This weekend as I dusted off my Victoria sponge cake with icing sugar and potted up cherry jam I couldn’t help feeling that the set of the film Calendar Girls got it right when it showed the ruthless competition for glory at Women’s Institute village shows, for when I arrived at my local show in Llanfarian village hall it was evident that entrants practice for months, indeed some of them from one year to the next and that they all take it very seriously.

The morning of the show was an absolute bustle with entrants placing their entries on display. From the faces and posture of many of the entrants it was possible to see that this was the highlight of the competitive year and certainly no game. Having placed my few entries on display, including, my daughters, Hattie and Libby’s art and craft entries I wandered around for a few minutes and I must say I was truly dazzled by some of the work that had gone into the entries. In the youth section, the miniature gardens on a plate where superb, but then the entries throughout the show were all very good.

My entries didn’t win any prizes, but then this is my first ever village show and I entered just to see what it was like and in order to support the village I live in. The winners in the jam and cake sections were old hands at village shows and they undoubtedly deserved to win. However, Hattie and Libby were show winners, Libby aged 5 had spent the evening before the show  painting a very nice hedgehog and his tasty earthworm, whilst Harriet aged 8 spent her evening my button tin to make a button flower card.

After admiring the various entries and taking particular interest in the misshapen vegetables, it was soon time to head home for a cup of tea and a slice of cake. My prize winning daughters were still basking in the glory of their wins at bedtime and they have great plans for next year, although, I think I may stick to national competitions.






About Seren Charrington-Hollins

ABOUT SEREN-CHARRINGTON-HOLLINS Describing my work through just one job title is difficult; because my professional life sees me wear a few hats: Food Historian, period cook, broadcaster, writer and consultant. I have a great passion for social and food history and in addition to researching food history and trends I have also acted as a consultant on domestic life and changes throughout history for a number of International Companies. In addition to being regularly aired on radio stations; I have made a number of television appearances on everything from Sky News through to ITV’s Country House Sunday, Holiday of a Lifetime with Len Goodman , BBC4’s Castle’s Under Siege, BBC South Ration Book Britain; Pubs that Built Britain with Hairy Bikers and BBC 2’s Inside the Factory. Amongst other publications my work has been featured in Period Living Magazine, Telegraph, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and Great British Food Magazine and I write regularly for a variety of print and online publications. I am very fortunate to be able to undertake work that is also my passion and never tire of researching; recreating historical recipes and researching changing domestic patterns. Feel free to visit my blog,