conference back in 2015. It was hard work and a huge learning curve, but it was also a roaring success. I was committed to doing another day conference as soon as we could! Fast forward to 2017…

I think we have all been affected by cancer in some way. Middlesborough NWR is no different and in one meeting in 2017 we discovered we had a member who had been diagnosed herself and another caring for a loved one with this awful disease. We felt it was time to start planning, and that a health and well-being theme was the way forward.

So, we thought, let’s hold it in October - Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We decided to include as many different aspects of health and wellbeing as possible, from physical to mental, in order to capture the interest of members and friends alike. I posted a request for speakers to The Inspire Network - a network for self-employed women in the North East. (Oh, the powers of social media!).

We are lucky to have an excellent comfortable venue which is easy to get to so everyone felt relaxed! – talk about “Location, Location, Location!”. We were positively inundated with ideas and eventually our group decided on three great, inspiring speakers each with a different take on health and wellbeing - from stress management, clean-eating, gut-health and nutrition - even laughter yoga!

So the day rolled round and 30 delegates from groups as far afield as Morpeth in the North, to Harrogate in the South arrived – much to our delight!

Before we introduced our speakers we held a fun quiz and raffle, with two top prizes provided by our speakers, raising all-important extra funds for future meetings, and our next conference!

And so to the main event – our amazing speakers - Liz Cairns, a holistic practitioner and self-management consultant; Claire Robinson, a clean-eating expert (whose mother is going through cancer treatment), and a Self-Discovery Coach for Women who told us all about self-care and self-esteem.

First up was Liz Cairns of Inspire Holistics who spoke about stress management and holistic health. She spoke about the stigma surrounding mental health issues and the importance of self-care and told us never to think you are being selfish by taking care of yourself. You can't care for others properly unless you are fit and well yourself....

Claire Robinson spoke about gut health, amongst several other interesting and important points surrounding nutrition and toxic ingredients and products. (I’m not sure she’d have approved of our trestle table heaving with sugary cakes and treats!)

We finished the day with “Laughing Yoga” – led by the wonderful Jan Turner! It really ended the day on a natural high - our theme was, after all, "Live, Love, Laugh - inspirational wellness in the pink"!

Our speakers were all so different but very educational and their message was clear - look after yourself, you only have one body and prevention is better than cure.

Would you believe that we did not suffer any hiccups this time around! It's always a bit worrying running up to an event - have we chosen the right speakers? Will they do a good job? Will they show up? LOL. It's impossible to please all of the people, all of the time but we had a good go at it and received a lot of messages of thanks after the event. it's very satisfying to know you have brought happiness and a fun filled day out to so many - and a nice big glass of wine was a wonderful treat in the evening! It's a good feeling to have done something so positive! I look forward to the next conference!

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