Archive for 2013

December meeting - Christmas De Burgh

Monday, 23 December 2013 § 0

The room at the Cosmopolitan was bedecked with flickering fairy lights, there were sweets on every table, an enticing buffet stacked with crisps, mini pork pies, mini cornish pasties, dips, cocktail sausages, peanuts, mince pies, chocolate log, and all manner of home made festive loveliness from our members including chocolate dipped marshmellows, ginger cookies, a very intense chocolately rockie road type confection, mincemeat chelsea buns - it's making me salivate as I try and remember all the loveliness on offer. Suffice to say there was loads and all of it was delicious.

Once the business part of the meeting was done with it was on with the cheesy xmas songs, sampling the delights of the buffet, chatting and the making of suffolk puffs with festive fabric. There was enough buffet for us to take a plate of treaty goodness to the staff on duty at the Cosmopolitan to say thank you too.

A big thank you to all our members, guests, speakers, workshop leaders who have helped make 2013 such a success - and here's to 2014.

Details of all our meetings and workshops can be found at and looking forward to seeing you at a meeting or workshop soon.

November meeting - Wishing Wellness

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For our November meeting the Roses were joined by Marianna from Women’s Health Matters who spoke to the group about the charities work with women across the city. From working with asylum seekers to those affected by domestic violence, as well as offering support for teenage mums and giving sexual health advice the charity works to improve the lives of many of Leeds’ women.

Marianna then spoke to the group about a variety of sexual health issues including how to conduct a breast exam and chatted about cervical screening. The Roses then had a chance to have a go and see if they could detect the lumps in Marianna’s fake breasts!

The Roses Horror Show: Annual fundraiser

Wednesday, 11 December 2013 § 0

This year our annual fundraiser had a rather goulish theme with the Roses descending on Toast for the Halloween themed Roses Horror show.

The Roses not only raised a lot of money for the group with ticket fees and a fab raffle (the prizes were great it has to be said) but there was also a cake competition – which was one not by a Buns & Roses but by a man! Dobo took away the well deserved prize for his fantastic cookie monster cakes which the judges say not only taste great but looked amazing too.

While the best dress prize went to Steve for his fab murdered husband look and Becky who wore an impressive homemade spider’s web hat.

Stay tuned for news on next year’s party!

November workshop - Highway to smell

Tuesday, 26 November 2013 § 0

For our November meeting the Roses braved the cold and the rain to have a relaxing evening making salt scrubs.

Led by the lovely Lucy and Jenny the group learnt how to make up the scrub using oil, salt and essential oils. 

We also then spent time decorating glass jars to make it into a great Christmas present.

November book club - Northanger Abbey

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It seemed fitting somehow to be discussing Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen amongst the victorian splendour of the Tiled Hall Cafe. It's a good spot for people watching as it's between the Art Gallery and the Library. Northanger Abbey has a lot of people watching in it as well as being a pastiche of gothic novels - though alas none of us had read the novels mentioned in the book - most notably The Mysteries of Udolpho and The Italian by Ann Radcliffe so we can't tell you first hand how good a pastiche it is, but we can tell you it is wonderful novel full of people watching - each page packed with delicious detail of tea taking,dancing, gossiping, flirtation, misunderstandings, fashion, and of course romance.

Everyone there had read it (apart from me who had pitifully only managed to read two pages and one of those had a picture) and all agreed how much they had enjoyed it and what a delightful read it was. I'm now up to page 30 and am also really enjoying it. It's very funny and a pleasure to read.

We also talked of how our tastes in books have changed - for instance I hated Mansfield Park (also by Austen) when made to read it when I was a teenager but loved it and realised how funny it was when I re-read it a couple of years ago. And also where and how we read - kindle type devices are extremely convenient when going on holiday but we all agreed that nothing feels as good in the hands as a made of paper pages book.

We'll next be meeting on Sunday January 19th 2014 at 2.30pm at the Tiled Hall Cafe (their scones are amongst the best in Leeds) and we'll be discussing Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick - as always we don't mind if you haven't finished it, only seen the film adaptation or just read the Wikipedia entry about it as long as you don't mind maybe finding out the ending before you've finished reading it. Come along, have some tea and cake and talk books :-)

October Meeting - Making your wine up

Monday, 21 October 2013 § 1

Wine expert George Beaumont did his best to instil his winely wisdom into an eager to taste bunch of Roses last night.

We tried 6 different wines from around the world over the course of the evening. A couple of whites and three reds and he explained a bit about each wine before we tried it, where it was made, what latitude it was grown at and how long it took to ferment. Then he invited us to try each one and asked us what it tasted like - responses varied from 'a honeyed aftertaste' 'smells a bit like gooseberries' to 'tastes of sour wood'.

He also gave us some top tips winewise:

The sweeter the wine, the worse the hangover so if you are planning a big night out and want to avoid a headache then the dryer the wine the better
Cheap french wine is worse than any other kind of cheap wine

Roughly £4.50 of the cost of any bottle of wine is taxes so a £5 bottle of wine contains just 50p's worth of wine so an £8 bottle contains £4 pounds worth and that is something to bear in mind when buying wine.

Using bits of leftover wine to cook with isn't worth it as if it's not good enough to drink then it's not good enough to cook with.

There were lots of other bits of winely wisdom he imparted but I'm afraid by then I was so enthusiastically trying the wine I forgot to write them down.

You see we weren't doing anything as vulgar as spitting the wine out but drinking it down properly in a civilised manner so I'm afraid the evening is a bit of a blur but it did involve cheese and biscuits and of course WI loveliness.

October workshop - Murder on the dance draw

Tuesday, 8 October 2013 § 0

This month the Roses got to exercise their artist steaks thanks to Peter Hudspith who has been working as an artist and illustrator for over 25 years.

Pete took the group through the basics of drawing faces and how to get the proportions right for all our features.

The Roses were then let loose to pair off and draw each other with some great results – it looks like we have a few budding Da Vinci’s in the group.

September Meeting - You Can't Curry Love

Wednesday, 25 September 2013 § 0

September's meeting proved extremely popular with the Roses as it was very much food related!

After the normal introductions from the committee and updates as to what is going on with the WI at a National and Federation level we moved onto the Curry Cookery Demonstration part of the evening!

We were joined by the lovely Prett Tejura from Curry Cuisine who took the plunge in the middle of a recession and followed her passion for food and founded a cooking school.  Prett was accompanied by her friend Alison who also helped with the demonstration and her daughter Nayesha who sold some of the amazing chutneys and spice mixes.   

Prett's entrepreneurial flair enabled the school to flourish and in 2009 saw it diversify into manufacturing for retail. The family recipes were so well received by customers for their truly authentic taste and flavour, that demand was created to develop a retail range which included chutneys, spice mixes and dessert sauces - of course our Roses all took advantage of the free tasting samples and used it as a great opportunity to stock up on some tasty condiments that were well promoted and marketed by Nayesha!

Prett with the help of her assistant showed us how to cook perfect Pilau rice, a tasty chicken curry and what was perhaps most exciting for some of our Roses (mentioning no names here!) how to make the most charming chappatis.  

Prett very kindly has given a special 10% discount to all our Buns & Roses members if you want to book onto a cooking course - definitely worth taking advantage!

September Book Club - Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

Monday, 16 September 2013 § 0

5 of us met on Sunday to discuss Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg. As the wind picked up outside we sat cosily inside the Tiled Hall discussing how much we had enjoyed reading it - the scores ranged from 7 to 9 out of 10. Scores like that are high praise indeed.

We each agreed how vivid the voice of each character was, the delight of the excerpts from The Weems Weekly, Whistle Stop Alabama's Weekly Bulletin by Dot Weems, the delightful love story of Ruth and Idgie, the differences between the book and the film adapatation, our favourite bits - we all loved the trial scene and the part in which Evelyn takes her revenge upon parking spot stealers and which of the recipes at the end of the book we would try. We all wanted to be able to go the the Whistle Stop Cafe and to try their  Fried Green Tomatoes.

The Washington Post describes it as a 'funny and macabre novel' and we all agreed it was exactly that but it isn't just that - it is also a heartwarming tale of love, loss, friendship, cooking, understandable murder, outwitting of the Ku Klux Klan and the judicial system. It's an easy friendly read that doesn't insult your intelligence and it has made us want to read her other books.

We also talked about how to develop book club in the future - one thing we might do is instead of picking individual books is pick a genre, each read a book from that genre and then discuss the genre as a whole but for the meantime we decided we would again write names of books on pieces of paper and then pick one out of the bag. The book chosen this time was Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen and honestly I did not fix the choice - even though this is the second time on the trot it's been my suggestion that was picked.

We'll be meeting to discuss it at 2.30pm (a slight later start as that should give us time to recover from the Buns and Roses Party the night before) on Sunday November 10th at the Tiled Hall Cafe. They do lovely cake. It's the most  comic of Jane Austen's novels and is a parody of gothic fiction. Come along and tell us what you think about it - even if you haven't read it and just seen the film or the Wikipedia entry about it. 


September Workshop - Sew Macho - English Patchwork Workshop

Monday, 9 September 2013 § 0

Founder member and former Buns & Roses Treasurer Hayley Mills-Styles taught us English Patchwork for our September workshop - Sew Macho. Hayley showed us how to create a decorative panel to applique onto a cushion cover, which will be perfect for adorning sofa or giving as a fantastic homemade gifts.

English Patchwork skills are quite straightforward to learn (well when you have a good tutor it helps!) and once mastered can then be used to make and / or decorate bags, more cushions and even a quilt.

The first stage is to make a cardboard template - it needs to be any shape that will tessellate - our members made hexagons and diamonds and can be seen here cutting out their cardboard templates. 

The next stage is to draw around the template and cut out lots of small paper pieces exactly the same size.  Once this has been done you use a slightly larger template or just by free hand draw and cut out your fabric pieces - Hayley recommends using a cotton or poly-cotton fabric.  Then the fabric is pinned to the paper piece and tacked using cotton around the paper - you actually sew through the paper and the fabric.

You will then end up with shapes looking a bit like this which you can iron to make them easier to work with.

When you have your shapes ready, they are then sewn together with tiny stitches along the edges and again ironed to make the shape more definite.  The paper can then be removed or left in depending on how you feel and whether you plan on washing the item!

Here are some of the results from the Workshop - they'll look even more lovely when they're finished!  Please upload your pictures to Facebook or Twitter we want to see your creations!

August meeting - She's Got the Book

Tuesday, 27 August 2013 § 0

August's meeting gave the Roses a chance to get all literary with the help of Jess from the Travelling suitcase library.

The Travelling Suitcase Library run by library worker and advocate Jess Haigh (@bookelfleeds). Jess loves to talk reading and books, and can help with recommendations from the Travelling Suitcase Library if you are a bit stumped. Jess was amazing and gave us a talk about why she set up the library as well as answering some questions from the Roses. After that everyone at the meeting had a good old fashioned book swap before heading home with some fab reading material.

August workshop- Build me up Buttercream

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For our August workshop we were joined by the lovely ladies from the Harrogate and District Branch of the British Sugarcraft Guild. They took the time to show the Roses how to make a duck and a dog out of marzipan.

These adorable animals taught the group the basics of modelling with marzipan and gave the Roses a chance to take home some great creations (or just eat them but most took there's home to treasure).

As ever the Roses took the opportunity to show off their creativity by taking the basic technique and creating their own unique designs.