This month we chatted to long-standing committee member, karaoke lover and self-confessed film geek Niki.
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…
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
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.
This year we couldn’t wait to get involved in Hackney Wicked festival, as fellow Wicked Women committee member Amy Tandy writes…
Arguably the biggest day in the social calendar for Hackney Wick, Hackney Wicked festival brings together residents, artists and businesses of Hackney Wick in one big weekend of music, craft food and fun. Once again, we turned our hands to baking-this time with great success, selling cookies and scones like they were hot cakes. We also whipped out our GIANT knitting needles, to start making a giant WI blanket…a challenging refresher from our knitting lesson back in March.
We got lots of attention (albeit mainly bemused looks) but it was a great way to meet new people. Some passers by mentioned how ‘novice’ our knitting was… and we only felt *slightly* intimidated by the professional knitting stall ten feet away who were selling knitted cacti.
We were more than pleased with knitting our big blanket and small … squares?
Thanks so much to the organisers and other stall holders at Hackney Wicked 2014 – we had a great time!
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…
After all the cake and beer in May, we felt we needed a bit of a work out in June. So we took to our favourite local spot of green in Victoria Park for some fierce exercise.
We met Karen, Catherine and Nathan from Putney and Roehampton Boxing Club, who took us through our paces…
Giggling resulted in 10 situps for everyone. So we had to be serious. Which was really difficult.
By the end of the session, we all had pretty strong right hooks, and even got to do a bit of sparring with Nathan. Some of the WI managed to forget the ‘no shots to the head‘ rule… sorry Nathan.
After boxing, we went straight on to some Aerobics with Rosie Powell. At this point, most of us were struggling heavily, and we needed quite a few water breaks.
The sun came down….. and we were starting to get a bit ropey on the legs, but we worked our tooshes off and definitely earned ourselves a cider.
Local charities are one of Hackney Wicked Women’s key priorities for 2014. President Grace shares all from our recent fundraising ventures in April 2014…
Grace Shotbolt, President.
When we had the opportunity to help a charity that gives CAKES to children, we thought a partnership with the W.I was too good to pass up! Free Cake for Kids Hackney work with volunteer bakers to provide Hackney children birthday cakes, if their families can’t afford to.
Earlier this year, they asked us to get involved with a great event at Crate, our local brewery in the Wick.
They had cook books for sale, a biscuit decorating event and a pub quiz that we dramatically failed at despite having 3 separate teams…
Our WI Secretary Lauren won a cake competition with a beer theme, judged by HCFK’s patron, Masterchef winner Natalie Coleman.
We were in charge of a tombola and a ‘guess the weight of the cake’ competition.
The lovely people at the Deli Downstairs donated a beautiful cake that was hard to say goodbye to..
…and we sourced all of our tombola prizes from local Hackney business.
Alongside W.I classics like jam, tea and wool, we were grateful for the following from generous local businesses:
It was an amazing day, and we had loads of fun running the stalls, and helping such a good charity raise so much money!
Congratulations FCFK Hackney on all the money you raised …same time next year?
1. What does the president do?
I rule the Wicked Women with an iron fist! I also plan the meetings. I listen to suggestions that members make and try to create a fun monthly meeting that makes that W.I subscription fee worth it. So far we’ve done quite a lot of eating, drinking and making things, which people seem to be enjoying!
2. Why did you want to start a WI?
I wanted to start a WI because I felt like Hackney Wick should have one! It’s such a great area, and my friends who were living there and I thought it would be nice to get some of the ladies of the Wick round for a chat to see if we all fancied being friends. I also wanted to get involved with the wider Hackney community, which so far the Wicked Women have been amazing at!
What’s your fave moment so far of being president?
It’s all so great! My favourite moment was probably when people who I wasn’t related to or friends with decided to come to the group – I was worried nobody would come! I’m always really happy when someone I don’t know turns up, and I think they always leave happy!
In terms of actual events, raising £350 for Free Cakes for Kids Hackney and seeing how generous the local businesses of Hackney are was amazing.
I also interviewed Julia from Hollaback London for our first radio show which was great – I’ve never done anything like that before and I am always quite nervous to do those things, but it went really well, and it was really inspiring to talk to her.
3. What’s the least fave?
There’s nothing bad about it! It’s quite stressful but our events always go well and I always leave happy! the group did have a W.I day out to the Hackney Wick V&A Takeback, and I did very dramatically push some art over onto Lora Su, our VP, and caused a huge scene. It was embarrassing, but we Wicked Women take these things in our stride and I left with my head held high and my can of cider still in my hand.
4. Outside of WI, what do you get up to?
I’m currently obsessed with Breaking Bad, so nothing but sitting around my flat. I love craft so I spend a lot of time doing that, which is quite W.I cliche I guess. And seeing new things in Hackney – I’ve started a terrible/great thing recently where I don’t leave Hackney at the weekends..
5. Favourite tipple?
Gin! (and jam). Or prosecco. I’m a classy President.
6. Fave thing about being a woman
Being a woman now is amazing because everything is changing for us. It’s great to be around as so many inspiring women stand up for themselves and the rest of us, and although it’s been slow, it’s making a difference. There are so many campaigns that started small and that anybody can join, and their impact has been so impressive.
…And I bloody love buying bras.
7. Least fave thing about being a woman
Gross men on Tinder..?
There’s not much I don’t love about being a woman, but I do think it would be nice to be able to walk around alone and not have a man say something outrageous to me. I don’t want to always have to be swearing at people as I cycle past. I’m sure that will be a reality soon.
8. Ryan Gosling or Tom Hardy? We know it’s a tough one…
No question! Gosling is clearly the winner.
9. Favourite place to east in East/Hackney Wick?