Tag Archives: Harrogate

January 2015: A Vision for 2015


If there’s one thing that January is known for, it is New Year’s Resolutions. Every year, most of us plan to improve our lives in some way – and yet by the end of the month, never mind the year, we’ve often gone back to our bad habits.

With this in mind, we invited management and life coach Zoe Whitby to join us for the first meeting of the year and help us to make sensible, sustainable changes which really can help us to make our lives better.

We began with an analysis exercise. By examining each area of our lives, from diet to finances, relationships to career, we could work out where we had the least satisfaction and therefore what we ought to address. Zoe advised us to imagine what we would view as the ideal scenario, then compare our current situation to that, to help us visualise where we were aiming to be.

Equally important was choosing the right language: many people choose to ‘give up’ something or ‘stop’ something in the new year, such as smoking or junk food. Mentally, we feel we are being deprived. Instead, if we phrase it as making a positive choice to improve our lives, we are far more likely to succeed. Doing things in small steps is also key. There is no point in trying to go from doing no exercise at all to running 10km every day. Instead, aim to introduce simple changes to your existing regime until they become routine, and build on them as you improve.

After the opening exercise, we moved on to creating vision boards. By choosing words and images from newspapers and magazines which we find striking or appealing, we were able to create a visual representation of what we want in our lives. For some of us, there was a definite theme to the overall result (cake, in my case), while for others the effect was a kind of summary of all aspects of our lives.

Vision boards

Thanks to Zoe for leading the exercise and then allowing us to make the most of some time out to focus on our own lives. It was an interesting and inspiring evening which should stay with us throughout 2015 – and perhaps beyond.

To find out more about Zoe’s work, visit her website – Z W Coaching.

July 2014: Sports Day


For many of us, July means one thing sports day. Or at least it did until we got told to stop gatecrashing sports days at local primary schools.

In order to recreate our childhood (and avoid arrest) we decided to hold our own Spa Sweethearts Sports Day on the Stray in Harrogate.

Organised by the ever-reliable Catherine, it involved egg and spoon races, three-legged races, a sack race, and lots of things with those tiny bean bags. Naturally, we split into two teams to make it competitive, and everyone seemed to find a sport they were good at (or at least not embarrassingly bad).

Just four points separated the two teams by the time of the final race, and there were extra points on offer for the traditional relay, so it was the most competitive event of the night. Team 1 performed brilliantly, but in the end Team A took the glory with excellent speed over the eight legs of the relay.

Luckily, there was a Union Jack picnic blanket on hand for our celebrations (this is the WI – there was food and wine involved before we could do anything else).
Sports Day 2 edit

And of course, with fantastic chocolate medals provided by Lucy, there was the obligatory biting-your-gold-medal shot at the end (before we actually did bite the medals and eat them).
Sports Day 1 edit


(Photos by President Becky, who refused to be in them despite taking part in the races! And it was getting slightly dark by the end…)

June 2014: Tour de France


With the Grand Depart of the Tour de France just three weeks away, our June meeting was a great opportunity to find out a little more about what this huge event will mean for us all.

Dee Marshall from Welcome to Yorkshire was our guest speaker and provided a fantastic insight into the months of hard work which helped to secure the Grand Depart for Yorkshire. She shared some of the more unusual aspects of the bid, including the fact that the Tour de France organisers had no idea where Yorkshire was (or even what is was – “is that a country?”) until the Welcome to Yorkshire team contacted them. After 5th and 6th July, hopefully many more people will know where we are and what our lovely region looks like!

As well as telling us about how the Yorkshire bid was put together, Dee explained that it became increasingly apparent that this would be an event on a scale never seen before in Yorkshire. It will be broadcast live in 190 countries around the world, with a global audience of 3.5bn. An impressive three million people are expected to come to Yorkshire to line the route of the Grand Depart, and the television audience means there could be millions more people visiting the region over the coming years after seeing our rolling hills and historic towns and villages on the footage. Following an investment of £10m to host the Grand Depart, Welcome to Yorkshire believes the return for the region’s economy could be at least £100m.

However, there are still some people who have not appreciated the scale of the event and Dee was keen to emphasise that it will cause disruption over the weekend of 5th and 6th July. However, she pointed out that unusual weather such as heavy snow often means things grind to a halt in Yorkshire. “The difference between us and being snowed in,” she said, “is were telling you it’s 5th July. You can plan ahead!”

Yet Yorkshire folk are creatures of habit, and Dee has dealt with several disgruntled locals who are deeply unimpressed at having to change their usual routine. Why shouldn’t they go to the supermarket on the Saturday morning as they do every week?!

However, the majority of people have been quick to embrace the Tour de France. Harrogate and the surrounding towns and villages are already looking suitably festive, with plenty of yellow bikes, bunting and shop fronts decorated for the occasion. The North Yorkshire West Federation of the WI, which Spa Sweethearts is part of, has also supported the Tour de Bunting project organised by Harrogate Borough Council which saw more than 23,000 mini knitted jerseys donated by people from around the world.

TdF collage

After Dee’s entertaining talk, we enjoyed the delicious French-themed Yorkshire ploughman’s buffet prepared by committee member Sue Warburton, along with some great wine and beer from

Fancy dress editAke & Humphris. There was also a chance to emulate the Tour de France cyclists (well, sort of) with an exercise bike challenge. We split into two teams – one named Yorkshire, the other France – and covered as many miles as possible during the evening. In the end, Yorkshire was the worthy winner, having completed 22.36km to France’s 21.23km. Everyone in Team Yorkshire was then entered into a raffle for the chance to win some beautiful bicycle mugs from Fodder.

Finally, there was a fancy dress competition on the theme of France. There were several berets on show and a number of stripy shirts, but in the end there could only be one winner and it had to be Rachel in her fantastic Eiffel Tower outfit.

It was a fantastic evening and certainly gave us all much more information about the arrival of the world’s biggest annual sporting event, and biggest free sporting event, on our doorsteps. Spa Sweethearts members will no doubt be celebrating in style in July!