Winter 2023 Newsletter


American Women’s Club of Central Scotland

Asks families to SAVE THE DATE

WHEN:             Sunday 26 November 2023

WHAT:              Thanksgiving

WHERE:            Best Western Braid Hills Hotel,  134 Braid Road, EH10 6JD

TIME:               2:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Donations requested for charity auction, please see below in Club Announcements

Deadline for booking – 12th November

Greetings from your President

FAWCO Region 1 Meeting in Scotland, October 2023

What an incredible time we had together – even the brutal Scottish rain couldn’t stop us! AWC Central Scotland came through once again with a little help from our friend Margie O’Rourke from AWC Dublin, who was right there with us making sure everything went smoothly. We had our welcome wagon out Friday night at the Meet & Greet, with Nancy Lynner, Ellie Fisher and Margie welcoming our sisters from other clubs with our environmentally themed welcome bag, and we collected the Silent Auction items that people so kindly donated. 

On Friday night we shared a meal at a local restaurant, Fletchers, known for their traditional Scottish menu, and played a FAWCO-centric game while we waited for our Scottish-themed dinner. We laughed and we drank – everyone, everywhere, all together.

Saturday was full on! We continued the Meet & Greet for those who were arriving that morning at the Highland Hotel Stirling, and enjoyed a lovely Scottish breakfast before we started our day. The auction items were laid throughout the room: there were cookbooks, candy, calendars, and even a Dutch oven and Google home device available to bid on.

Cynthia Holden, AWC Central Scotland President and Region 1 Coordinator, welcomed everyone and introduced the FAWCO Rep for AWC Central Scotland, Candace Silvera, who was our emcee for the day. A special acknowledgement goes out to AWCCS’s IT guru, Quonya Huff, whose digital skills kept the day running smoothly. 

We enjoyed a thoughtful icebreaker designed to get people talking to each other and thinking: Environmental People Bingo. All of the questions centered around Climate Action at a personal level. What do you and the people around you do with sustainability in mind?

We then welcomed  FAWCO’s president, Ann Marie Morrow, and FAWCO’s VP Member Clubs, Kanika Holloway, to share information about what FAWCO is and does – very inspiring! 

Amanda Drollinger, Target Project Chair, shared the latest updates on the Target Project, Awesome Blossoms, to answer why we are raising money for this worthy charity. She also announced the Youth Cultural Volunteers Program that is being held in Scotland next year, and spoke a little about one of the programs where they will volunteer. The Scottish Seabird Centre is a marine conservation and education charity with a visitor center, located in the beautiful coastal town of North Berwick. 

Tammy Mayer, Founder of One Climate Action, spoke to us via Zoom about communicating effectively about climate change. Tammy told us it is everyone’s responsibility to save our environment and to speak up to challenge others. We learned the principles of communicating in ways that bring others towards supporting climate solutions. These principles are based on psychology and research about influencing and persuasion. She helped us create our own personal action plan for creating communications materials that we can use in our own clubs.

Our next speaker was Sarah Kent from Trees for Life and the Rewilding Centre in Dundreggan. Trees For Life’s vision is of a revitalized, wild forest in the Scottish Highlands, providing space for wildlife to flourish and communities to thrive. For over 25 years, Trees for Life has sought to bring innovation to conservation, and the Dundreggan Rewilding Centre, which opened in April 2023, is the most recent installment in this effort. The Rewilding Centre enables us to share the forest with everyone. It is a place where people can experience an ancient pinewood and unique juniper forest, discover centuries of Gaelic history and connect with a landscape undergoing transformation through rewilding. She was truly amazing, and we learned so much fascinating information about trees. Trees! Who knew?! This is also where our youth will spend most of their time during the cultural exchange.

Next we had The FAWCO Foundation VP Fundraising, Angie Aebersold, who shared information about the annual Education Awards and Development Grants that the Foundation offers to clubs and club members.

Last but not least, we heard from Eileen Budd with the Travelling Folk Museum; she is an expert in Scottish women’s folklore. Eileen is a Scottish author, artist and storyteller with over 20 years’ experience working with national museums. Raised in Perthshire in a family with a tradition of maintaining oral storytelling practices, she specializes in traditional Scottish folklore, folk traditions, folk objects, origin stories and ancient Scottish legends. She shared a few fascinating stories with us. 

We ended the evening with a lovely dinner as we completed the auction and the winners’ prizes were passed on to them. A few of the women decided to brave the weather and spent the evening in a local pub, the Settle Inn, established in 1733. They had a great time and lots of laughs with the locals. 

On Sunday morning we shared breakfast and said our goodbyes, although a few stayed – including Julia H., FAWCO Rep from AW Surrey International Group, who played crystal singing bowls and gave us all the opportunity to experience the beautiful and calming sounds. The few of us who were left did a wee walk around Stirling, and some of us spent time at Stirling Castle sharing lunch and memories before we said goodbye.

What an absolutely awesome and memorable weekend. We won’t soon – or ever — forget Stirling. Everyone, Everywhere, All Together.

Best wishes,

Cynthia (The Baroness)

Upcoming Events

Save The Date

Traditional American Cookie Exchange 

WHEN: Friday 8 December, Time: 7:00 PM


Kathy McGlew’s flat at 2 circus Gardens Edinburgh EH3 6TN

Come along to this Holiday Party. Bring along 2 dozen of your favorite cookies. Taste and share them at the party and at the end take home a variety of cookies other guests have made. (Buying cookies is fine.) Bring the recipe to share.

Provided: snacks, tea, coffee, water, wine, and even bags for your take-home cookies

There will be a box for donations to our charity

Afternoon Tea – Discussion of our hosting of the FAWCO Youth Cultural Volunteers Program

WHEN: Saturday 20 January 2024, Probably 2:00 – 3:00

WHERE: The Colessio, 33 Spittal Street, Stirling FK8 1DU

PRICE:  £20.00

Watch for details and menu coming through your club event announcement emails for booking

Skittles and pub buffet

WHERE: The Sheep Heid Inn, 43-45 The Causeway, Edinburgh EH15 3QA

WHEN: Saturday 17 February, 2024 probably 6:00 – 9:00 pm

COST: There will be a charge that includes the pub food buffet and a fee to have the Skittles lanes to ourselves


Recent Events


 Several AWCCS members continue to play Kahoot online every month. New players are always welcome. 

FAWCO Region 1 Conference, Stirling Oct 6-8, 2023

The AWCCS hosted the 2023 Region 1 conference at the Stirling Highland Hotel.  Our region includes all of United Kingdom and Ireland.  We had attendees from all over England and Ireland, but also the President of FAWCO, as well as many FAWCO board members attended. We dined together Friday night at a restaurant in Stirling. The business meeting was all day Saturday.  It was a great day to be indoors because wind and rain was pelting all of Scotland that weekend.  How did our organisers pull off such a terrific, informative conference in spite of several speakers’ cancellations due to the weather and travel disruptions?  Every minute was interesting and inspiring.

The hotel did a great job.  Stirling is such a terrific location. Congratulations to all the AWCCS members who worked so hard to make the conference happen.

Nancy Lynner

Halloween at the Museum of Scottish Fire Heritage by Nancy Lynner     

Thirty five members and children came to the Family Halloween event.  This is a free event sponsored by the AWCCS and members came from all over. After touring the exhibits in the museum, members came up to the meeting room which was full of activities, food and drinks.

Activities included Ghost Bowling,  Witchy Ring Toss, Candy Corn Bean Bag Throw, and Guess the number of Candies in the Jar,  to Mask Making and Coloring pages. The event ended with Storytime and Costume Parade and everyone got a box of Halloween treats.

Best of all was the Museum itself, which we could use thanks to Quonya Huff, our member (and club treasurer) who works there.

Club Announcements

AWCCS Needs You – Events Co Convenor

Due to Sallie’s departure from Edinburgh, we need another Events Co Convenor—if you are interested let any board member know

2023 – 2025 Charity Choice: Your Vote Matters!

We are currently in the process of voting for our chosen charity, a cause that the AWCCS will support for the next two years. We are grateful for the wonderful charity nominations that were submitted and we appreciate your active participation. After careful consideration, the board has narrowed down the nominations to three charities, each deserving of our support: Food Train, Beat Eating Disorders, and the Moira Anderson Foundation. 

How to Cast Your Vote:

To cast your vote, please complete this survey

by Friday, November 17th.

Thank You for Your Support:

We want to express our gratitude to those who have nominated charities and to those who will take the time to cast their votes. Together, we can make a significant difference in our community and contribute to causes that matter. The chosen charity will receive the proceeds from our upcoming events, including Thanksgiving, and the club’s support for the next two years. Stay tuned for the exciting announcement of the selected charity at our Thanksgiving events. We look forward to celebrating this moment with all of you.

Thanksgiving Auction – Giving Back This Thanksgiving

Get ready to double the fun this year as the club hosts two exciting Thanksgiving events. Mark your calendars for a Thanksgiving Potluck in Glasgow on Saturday, November 18th, at the Hampden Bowling Club, and a Thanksgiving Dinner on Sunday, November 26th, at the Braid Hills Hotel in Edinburgh. It’s a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the season with your fellow members!  

Donate Your Items and Make a Difference

Each year, our club proudly hosts a silent auction to raise funds for our chosen charity. We always give to three charities, (1) the one chosen by our members, (2) the FAWCO Target Program and (3) we contribute to an emergency fund for Americans who show up at the U.S. Consulate General in Edinburgh. We invite you to be a part of this meaningful tradition. Members are encouraged to contribute goods or services for the auction, helping us make a positive impact in our community. 

 How You Can Contribute

Bringing your donations is easy – simply drop off your items directly at the event you’ll be attending. To streamline the process, please download our auction item donation sheet and email it to our Charity Chair, Ellie Fisher, Don’t forget to include a brief description of your generous donation.

Access the Donation Form

You can find the donation form conveniently attached to this newsletter email and here on the AWCCS website. Your contribution, big or small, can significantly benefit our chosen charity, so don’t hesitate to join in. 

Payment Options for Winning Bids

When it’s time to claim your winning bids at the auction, we encourage payments in cash or by cheque. For added convenience, we’ll also offer PayPal as a payment option.

Thank You in Advance

We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to all members who choose to support this important cause. Your generosity and commitment to giving back to the community are greatly appreciated. Let’s come together to make this Thanksgiving season truly special. We look forward to celebrating with you and working collectively to make a positive impact through our charitable efforts. See you at the events and thank you in advance for your support!

Member News


Ellen Brennan
Andrea Luca
Donna Nodson
Ellen Matheson
Michelle Ondah
Lindsay Nygren



Myra Hollie Nielsen


Melissa Kaplan
Beth Monahan Brown
Elaine Padraza
Nancy Lynner
Ruby Raheem
Ellie Fisher
Suzanne Luft

Welcome New Members

Ellen Matheson
Michelle OndahSuzanne MilshawAnne BrownHannah MartinezElaine PedrazaAmanda FevurlyCourtney McClymont

Glasgow Events

November:Friday 10 November – coffee morning at Eusebi DeliMonday 13th Nov – Burrell Collection Dutch TourSaturday 18th Nov – Pot Luck Thanksgiving at Hampden Bowling ClubDeadline for booking – 8th of NovemberThurs 30th Nov – Kahoot December:Tues 5 Dec – Panto ticketsWed 6 Dec – Panto ticketsKahoot – no December game due to annual leave. January:Thurs 11 Jan 2024 – Glasgow meal outThurs 1 Feb – Kahoot

Edinburgh Book Group



Friday, 17 November

“A Terrible Kindness”
by Jo Browning Wroe

Home of Marily Macvicar

Start time:

10:30 for 10:45 (Note later start)



Friday, 15 December

“The Little Wartime Library”
by Kate Thompson

Home of Jenny Gibb

Start time:


Friday, 15 January
Book & venue to be decided




The Cultural Volunteers module of FAWCO’s Youth Program is designed to foster cultural awareness and volunteerism among FAWCO youths. FAWCO teens (in high school, aged 15 – 19) are hosted by FAWCO families for a week, and will experience a new culture while volunteering with local charities.

The participants will deliver a Group Project (usually a video or presentation) about their experiences, and write individual essays reflecting on what they learn. Participants will be able to receive community service credits required by their International Baccalaureate program.

We are delighted to announce that the FAWCO Youth Cultural Volunteers Program 2024 will take place in Scotland July 28 – July 7, 2024 (9 days). Thank you to our host AWC Central Scotland and program chair Amanda Drollinger for this opportunity! Applications will open February 1, 2024. Email to receive the application. Click here for PROGRAM DESCRIPTION.

The FAWCO Youth Cultural Volunteers 2023 Program took place on April 8-15, 2023 in Zürich, Switzerland. Thank you to the American Women’s Club of Zürich for hosting! Read more here about the program and the essays from the participants. 

Here are just a few excerpts from reflections by our past Youth Cultural Volunteers:  

“I made new friends in the UAE — Emirati teens, who helped us learn more about their culture. Believe me, we may dress differently and practice different religions, but teenagers around the world are pretty much the same — we’re all goofy, curious, and hoping our generation can improve life for all of us.”

“In the end, what matters is that you have raised your personal awareness of poverty. And maybe it would have inspired you by then to grab the initiative and take part in a bigger project.”

“It was nice to be able to go outside the tourist destinations and contribute to the lives of others who may not have the same luxuries as we do back in our own countries.”

“[It was] a wonderful group of people. . . These friendships will last a lifetime. . . I am proud of what I feel I have accomplished with the group, and look forward to hearing about FAWCO Youth’s continued development.

We do need AWCCS club volunteers for the YCVP and will have a planning meeting in the first months of the new year. Can those interested in volunteering or hosting two youth in their home during the program email Amanda Drollinger?

Member Publications

Embrace the Power of Seasonal Superfoods to stay warm and healthy!

By Ellen J. Matheson, MSc (Applied Clinical Nutrition), CNS

Board Certified Nutrition Specialist; Women’s Functional Health & Wellness Consultant

 Seasonal shifts often bring about the need to adjust our dietary intake to support our health and overall wellbeing. As the days grow shorter and the temperatures grow colder, it is especially important to keep our immune systems healthy and strong so we can prevent and heal from the various seasonal illnesses that flourish this time of year.

During the winter months here in the UK, as well as in other northern locations, the availability of seasonal superfoods can significantly impact our well-being in a most positive way. These superfoods, which are seasonally harvested, are chock full of essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial components crucial for immune support.

Eating these “seasonal superfoods” is a tasty way to help our bodies remain healthy and strong during the autumn and winter months. In addition to proper hygiene and plenty of sleep, they work to help prevent seasonal ailments such as colds, flu, and even covid (SARS-CoV-2 virus) from knocking us down.

Mother Nature knows what’s what, and fortunately for us, the autumn and winter seasons offer a bounty of seasonal superfoods. These seasonal superstar foods bring warmth and comfort to our plates and play a pivotal role in supporting and fortifying our immune systems. Understanding the significance of these foods and their connection to immune function shows us their essential roles in maintaining our health during the colder and darker months.

What exactly are “Superfoods”?

Superfoods are nutrient-dense foods considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being. The key to why winter superfoods are crucial for immune health lies in their nutrient profile.

Winter superfoods encompass a range of nutrient-dense, seasonal produce that thrives during the colder months. They include an array of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds that are not only readily available but also provide concentrated doses of nutrients that support our immune systems. These nutrients include essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants vital for bolstering our immune defenses. They do this by offering a diverse range of antioxidants that help combat oxidative stress, reducing inflammation and supporting our overall health.

Foods like citrus fruits, root vegetables (such as sweet potatoes, carrots, beets), winter squash, and various nuts and seeds are rich in many essential and minerals our bodies need to function properly on a daily basis and ward off disease.

These foods are “super” because they contain a variety of components know as “phytonutrients” which have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefit. These elements each play a pivotal role in fortifying our bodies’ natural defenses, helping to stave off colds, flu, and other winter-related illnesses.

Incorporating these foods into our diets can be a game-changer for maintaining a robust defense against seasonal illnesses while adding variety and flavor.

Citrus Fruits for Immune Health

Citrus fruits, including oranges, grapefruits, and clementines, are powerhouses of vitamin C. This vital nutrient is renowned for its antioxidant, immune-boosting properties. Vitamin C is a basic building block necessary for the formation and growth of healthy cells and tissues in our bodies. In this way, Vitamin C contributes to cellular function and overall health by assisting in the production of white blood cells, whose job it is to fight off invading pathogens such as viruses and bacteria that can make us sick.

In addition to their immunity benefits, these fruits also add a zesty and refreshing touch to your meals. Consider incorporating freshly squeezed juices, fruit salads, or citrus-infused dressings into your daily diet.

The Power of Root Vegetables and Winter Squash

Root vegetables and winter squash are not only comforting and versatile but are also packed with nutrients essential for health. Sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, and winter squash varieties like butternut or acorn squash provide a rich source of vitamins A and C, and beta-carotene, a bioavailable precursor to Vitamin A. Beta-carotene and vitamin A are very important for maintaining the integrity of our skin and mucosal barriers, which is the first line of defense against invading pathogens.These foods are also rich in fiber, so they promote a healthy gut environment where a significant portion of our immune system resides.

Roast them, prepare hearty soups, or add them to warming stews for a delicious and nourishing addition to your meals.

Nuts and Seeds: Essential Winter Additions

Nuts and seeds, such as almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds, are abundant in healthy fats and proteins our bodies need. They are also wonderful sources of essential nutrients such as Vitamin E, zinc, magnesium and selenium which contribute significantly to immune function and overall health. The bioactive components of nuts and seeds help regulate immune function by combatting oxidative stress, reducing inflammation, and aiding in the production of immune cells which all work together to safeguard us against winter-related illnesses.

Add a handful to your morning porridge, incorporate them into baking, or enjoy them as a nutritious snack between meals.

Incorporating Seasonal Superfoods into Your Diet

Including these seasonal superfoods in your meals is simpler than you might think. From warming soups infused with root vegetables to roasted squash dishes, citrus-infused salads, and nutty snacks, there are countless delicious and creative ways to introduce these superfoods into your diet.

Plan your meals around the availability of these foods and look for local produce at farmers’ markets or grocery stores. Experiment with new recipes, soups, salads, and casseroles that prominently feature these ingredients, making your meals both delicious and health-enhancing.


The autumn and winter seasons bring an abundance of nutrient-rich superfoods that offer tasty flavors and textures and provide us with key components necessary for ensuring our immune systems stay resilient.Simply including citrus fruits, root vegetables, winter squash, nuts, and seeds in our daily meal is a proactive and empowering step toward maintaining a robust immune system and overall health throughout the dark and chilly months ahead. 

Warm and Tasty Recipes:

Roasted Winter Squash with Herbs


  • 1 medium-sized winter squash (butternut, acorn, or kabocha)
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary (or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: 1-2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup for a touch of sweetness


  • Preparation: Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Wash the winter squash thoroughly, then slice it in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp from the center using a spoon. Cut the squash into wedges or cubes, depending on your preference.
  • Seasoning: In a mixing bowl, combine the olive oil, minced garlic, fresh or dried herbs, salt, and pepper. Optionally, add honey or maple syrup for a slightly sweet flavor.
  • Coating the Squash: Place the cut squash pieces into the mixing bowl and toss them in the oil and herb mixture until they’re evenly coated.
  • Roasting: Arrange the coated squash pieces on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or lightly oiled. Ensure they are in a single layer, not overcrowded, to allow even roasting. If you have excess marinade left in the bowl, drizzle it over the squash.
  • Baking: Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and roast the squash for about 25-35 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and the squash is tender. Flip the pieces halfway through the cooking time for even roasting.
  • Serve: Once the squash is roasted to perfection, remove it from the oven. Let it cool slightly before serving.

This roasted winter squash makes an excellent side dish to complement various meals. It’s versatile and can be paired with your favorite protein, added to salads, or even mashed to create a delicious puree. The blend of herbs and the natural sweetness of the squash will make it a wonderful addition to your winter dining table.

If you prefer Roasted Winter Squash Soup, here’s a simple step-by-step guide:


  • 4 cups of pureed squash
  • 2-3 cups of liquid (vegetable or chicken broth, water, milk (dairy or plant-based), or a mix)
  • Seasonings of your choice (salt, pepper, herbs, spices)


  • In a large pot, combine the pureed squash with the chosen liquid. Start with 2 cups and add more as needed to achieve the desired consistency.
  • Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  • As it simmers, you can add seasonings according to your taste preferences. Common choices include salt, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, or other herbs and spices.
  • Let the soup simmer for about 15-20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
  • Once the soup has reached your preferred consistency and flavor, remove it from the heat.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
  • Serve the soup hot, garnished with fresh herbs, a drizzle of cream, or a sprinkle of seeds for added texture and taste.

This recipe serves as a basic guide. Adjust the amount of liquid and seasonings to achieve the desired thickness and flavor profile for your squash soup. Enjoy the warmth and comforting flavors of homemade squash soup during the winter months!

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