Tag Archives: Yorkshire WI

August 2015: Pasta party


Food-related meetings always get a good response from the Sweethearts, and this month’s meeting was no exception.

Stefano from Harrogate’s Cafe Rosso shared his love of food with us, telling us about his upbringing and enlightening us on the Italian way of eating.

He took us on a journey from his childhood in northern Italy to opening a restaurant in his adopted home town of Harrogate. As a child, he was involved in preparing meals at an early age, and remembers every meal being an opportunity to spend time together with the family.

He has carried that philosophy throughout his life, always seeking to make his cafe a welcoming and comfortable place for his customers. He treats them as family and does all he can to ensure they have an enjoyable meal.

Stefano had some fantastic anecdotes from his experience working in restaurants and cooking for his family. In a tale that many of us could probably relate to, he said his mother still insists on sending him ‘proper’ coffee – despite the fact he runs a successful cafe which sells very high quality coffee to happy customers every day.

As well as his usual menu during the day, Stefano now offers special events on occasional evenings, including buffet suppers and tasting nights. They are proving popular with customers and several members of Spa Sweethearts were keen to sign up for the next event (details are posted on the Cafe Rosso Facebook page).

Of course, no food-related meeting would be complete without some actual food. Stefano had very kindly brought along a selection from his menu, and it didn’t take us long to work our way through profiteroles, biscotti and probably the best tiramisu that has ever been created. Seriously.

If you’re ever looking for authentic, delicious Italian food created as though it were a home-cooked meal for friends, we would all thoroughly recommend Cafe Rosso – especially if you get to hear any of Stefano’s stories while you’re there.

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!

August 2014: First aid


When we turned up for our August meeting, we didn’t expect it to be the most fun night we’d ever had. Informative and useful, yes, but fun? Definitely not.

How wrong we were. Thanks to our absolutely hilarious speaker, Kate Horner from the British Red Cross, we laughed our way through a huge range of illnesses and accidents to become much more confident at handling an emergency.

We began by going through the reasons why people are often afraid to give first aid, covering everything from not being confident enough to offer the right help to worrying about getting an infection from an injured person. Kate quickly put these fears to rest (“don’t lick your patients” was a particular highlight from her advice) and we moved on to looking at ways in which we can actually be helpful.

Kate explained that first aid advice has been significantly simplified in recent years. While it used to be the case that reams of information was given out for every possible scenario, it has now been recognised that people are put off by this and it is better to get them to remember one simple action.

We began by looking at choking, for which the one thing to remember to do is back blows (formerly back slaps, but this was not felt to sound forceful enough). If you are feeling confident, abdominal thrusts can be given if the back blows do not work.

The second medical area we covered was burns, learning that no matter what the cause of a burn (hot fat, steam, electric etc) the treatment is the same: at least 10 minutes in cold liquid (milk or beer will do if there is no cold water to hand). Doing this for the full 10 minutes is vital – a couple of minutes will not be enough to stop it from burning.

Once we had taken the heat out of that situation (sorry), we moved on to strokes and heart attacks. Prominent adverts for both have helped more people to understand how to recognise strokes (FAST: Face, Arms, Speech, Time) and treat heart attacks (grab Vinnie Jones and sing Stayin’ Alive). Kate recommended the American version of the CPR advert as it has a clearer message which is easy to remember.

There was just time to learn the key things to do for an asthma attack (help the person to use their own inhaler – usually a blue one) and poisoning (don’t make them sick or give them anything else to drink, just get them to a hospital).

The booklet published by the British Red Cross which given to all of us was full of this kind of simple, clear advice and, although nobody ever wants to have to use it, it may well make a big difference to some of us one day. Above all, Kate reminded us that if we aren’t sure about getting involved directly, the best thing to do is to call 999. This will always get the person the right help and will never cause any harm: paramedics will never mind being called out to an emergency, even if it turns out to be less serious than we first thought.

Kate’s talk was exactly what it needed to be: easy to follow, full of simple yet effective advice and, above all, very memorable. We are very grateful to the British Red Cross for sending her our way!