June 2016: Suffragette Walking Tour


Reported by Elaine Shotbolt, HWW Treasurer.

Welcome,Wicked Women, to my first ever blog!

On Wed 1st June after a day of heavy downpours the sun came out- hooray!

We followed in the footsteps of the Suffragettes around Bow. We heard about these wonderful women and the work they did to help the poor and starving families, and to make a difference to their lives.

Our guides Becca and Lora Su led us along the way taking in the landmarks {or not!} and what had happened there.

We were joined by five guests including my colleague Cathie and her friend Alice- thank you ladies.
We all had a wonderful evening and enjoyed snacks from the lovely Niki and quiz gifts too. Enjoy the books ladies and look forward to seeing you again!

HWW Member & Treasurer Elaine x

If you’d like to do the walk yourself around East London, download our Walking in the footsteps of our Suffragette Sisters guide and map with added quiz questions 🙂


Meet The Team: Chloe Higgins, 2016 WI President


What do you do in the committee?

I’m the newly appointed President, and I am (according to the WI rules) the face of our WI.  I think this means I just have to be nice to everyone that comes in!

Ably assisted by my lovely committee I also help plan our meetings, and generally boss everyone around a bit to try and keep us organised!

Why did you want to join a WI?

I moved to London a few years ago and wanted to make new friends.  I love a bit of crafting, and although I’m not a great baker I do love eating cake so the WI seemed like a good place to start.

I’d read an article in the Evening Standard about the new East End WIs and how they were much younger and more ‘hipster’ than the traditional image of the WI so I plucked up the courage to give it a go!

What’s your fave moment with Hackney Wick WI so far?

I’ve enjoyed everything, although I think football and yoga in the park last summer might have been particular highlights – although mainly as we were outside on lovely summer evenings rather than because I discovered any great skills with a ball or a downward dog!

What’s the least fave? 

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it all.  I didn’t win at bingo at Christmas though we was disappointing for my super-competitive streak that seems to come out every time we play games or do quizzes…

Outside of WI, what do you get up to?

I’ve become a vaguely enthusiastic runner recently, which helps to make up for the fact I also really enjoy drinking craft ale by the canals and parks in the area!  I’m also quite obsessed with knitting, and also love to get my sewing machine out every so often (I am a WI girl after all!)

Favourite tipple?

Craft ale or gin.

Your favourite thing about being a woman?

Women’s clothes, shoes and bags are WAY better than mens.  And I do love to buy clothes, shoes and bags…

Your least favourite thing about being a woman?

Patronising men who refer to the admin team I work in (who are the indispensable core support to the company) as ‘the girls in the office’.  This is not the 1970s!  We are women doing an incredibly important job!

What would you like to see for women in Hackney Wick/the WI the future? 

New people joining us!

Favourite places in and around Hackney Wick?

  • Victoria Park and the canals for running or wandering
  • Counter Cafe for delicious brunch
  • Howling Hops for great beer brewed on site
  • The local supermarket on Felstead Street for more different kinds of quinoa than you every imagined you could need amongst tins of beans and packets of sugar.

There are a load of new things opening up across the canal in what was the Olympic Media Centre which I’m excited to try out too…


October: Mindfulness with City and Hackney Mind


In October, City and Hackney Mind joined Hackney Wicked Women to tell us about the City and Hackney Wellbeing Network, and introduce us to Mindfulness.  Their digital team kindly agreed to answer some questions for our blog too.

Hello, my name is Josie and, along with Hebba and Laura, we make up the Online Communications Team here at City and Hackney Mind. We work with City and Hackney Mind and the Wellbeing Network websites, as well as the Twitter and Facebook accounts. 

Tell us a little bit about mindfulness, for those that are new to it.

Mindfulness is a great way of taking a pause from the hassle and stress of everyday life.

It’s a simple technique of focusing on the environment around you to avoid getting caught up with worries and anxiety. Scientific evidence has indicated that Mindfulness can enhance mental wellbeing, reduce stress and increase concentration.

Our campaign, ‘Take a Pause’,  aims to encourage Hackney residents to use mindfulness as a way of lowering stress and anxiety levels. 

You can read about Helen’s experience of mindfulness, to get more of an idea of what it involves, and whether you might be interested. Here’s a five minute mindfulness practice, if you want to try it out for yourself.

How can people use mindfulness in everyday life?

Mindfulness can be practised at any time of day, wherever you are. It can be a great way to start the day, but it can also relax and de-stress people when everything might be feeling overwhelming.

Through visiting our ‘Take a Pause’ page people can access free information, online resources and more practical support such as the mindfulness group sessions we run and also mindfulness yoga.

Tell us a bit about the project for Hackney residents..

The Wellbeing Network  launched earlier this year as a way to help people from Hackney and the City of London improve their resilience and wellbeing, and help prevent the onset of mental health problems. In addition to this, the Network supports service users with severe mental health conditions to improve their quality of life.

How can you apply or find out more about mindfulness and other activities or sessions?

Anyone can find out more about mindfulness sessions by visiting chwellbeingnetwork.london to look at what’s on offer or upcoming sessions.

Alternatively, ring our friendly Single Point of Entry team, who will be happy to point you in the right direction for any courses you might want to access, on 020 8525 2301.

We also have a new addition to our network – Studio Upstairs. They offer creative groups in which people can explore and express their emotions through art or drama. To find out more you can go to our website: chwellbeingnetwork.london.

You can follow City and Hackney Mind on Twitter and Facebook, or visit their website for more news and updates.

Find out more about the City and Hackney Wellbeing Network on their website.

Hackney Wick FC Football lesson – reported by Lauren, WI treasurer

wi 1

In May this year,  the Wicked Women took on the newly formed Hackney Wick Football Club (aka ‘the Wickers’) for a lesson in all things football at Victoria Park in Hackney.

We kicked things off (quite literally) with some ‘warm up’ exercises and attempted to get to know the footballer inside of us all… A struggle for most of us.


Under careful supervision of our coach soon we were all ducking and diving and header-ing like pros – with a few sore heads. The Wickers decided at the end that to instill some rivalry in the WI (we’re all way too nice) we should go head to head in a mini (exhausting) football match!

It was a close call between blues and yellows but with the help of bend it like beckham-esque pro Anna Baker the blues raced to victory at 2-0.

wi 2

The wicked women reconciled at the end over orange slices provided by the lovely Lora (we’re real pros), sweaty and tired but having enjoyed an amazing evening in the sun learning some new skills. We also got to show off our personalised bunting made by member Elaine’s own fair hands. Elaine has since made bunting for the football club, which makes an appearance at their games.

Following our football lesson, the HWFC manager Bobby was inspired to start free women’s football lessons, and subsequently a women’s team!

Watch Bobby’s interview on London Live TV where he mentions the Hackney Wicked Women.

Follow @HackneyWickFC for regular updates and training schedules!

(Downward) dogging in the park – June’s yoga session

Our newest committee member Chloe shares this month’s meet up activity:


I headed off to our June meeting with a slight sense of apprehension, as the activity was yoga.  In the park.  In the British summer.  The week had started cold, grey and windy, and I’ve never been a big fan of the chloeidea of yoga.


I’d done bits in the past, but I’m not a very, um, relaxed person and have a tendency to giggle when people tell me to be quite and calm.  Also, I was aware of the concept of the ‘downward dog’ and the idea of sticking my bum in the air in public wasn’t that appealing…


How wrong was I!  The sun came out, the wind dropped, and it turns out when a nice, calming voice tells me to concentrate on breathing and ignore the people playing football and listening to music loudly, I can actually forget my surroundings and think about the odd positions I was putting my limbs in and relax whilst doing so!


I wouldn’t claim to be a yoga expert, but I certainly felt nicely stretched out and chilled by the end.  I think that the few moments of silence once we had finished demonstrated that we all felt the same (although shortly after that everyone was up and chatting away as usual)…


And here are Vice presidents Lora Su and Niki yogain their matching MC hammer pants.


Thanks to Pippa Knott for leading our practice.


Follow us on Twitter for news on our next meet up, and other events with Hackney Wicked Women.


Meet the team: Niki, Vice president and movie-buff

This month we chatted to long-standing committee member, karaoke lover and self-confessed film geek Niki.10170768_10154029977115265_1511971055114742742_n

Niki, What do you do in the committee?

I am one of the vice presidents, a title I share with the lovely Lora Su. Our job is to assist the president and run any meeting that she cannot attend. We are also tasked with planning one WI meeting each year.

Last year year Lora and I were fortunate to welcome Kajal Odedra, a campaigner for Change.org to come to our meeting to give a talk on online campaigning and what Change.org does – For those that do not know they host hundreds of online petitions helping to raise awareness and engage the public, working on many high profile campaigns such as:

I have also helped set up the Girls Just Wanna Watch Films monthly film club with Lauren, our secretary.

Each month we hold a screening at the Genesis Cinema to celebrate women in film. We show films that have been written by or directed by a woman or feature a strong female character. Our most successful screenings so far have been Wadjda and Tiny Furniture, and we also co-hosted a ‘Bechdel Test’ screening of Fish Tank.

Why did you want to join a WI?

To meet more like-minded women in East London, make friends and learn some new things.

What’s your fave moment with Hackney Wick WI so far?

I really enjoyed the bike maintenance meeting and it was a great moment learning how to adjust and fix my brakes and fix a puncture!

What’s your least favourite..?

There’s not been anything I haven’t enjoyed so far. We did have to run a bit when we did boxing in Victoria park in the summer and I’m not a fan of running so that very small moment would probably be the least fave but I soon forgot about that and had lots of fun boxing!

Outside of WI, what do you get up to?

I watch a lot of films- both at the cinema and at home. I produce and present a film show on Hoxton Radio and so have to review films for that but I have always been in love with the magic of movies.

…and I love a bit of Karaoke…

Favourite tipple?

Depends on the time and my mood, as the winter months draw in I begin to favour an ale or perhaps mulled wine.

Fave thing about being a woman

It is an exciting time to be a woman I think. Things seem to be improving for women around the world everyday, there is still a long way to go but it is great to see thing moving forward and progressing.

Least fave thing about being a woman

Period pain!

Favourite place to eat in East London?

I love The Breakfast Club on Hoxton Square, their cow vs pig burger is amazing. I also love Dishoom in Shoreditch- I always get the black dahl as it is delicious.

Girls Just Wanna Watch Films, Genesis Cinema 15 July

Hackney Wicked Women started a monthly film club, aptly named Girls Just Wanna Watch Films, to celebrate women in the film industry.

Each month we’ll screen a film either directed or written by a woman or starring a strong female character.

We chose the bar upstairs at East London’s Genesis Cinema because of its comfy sofas, mood lighting, and excellent food and drink offers.

All screenings are free and open to everyone: members and non-members, women and men!

Following a vote from our members, our opening film was Kathryn Bigelow’s 90’ cult classic Point Break. This high action thriller was perfect to kick start the film club.

Beautifully merging romance and action, Kathryn flies the flag for girl power within the film industry. A inspiring female director, Bigelow became the first woman to win an oscar for Best Director with Hurt Locker. 

We don’t have any photos from the night, as we didn’t want to disturb everyone’s viewing so we thought perhaps you could feast your eyes on some photos of Keanu and Patrick from the film…. why not…

point break 1 point break 2 Point break 3