December & January

December’s meeting was our annual Christmas party and we had such a good time that not a single person remembered to take any photos! We all brought delicious food to share as well as donations for our local foodbank in Todmorden.  Alison Bartram, HBWI member and owner of The Heart Gallery, kindly organised and led several fun quizzes, including Dingbats, which many of us hadn’t played before. It’s always good to have a purely social meeting; they’re a pleasant contrast to the more structured meetings with speakers or activities.

After the excesses of Christmas, January’s meeting was appropriately themed around ‘thrift’. TV presenter and blogger, Nicolette Lafonseca-Hargreaves from Archie & The Rug gave an entertaining talk on the subject.


Nicolette telling her stories. Photo: Kirsty Hall


Nicolette talked about her experience of growing up poor and how she didn’t even realise her family was on the breadline because her mum was so good at gardening and making do and mending. The realisation that they really were poor came when she was invited to a party for deprived children in the area and saw another little girl crying because she’d put ice cream in her pockets to take home to her mum. The little girl had never had ice cream before and didn’t know it would melt.

Her mother’s good example and her own environmental concerns have encouraged Nicolette to develop a thrifty lifestyle. Although she’s keen to save money, she made the important distinction that cheaper things can be a false economy and it can be worth saving up to buy something that will last longer or buying an older, better made item. She also pointed out that it’s worth spending more on certain things – like fairly priced milk – to align with your moral principles.

Her talk was followed by a lively and thought-provoking discussion that touched on specific thrifty tips,  poverty and the importance of the WI passing on lost skills.


A chat before the meeting Photo: Kirsty Hall

January’s bingo prize was kindly donated by two of our members. Fliss, who gave an apron and baking book and Alison Bartram who gave a copy of Kinfolk magazine.

Jan bingo prize

A generous bingo prize. Photo: Kirsty Hall


some HBWI thrifty tips

Polly Williams: Save plastic containers from things like mushrooms, in the spring they make excellent trays for growing seeds.

Sue Leslie: Make sure you check for online vouchers before eating out, especially in January when restaurants are quiet.

Maxine Hunt: learning new skills can be a long term way of saving money – e.g learning a bit of plumbing, electrical skills, sewing to repair clothes, etc. The more you can do for yourself the better.

Ruth Ainscough: What about trading the skills you have for other people’s? Give your time and skill to other people and people will give you their time and skills for free.