|For many, New Year’s Eve marks a chance to turn over a new leaf and
start afresh. VisitEngland believes in gain without pain. Make your holidays work
hard in 2013 and pick up a brand new skill while you recharge and de-stress. |
There can be no better way to escape the stresses and strains of everyday life than a few days spent drawing or painting in the English countryside. Get close to nature and flex another part of your brain on a weekend’s artistic escape at Brambles Art Retreat. Set in the tiny hamlet of Sprytown, deep in the Devonshire countryside, Brambles is run by an establish husband and wife team. Janet’s first love is watercolour (her speciality being dramatic landscapes achieved through transparent paints) while Peter teaches oil and acrylic courses and especially enjoys painting still life. Choose from a range of disciplines including watercolour, oil, acrylic and drawing.
Make a resolution to stop over-spending and adding to landfill and learn to re-love what you’ve already got. Higham Hall in Bassenthwaite in Cumbria offers residential upholstery courses. Take along your favourite chair / stool / headboard / ottoman, and spend the weekend springing, stuffing and sewing until you have a shiny new piece of furniture (and an enormous sense of pride).
Top Cornish hotel Bedruthan Steps runs a two-day Sew it, Wear it, Love it break, which covers the art of customising. You’ll learn tips for making fabric-covered buttons and adding beads, lace applique or ribbon to give an old jumper or cardie a brand new life. Next up are accessories – you’ll have the chance to create your own fabric necklace and jewellery. The second day of the course is dedicated to a ‘Challenge Me’ mission, in which you’ll complete your own skirt and bag.
A weekend dinner party course at Ashburton Cookery School will give you host of dinner party ideas and teach you fail-safe recipes for canapés, starters, main courses and desserts. Over two days you will learn a selection of simple-to-make but guaranteed-to-impress recipes and will even be given pointers on how to best organise your kitchen so you can get ahead and actually spend time with your guests when they arrive.
This is a very hands-on course so you will be cooking throughout the day, learning to perfect the recipes and picking up some great plating and presentation tips. At the end of the weekend you will be brimming with new ideas and confident to execute a fantastic dinner party – or sign up for the next series of Come Dine With Me. Ashburton Cookery School offers two-day Dinner Party cookery courses for £315 per person including two days' tuition, course notes, recipes, meals