I have been a member of the Women’s Institute for about a year now, it’s been a wonderful experience, and I’m delighted to have become a new member at the Manchester group.

When I heard about the plans for a collaborative tea party get together with Oxfam, to coincide with celebrations across the globe for International Women’s Day on March 8th, at my first meeting I knew I wanted to get involved.

Hair today

As we were invited to dress up and sport our most wonderful headwear I decided to make a piece in keeping with the theme and was inspired to make a playing card hair-clip.


The clip was really easy to make, and I am delighted with the result.

Details of how to make this slide can be found at the wonderful Cut-Out-And-Keep website.

Queen of Hearts, Jam Tarts

Next up, what to bake for the tea table! No mad hatters event would ever be complete without a plate of jam tarts so I set about searching for a recipe. I settled on this one from Zoe Makes Cakes, as I liked the cute little heart pastry toppers, which kept with the theme perfectly.

I haven’t made too many jam tarts previously, as I’ve always been a little disappointed with the final result as hot jam spills over the sides of the pastry base. This recipe suggested using a high fruit content jam to counteract this, and I think it worked a treat!


Alice-in-Wonderland Themed Cupcakes

To accompany the tarts I also wanted to bake some cupcakes. I cooked up 12 lemon beauties, using a tried and tested Little Primrose Bakery recipe.

After a bit of research I came up with a few easy decorating ideas, based on the ‘ready-to-roll’ icing method;

Queen of Hearts design
Tea-cup motif
Mushroom (as eaten by Alice)
Tweedle-dum (or was it Tweedle-Dee?)

The cakes were fun, if a little tricky, to decorate, but I had some very complimentary comments from women in group, which was lovely!


Floral Delights

During the course of the afternoon we had a bouquet making demo by the wonderful boutique florist, David Wayman. I took along a jam-jar and got to make a beautiful posy. I usually struggle with making a ‘random’ anything (my inner ocd just takes over!) so it was great to pick up some tips from the expert! Can’t wait to try this out again!


I also assisted Charlie in cutting out fabric for the forthcoming WI banner, so I’m now really looking forward to personalising my fabric square as part of the next WI venture!

All in all, a lovely afternoon for a worthy cause. Well done Manchester WI and Oxfam!