October: Autumn Extravaganza

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We celebrated all things Autumnal in our October meeting. The evening was spent crafting, socialising, eating and drinking which was a lovely way to celebrate the season.

Three crafts were available during the evening with some sweethearts focussing on perfecting one, while others whirled through all three. An autumn garland was the first craft with silky, colourful leaves being sewn onto string. The red and orange leaves were used up first and some beautiful decorations will be gracing Harrogate’s homes this autumn.

In the crafting world Christmas starts in September so we also learned how to make a paper star in either Autumn or Christmas colours. By simply folding a triangle in a concertina and folding it in half a leaf shape was created. When 5 or 6 are stuck together they create a star shape. Browns. reds and golds made an Autumn decoration whereas reds and greens gave it a Christmassy look.

The last craft was a folded origami fabric star. Two of the committee had spent hours ironing tubes of fabric to be folded together to create this amazing no-sew decoration.  The instructions were a little tricky but with perseverance and little help some truly amazing stars were made. Many sweethearts took home extra material to continue making at home.

The instructions for these crafts can be found in the Craft of The Month section of our website.

We finished off the evening with an Autumnal feast which everyone had contributed to. We all had a most enjoyable evening and a big thank you to the Spa Sweethearts committee who worked so hard to make the evening a success.

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September: Sloe Gin

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The people from Sloe Motion, a local business based near York, joined us for our September meeting. We had a very enjoyable evening taking in the history of the drink, how it is made, how the business developed and , of course, tasting the delicious product.  Sloes are the fruit of the blackthorn, a common hedge plant. When the farms were enclosed with these hedges the country folk needed to find a use for the fruit. Combined with cheap sugar and cheaper gin a delicious drink was born. We discovered that although the drink is still basically made in the same way, there is no longer any need to pick the fruit “ after the first frost” as many of us thought. We were told instead to freeze the sloes after they are picked and use them from frozen which helps to break down the tough skins and lets the flavour and colour out.  If you want to have a go at making your own take a look at this month’s recipe inspiration.

Sloe Motion make many other products and we tasted Hedgerow Gin, Sloe Whisky and sloe gin itself. There was an opportunity to stock up on supplies and one lucky sweetheart won a bottle to take home.

You can find the full range of products made by Sloe Motion on their website.

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August 2017: Ice Cream

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For a summer treat we were joined in August by Dawn from LICC, the Luxury Ice Cream Company . Dawn gave us an interesting and informative talk taking us from the arrival of ice cream in Britain to the development of her own gelateria in York.  She explained how she set up her artisan ice cream parlour after needing a career change from the housing sector. After training with an Italian ice cream maker and purchasing the specialised equipment Dawn, and her partner, built a successful business. Of course we

 were all keen to try out the product so we paused for Dawn to serve us a tub of her popular Malteser flavoured ice cream. While we devoured the tasty treat Dawn told us more about the successes and pitfalls of setting up a business in 21st century Britain. She told us some of her craziest flavour requests (whey protein or marmite flavour anyone?) and how the customers often suggest interesting flavour combinations .Dawn predicted 

that artisan ice cream parlours would soon be as popular as coffee shops on our high streets and after tasting tonight’s offering we certainly hope so! This month’s recipe is for a no churn ice cream you can make at home.

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