Tag Archives: Harrogate

July 2015: Treasure hunt


Almost 60 members of Spa Sweethearts WI raced around the streets of Harrogate in July for our annual outdoor meeting.

For once, it didn’t rain – or even threaten to rain – so we were able to make the most of the chance to enjoy our beautiful home town.

Armed with clues, pens, and friends, our members set off from Montpellier Hill on a tour of some of the most famous parts of Harrogate, searching for hidden answers and secrets we all normally overlook. Taking part in teams of three or four, it was a chance for everyone to catch up with friends or get to know other WI members as they went.

The clues and route were expertly planned by committee member Jillaine, and most people managed to get almost every answer after a bit of hunting. (Except one. Who would have thought that, in the week between writing the treasure hunt and handing it out, someone would re-paint the one front door that had been chosen as a clue?!)

So, with some high scores competing for the glory of being named winners (not to mention a prize!), it came down to the finishing time. There were just seconds in it, but the winning team was chosen and announced to the group.

We finished the night at La Tasca in Harrogate, where we enjoyed tapas and drinks for the rest of the evening. A very sophisticated end to a WI meeting!

April 2015: Gift wrapping


The mysteries of impressive gift wrapping were explained to us by Jo Thompson of More Pretty Things at our April meeting.

She began by showing us how to wrap the classic difficult gift – a bottle. Her technique would work for bottles of all different shapes and sizes – a few carefully placed folds and you have a gift to impress the fussiest of recipients!

She also demonstrated a simple, low-cost way of putting together a flower display that would work for all sorts of occasions. With a jam jar, some tissue paper and a small bunch of blooms, Jo quickly created a sweet gift which would be fantastic for anyone from the host of a party to someone feeling under the weather – and best of all, the jar means then don’t have to worry about finding a vase.

Jo’s third demonstration was a small gift bag, which again she made look extremely easy and achieved a great result. Then it was over to us: with some beautiful paper, a bit of card, a small box and a piece of ribbon, we set about making our own gift bags.

Naturally, we weren’t quite as skilled as Jo, but it was easy to see how, with a bit more practice, we could be turning out beautiful gift bags for every occasion of the year.

Next month: join us to learn the art of Sri Lankan cookery with DeeSpice. St George’s Social Club in Harrogate, Thursday 14th May, 7.30pm. Guests welcome at £5 per person.

March 2015: Take tea with Taylors of Harrogate


For our third meeting of the year, we were very pleased to welcome Tom from Taylors of Harrogate to talk all things tea.

Taylors – along with its sister company, Bettys of Harrogate – is one of our town’s best-known exports. It has become an internationally famous brand, not least through its Yorkshire Tea, which has become a favourite with a surprising number and range of celebrities.

However, there is much more to Taylors than ordinary tea. Tom talked us through the history of tea drinking, from its accidental discovery to the modern day range available from Taylors. He also passed around a number of tins of tea leaves to allow us to see – and smell – the differences between the varieties. (Hint: do not take a deep inhalation of Imperial Gunpowder Leaf Tea. It smells on fire.)

Tom also challenged us to work out how several different items were connected with Taylors and tea, including a silk handkerchief (another accidental discovery – a sort of early version of a tea bag). He then invited questions from the audience, which were many and varied, covering everything from the tea-blending process (the details are hard to remember, but needless to say it is absolutely meticulous) to the importance of celebrity fans (did you know Yorkshire Tea is the official tea choice of One Direction? This may or may not be true, but with Zayn Malik and Louis Tomlinson both coming from God’s Own County, a link-up was fairly inevitable. Louis has tweeted about his love of Yorkshire Tea in the past, which has no doubt led to a rise in sales to teenage girls…)

Of course, we couldn’t talk about tea without having a bit of it, so our lovely hostesses obliged – and you can’t have tea without cake, can you? Our members had done us proud again and the selection of cakes and biscuits was delicious.

We must say a huge thank-you to Tom for his talk. Being relatively new to the team and inexperienced compared to some of the other Taylors speakers, he was slightly nervous. Standing up in front of one of our busiest meetings ever – a whopping 80 ladies in the room – probably didn’t help! However, he made the evening very good fun for all of us and had a fantastic sense of humour. We would certainly recommend him to anyone who wants to learn the fine art of tea-making.

NEXT MONTH: Present wrapping. Do you struggle to wrap awkward gifts? Does anything non-rectangular give you nightmares? Find out how to wrap like a pro with Spa Sweethearts WI! Join us on Thursday 9th April, 7.30pm, St George’s Social Club, St George’s Road, Harrogate. Guests £5; members free.