January is the perfect time to decide on new life goals but often hectic schedules and family life can make it difficult to take a step back and reflect. If you want to make 2016 the year you get your me-time back then why not try signing up to a course? Embarking on a new project could lead to a life-long passion, extra skills or even a career change. To get you inspired we’ve rounded up 21 of the best, guaranteed to help you get your New Year off to a brilliant start.
Personal pottery throw down
Try: Creating your own pottery at Vinegar Hill bed and breakfast in Hampshire. One-day courses run from 9am-4pm and include homemade tea and cakes and two-course lunch. You’ll create three pieces, which are then hand finished by course leader Dave Rogers.
Cost: £95. Rooms in B&B cost £85 a night and a two-night minimum stay is required on weekends.
Go shabby chic
Try: Revamping your furniture in upholstery classes at the Lilac Barn in Somerset. Classes are taught by Cherry Dobson, author of The Upholstery Bible. You’ll need to bring your own piece of furniture and cover material to work with, and you can transform anything from a footstool to a headboard.
Cost: £35 for a single class with a £35 deposit. £145 per five workshops.
Book: www.lilacbarn.co.uk/courses/upholstery or call 01823698707
Heart of glass
Try: A glass-blowing workshop for beginners at the Glass Hub in Wiltshire, where you’ll make your own gorgeous glass bauble, paperweight and vase. After they cool in the kiln, they will post your work to you (postage is £20) so you can display your handiwork at home.
Cost: £180 on weekends, £160 on weekdays
Book: www.theglasshub.co.uk/glass-courses or call 01225768888
Learn the art of sugarcrafting
Try: Learning how to create beautiful decorations on a sugarcrafting course. The Squires School will teach you how to make a delicate bunch of roses, sweet peas and filler flowers. Classes run from 9.30am-4pm on the Saturday and Sunday. Tea, coffee, biscuits and a lunch is provided.
Cost: £260 for flower crafting.
Think you could be the next Jodi Picoult?
Try: A creative writing retreat, held at the gorgeous Gorse Hill mansion in Surrey. Run by Ruth Brandt, published author and Professional Member of the National Association of Writers in Education, the course begins on Friday at 6pm and runs through to 3pm on Saturday. Hand in a copy of your work in progress on the Friday and you’ll be able to book in a one-on-one session with Ruth during the course of the weekend.
Cost: £275 residential, £155 non-residential
Try: Braving the trapeze as you take to the sky on a National Centre for Circus Arts experience day (2.30-5.45pm), held in London. Come in comfy clothes (with full length trousers) and clean indoor trainers and get ready to swing, hop and leap out of your comfort zone.
Become a master masseuse
Try: An introduction to Thai massage workshop, where you’ll be taught how to use acupressure techniques to help develop flexibility, strengthen joints and improve posture.
Language taster lessons
Try: Finding where your linguistic passions lie at Glasgow’s Language Show Live on the 11-12 March 2016. Both days will be packed full of language classes for you to drop in to, with everything from Swedish to Swahili to choose from.
Try: Your hand at crafting the perfect coffee with Rave’s barista training sessions. In these two-and-a-half hour workshops you’ll learn how to pull espresso shots, texture milk and the basics of pouring beautiful latter art.
Try: Sipping your way to expertise on a Lazy Lounge gin tasting experience. Over two hours, you’ll sample ten gins including the delicious Sipsmith Sloe Gin, Bols Genever and Hayman’s Old Tom. You’ll also be given a short talk on the history of gin, botanicals and distillation – accompanied by cake. Sessions are held every Monday and Tuesday evening at 6.30pm and on Saturdays at 1pm.
Book: www.lazy-lounge.com/tastings/ or call 01132446055
Channel your inner ballerina
Try: Improving your flexibility and poise with beginner’s ballet lessons. The Arts Gate in Cardiff hold lessons every Monday for adults who are looking to get into dancing. Don’t worry about hunting around for a tutu as you can dance in whatever clothes you feel comfortable in.
Cost: £3 for a taster session. £6.50 per normal session.
Perfect your pruning
Try: Learning how to prune back your fruit bushes to keep your garden looking beautifully refined. Head to Waterperry Gardens in Oxfordshire where you’ll start the day with an in-classroom lecture on the art of pruning, before being led through a practical workshop by orchard manager Chris Lanczak.
Take to the seas
Try: Stretching your sea legs with the Plymouth Sailing School. You’ll set off at 6pm on the Friday and come into dock at 5pm on the Sunday. These weekends are suitable for total beginners and you might even find you want to return and start working towards a sailing qualification.
Become a foraging foodie
Try: Reconnecting with nature on one of Fat Hen’s foraging and cookery weekends. Ranked as one of the top 10 foraging course in the UK by Countryfile, the weekend will see you scrambling around the beautiful West Cornwall countryside and learning how to cook delicious dishes with the ingredients you gather. Make sure you pack your wellies, a sturdy set of waterproofs and a bag for your foraged ingredients.
Cost: £195 excluding accommodation or £40 for Saturday only.
Try: A foray into the world of artisan breadmaking with David and Holly at Manna From Devon. This cookery school runs weekend-long artisan bread-making courses, where you’ll learn to perfect the flavour, texture and shape of your bake. The course is ideal for beginners and intermediate bakers alike.
Cost: £275 per person, including lunch over the two days, and all equipment and ingredients
De-clutter your life
Try: Recapturing some inner peace by attending a day-long Feng Shui workshop in Sudbury, Suffolk. Feng Shui can help you de-clutter and arrange your home so that it becomes your sanctuary. You’ll receive personalised advice on your home, so you can find out the best way to combat your own worries and tension. Bring a floor plan of your whole home, so the experts can give you tailored suggestions to improving its Zen.
Cost: £45 for a day course
Try: Flexing your artistic muscles with life drawing. The Ruskin School of Art, of Oxford University, offers eight-week courses where experienced artists will help you to perfect your technique. Don’t worry if you’re a complete novice – people of all skill levels are welcome.
Perfect your ‘do
Try: Beauty Stylist’s two-hour hair styling masterclass where you’ll learn how to create gorgeous styles, from casual, wavy beach hair, to Hollywood curls for that big night out. You’ll be given a hair tools set, providing you with all the equipment to recreate the styles at home.
Cost: £25 for a two-hour masterclass
Gain some mental clarity
Try: Tai Chi, a traditional Chinese martial art used for self-defence, improving physical fitness and relieving stress. Taioist Tai Chi society classes are all around the country and you’ll be taught the moves to this slow and gentle meditative exercise by expertly qualified instructors.
Cost: Beginner classes are around £40 for four months.
Make your Hollywood debut
Try: Industrial Script’s screen-writing courses. With a wide range of in-person and online courses, from an Ultimate Screen Writing Course, to writing for American TV, there’s something for every aspiring screenwriter. Whether you’re serious about a career on the big screen, or you want some constructive feedback on your hobby, these courses are ideal.
Cost: From £150.
Dance through the weekend
Try: Mad Salsa’s Bootcamp Weekend at the Hotel Collingwood in Bournemouth. The three-day course is designed for those who already have some knowledge of salsa dancing. You can book with or without a partner, as the male to female ratio is kept equal, and partners will be rotated throughout the weekend.
Cost: £225 per person, based on two people sharing a double or twin room. The price includes 2 nights half board accommodation and full use of hotel facilities.