• Newsletter
    • About our meetings
    • Let's Be Facebook Friends
    • Follow WISH Tweets
    • What we are reading
    • Our 2019 Plans

Book Club – January 2015

Our Book Club met at our new date, time and venue of the 3rd Sunday of the month at Starbucks, Windle Island.

Even with only a short amount of time to prepare, most of us had managed to read both of our books.

We started off with our longest book, The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton:

<em>The Miniaturist Jessie Burton Book Club review</em>

What is the book about?
The book follows the story of Nella Oortman, a newly wed bride, who arrives in Amsterdam in 1686, ready to start her life with businessman, Johannes Brandt. On her arrival, life is not as it seems inside her new splendid home, and her husband is definitely not who she imagined him to be.

What did WISH members think of the book?

Jan – “I enjoyed it but didn’t feel it was as good as the hype”

Helen – “I would highly recommend this book. Got stuck into the story & loved it. Would have liked to see more action from The Miniaturist”

Sue – “Loved it! Started slowly but by the second half couldn’t put it down. Really empathised with the female characters & wanted to know their fate”

Janette – “It started slowly & then got quicker. Didn’t want to put it down as it got nearer to the end.”

Val – “I didn’t love it but thought it was well written. Left questions unanswered at the end.”

Gillian – “Liked the description & style of writing. Thought it started slowly but built up momentum”.

Allison – “Enjoyed the characters. Beginning was steeped in details about Amsterdam, a lot of which I didn’t understand”.

What did we like?
The descriptions of Amsterdam – Some good, precise descriptions – Good Story Telling – Interesting take on racism & slavery & our changing attitudes – The feeling of suspense – Learning about trade in Amsterdam – Intrigue surrounding the Miniaturist

What did we dislike?
The ending (Too many unanswered questions) – Not enough information about The Miniaturist & the reason why she made the figures – Johanne’s behaviour! – Needed to know about The Miniaturist – It didn’t have the drama that the story line suggested. A bit bland – The ending was abrupt.

the good girl mary kubica book club review

Our average score = 4 out of 5

Our second book was completely different, yet still had the feeling of suspense – The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

What is the book about?
Mia meets Colin Thatcher in a bar after being stood up. Deciding to go home with him turns out to be an incredibly bad decision as she becomes involved in a kidnapping plot that doesn’t go to plan. Her mother is doing everything possible to find Mia whilst all the time, Mia is being held captive in a secluded rural cabin.

What did we think of the book?

Louise – “An easy read. Fast paced, hooked you in quickly. Liked the twist at the end”

Helen – “A speedy read. Wanted to keep going to see what happened. Good twist at the end”

Jan – “Really enjoyed it. Was shocked at the ending & how all the different strands were brought together”

Val – “A quick read, easy to follow. Strong with enough twists to keep interested”

Gillian – “Enjoyed it. Fast paced. Thought the characters were sympathetic & I got very involved in the story”

Sue – “Good, quick read. Exciting & disturbing in parts. Reads like its designed to be a film”

What did we enjoy?
The short chapters – The characters & the developing relationship between kidnapped & kidnapper – Characters well defined, didn’t guess the end – The developing relationship between Mia & Owen/Colin – Descriptions of life in the cabin – How the relationship between Mia & Colin developed.

What did we dislike?
Bit too easy the cat was so easy to find – Mia’s lack of memory irritated me – Some inconsistencies e.g. the gun scene at the end – Seems to take a lot from Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl even to the book design

Our average score = 4 out of 5

Our next Book Club meeting is on Sunday 15th March – We will be discussing:
The Farm – Tom Rob Smith
Beautiful Day – Kate Anthony

Back to Top Contact Us Share on Facebook Tweet this Post Email to a Friend

A Handmade Christmas Tree by WISH 2014

handmade christmas tree decorations

Last Monday saw the culmination of months of hard work by the WISH ladies. We have been working on over 150 Christmas Tree decorations for the Christmas Tree at Central Library in St Helens.

All sorts of decorations were created, including wire work, sewed felt, beading and lots more. We sadly didn’t have an angel for the top of the tree so if anyone fancies making one, there is a vacancy to be filled.

decorations up close

We gathered at Central Library for the big reveal – The tree took a lot quicker to fill than the decorations took to make!

At 10.30am we were joined by the brilliant choir from Parish Church Primary (they are getting quite a name for themselves lately after an appearance at the St Helens Christmas lights switch on!). Our ladies joined in with a beautiful carol concert followed by Hot Drinks and Mince Pies in the library getting us right in the Christmas Spirit.

parish church choir

We have loved being involved in this project and our work can be seen on display for the rest of December in the main area of Central Library.

If you would like WISH to get involved with any local projects that you have in mind, please feel free to contact us.

wish decorating

Back to Top Contact Us Share on Facebook Tweet this Post Email to a Friend

WISH learn to cook at St Helens College

Cookery lessons with the WI

Terry Lavin, Head of Catering at St Helens College, treated 15 WISH members to a chicken dinner master class on St Patrick’s Day.

Terry started the evening with a fascinating look back at his career. From the very bottom of the pile (with a squashed down hat) to Head Chef in Yorkshire Hotels, with time spent at The Savoy and The River Cafe. He has certainly met and cooked for his fair share of celebrities – If you ask him nicely he’ll even tell you which famous diva always ordered a very glamorous sausage ‘n’ mash! And now he can add the ladies of WISH to his repertoire!

Our theme for the evening was ‘Money Saving Meals’ so Terry showed us how to use every scrap of meat from a chicken, and how to get every bit of flavour from the bones, all ensuring maximum value for money.

paprika chicken

We were shown how to dissect a chicken into legs, breast and wings, without losing a finger in the process, and how to make a delicious stock from the carcass. Terry then went on to cook the chicken in three delicious, inexpensive ways using basic store cupboard ingredients. We were treated to ‘Nandos’ style chicken marinated in paprika, chilli and garlic, chicken breast served with mushroom rice, and a white wine sauce, and chicken leg with sage and onion stuffing, topped with parmesan cheese and served with a salad dressed with home-made vinaigrette.

Nothing was left to waste – even the skin from the tomato was used to make a pretty rose – I wonder how many tomato roses have appeared on plates around St Helens this week?

chicken leeks pilaf

The smells wafting around the kitchen during the cooking were mouth watering, so when it came to tasting the dishes, once the cooking was done, no one held back and the plates were cleared in minutes! All three dishes were delicious with lots of us promising to try them out for ourselves at home.

A lovely evening was had by all who came along and we look forward to returning to St Helens College for more cooking soon.

Back to Top Contact Us Share on Facebook Tweet this Post Email to a Friend

Wi Bunting, the St Helens 10K & a massive thank you!


Well, we did it! We finished our Big Project and produced an amazing piece of bunting – even if we do say so ourselves!

Weeks Months of hard work, crochet nights and several pots of tea later we arrived at our grand total of 1325 triangles!!!

The view from the road

The view from the road

We got permission to hang our bunting on the recently named, Steve Prescott Bridge which runners in the St Helens 10K go over twice during the course. We thought it was an appropriate place to hang our work and hope that it spurred the runners on, particularly on the home run.


So 7.30am yesterday morning (Sunday) found 10 WISH members congregating at the bridge with 400 cable ties in hand and off to work we went. It took around 50 minutes to hang and covered both lengths of the bridge twice (three times in the centre). Hopefully you will agree that it was a lovely sight!

What's that coming over the hill?...

What’s that coming over the hill?…

We hung tags at various intervals, telling people who had made the bunting and why. We heard some lovely comments about how beautiful it looked too.


The St Helens 10K was a brilliant event – Some of our members took part (well done, ladies!) and some more of us have been heard muttering about entering next year’s race (Eek!) There were some truly inspirational runners from the very young, the non-so young and the people who obviously found it a struggle but battled through.

The sunshine definitely helped the 1600 runners making the atmosphere so happy.

Our lovely Jenny - Doesn't she look amazing?

Our lovely Jenny – Doesn’t she look amazing?

Of course, all of the bunting could not have been possible without the hard work of so many people – Many of our members got their families, neighbours and friends involved – We would like to thank everyone individually – We are very sorry if we miss anyone out (Please shout if you notice someone we have missed out)


So a massive thank you and a huge round of applause go to:

  • Pat Stringer (Pat has the honour of being the member that contributed the most triangles with an enormous 115 triangles!)
  • Lowton WI
  • Cath Brookfield
  • Jenny Ackers
  • Lyn C from Ruskin
  • Lucy from Attic24 who kindly gave us permission to use her pictures and her pattern (and if we are honest, her idea!)
  • The staff of Tower College – Aria F & Claire B
  • Maggie Smith’s friends
  • Joan Harvey
  • Diane Quinn
  • Lyndal McAteer
  • John Miller for being our resident photographer on the day
  • Our youngest contributor, Millie Costello age 11 with 15 triangles
  • Our team of crochet tutors who taught newbies aswell as producing their own triangles: Pam Rodgers, Val Burke, Kate Conway, Morven Duncan
  • Our members – Many of which learnt how to crochet especially for this challenge, took triangles home to sew together Louise M, Linda H, Jenny B, Deb C, Chris M, Maggie S, Janice H, Marie P, Claire S, Gemma J, Jan D, Sarah McD, Teresa T,  Joan W, Anne M, Janette H, Trish P, Faith F, Trude H and many many more. (Really really sorry if I have missed your name out!)
  • Our setting up team: Helen C, Louise M, Sue W, Anne M, Barbara B, Marie P, Morven D, Janette H, Sarah McD, Hilary B
  • The St Helens Star for publicising our project
  • The Steve Prescott Foundation especially Martin Blondel for being completely up for our crazy idea.
  • Ruskin Drive, St Helens and Lowe House for allowing us to use their rooms for our many crochet nights!

A number of people have talked about donating over the past couple of weeks and asked how to go about it … Details can be found at the Steve Prescott Foundation webpage

Our wonderful Sister Sarah!

Our wonderful Sister Sarah!


Back to Top Contact Us Share on Facebook Tweet this Post Email to a Friend

Crochometer – Bunting Update

crochet triangles

The WISH crochet bunting is well under way – Triangles are being crocheted thick and fast. We are introducing our world famous crochometer to track everyone’s progress and maybe to instil a little competitive spirit.

If you have made a supply of triangles, feel free to let us know and we will add you to the crochometer.

Our closing date for receipt of triangles is Fri 28th Feb.

A Few Things To Remember About The Triangles:

  • Please leave a length of around 4-5 inches of yarn at one corner of each triangle – These will be used to attach the triangles together.
  • Triangles should be around 7 inches on each side but if yours are slightly bigger or smaller they can still be used.
  • Please make sure any other loose ends of yarn are sewn in.
  • You may want to think about attaching a button or something else that will help you to recognise your own triangles.
  • If you can attach some triangles together in advance, please try to vary the colour combinations.

Sue Davey - January 14, 2014 - 9:00 am

Hi (I’m Allison Wards friend) Do you have a pattern and I will see if our Melbourne WI Craft group will make some for you. Good luck with the bunting.

Best wishes

Sue Davey

Pat Stringer - January 27, 2014 - 3:54 pm

I have made 53 triangles so far (with most made by my sister-in-law in N.Ireland)

Pat Stringer - February 24, 2014 - 10:34 pm

My triangles total so far is now 115.

WIADMIN - March 10, 2014 - 12:32 pm

Fabulous Pat! Thank you so much x

Back to Top Contact Us Share on Facebook Tweet this Post Email to a Friend