Tag Archives: North Yorkshire

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.

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…)