Tag Archives: WI

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!

November 2014: Willow weaving


There are some topics which the Spa Sweethearts take to like ducks to water. For many people, willow weaving was one of them – and the guidance of tutor Leilah Vyner from Dragon Willow helped make it a real success.

Leilah began by telling us about her background and showing us slides of some of her fantastic creations and those made by some of her students. We were all particularly impressed by the willow reindeer she brought along, but quite rightly Leilah had decided we should start with something a little more manageable. Heart-shaped wreaths were the order of the day.

After being shown the simple method, we were all given the two pieces of willow which would make the basis of our hearts and began gently bending them into shape. A few people opted instead for a traditional round wreath shape. A handful of us (myself included) had issues with snaps and kinks in our willow, but Leilah was more than happy to supply a replacement piece and help us get started again.

Once the basic shape was in place, we helped ourselves to the range of decorations Leilah had brought along, including everything from natural greenery to festive, glittery decorations. Within just one session, many of our members and guests had created impressive wreaths which wouldn’t have looked out of place in an upmarket home decor shop, with a hefty price tag attached. Perhaps this is a potential new line for Spa Sweethearts enterprises?!

Some of the beautiful willow creations made by the Spa Sweethearts.

Some of the beautiful willow creations made by the Spa Sweethearts.

As ever, some of our members had baked some delicious goodies for us all to enjoy. One unknown lady had made some fantastic mince pies – I had my first of the season. Followed by my second. Yum.

Particular thanks must go to those ladies who arrived early to help, and who stayed behind at the end to clear up. Any meetings involving greenery tend to be extremely messy and this was no exception. On top of that, we had all our 2015 membership payments to sort out, as well as Christmas party money and the small charge for materials on the night. It could have been chaotic, but thanks to the hard work of the committee and supporters it all ran fairly smoothly on the night.

Next month’s meeting will be our Christmas party night, with games, a bring-and-share supper and more. Details to follow soon!

September 2013: Cheese


One thing you can say about the ladies of Spa Sweethearts is that they like their food and drink.

Our cocktails session last month was one of our most popular evenings yet, and when we were told we could bring some wine along to enjoy with our cheese this evening – well, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Rather than just shoveling food and drink into our mouths, Merritt’s of York had added an element of challenge to proceedings. We were invited to try six cheeses and match them to the descriptions we were given.

As well as the cheeses, there were breads and biscuits to try, as well as some grapes on the side of the plates. More than one visit to the top table was needed to ensure we were sure of the flavours we were tasting, and to find a favourite.

It was interesting to see that, when Julian from Merritt’s asked us which cheese was our favourite, there was a fairly even spread of hands going up for each cheese. There were only a few crumbs of cheese left of each plate by the end!

We had a great evening and enjoyed trying all the different cheeses, competing to see who was best at recognising the different flavours and textures.