Category Archives: Workshops & Classes

Undercoffee Coffee with Greggs
for Fairtrade Fortnight

Fairtrade-Coffee-Greggs-5

A couple of weeks ago I attended a very special event at the Ham Yard Hotel, one of my favourite hotels, in the heart of Piccadilly.

We had gathered for Fairtrade Fortnight, and to bring to the forefront of our minds, our everyday coffee choices and whether or not they are ethical. Which sounds all very heavy and serious and not at all light and cappuccino frothy… But that’s the point. Buying a coffee is a little treat, which I usually buy for myself without thinking about its provenance.  How can my morning latte decision possibly be of any importance to the rest of the world?

But it is. Enormously.

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Silk-Screening in Clerkenwell
with Daniel Heath

Airbnb-Experiences-Poppy-Loves-2

I’ve stayed in a few Airbnb places over the years, and each time I have loved the sense of having my own little home in a new part of the world. More recently, Airbnb have taken it upon themselves to enrich their customer’s lives even further, by offering different Airbnb experiences, hosted by locals, which you can book directly through the app…

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A very special
Christmas Wreath workshop

Make Christmas Wreath Workshop

A few days ago I was in my local TK Maxx looking for a socks. And a mug. And maybe a present for my friend’s birthday… TK Maxx is very much like that, I find. I pop in for one thing (or nothing) and leave an hour later with all kinds of goodies at a fraction of the price you’d normally pay. (I do love a bargain).

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I made me a Terrarium!

London Terrariums

I am rather enjoying getting into this growing lark. I’ve got tomatoes sprouting on my balcony, mint flourishing in my kitchen, mould in my bathroom and a few days ago I was lucky enough to take part in a workshop with London Terrariums… which saw me coming home with my very own bottled garden, just like what them Victorians did all those moons ago…

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The Queen’s 90th birthday screen-printing workshop with Thornback & Peel

Thornback & Peel

Ding ding! To celebrate the Queen’s 90th Birthday, Thornback & Peel will be hosting a very British screen printing workshop on Sunday 12th June as part of The Queen’s Fringe, at their Bloomsbury store.

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Learning to make Goan Fish Curry at
Waitrose Cookery School

Waitress Cookery School

I really enjoy cooking. I’m very happy making a mess in the kitchen as I steadily work my way through every pot, pan, knife and chopping board I can lay my hands on… I occasionally attempt to wing something from whatever I’ve got in the fridge… but this usually doesn’t end exceptionally well.

Which often surprises me. I feel I ought to be really good at that. Especially if I had radio 4 on on the background. If it was a movie, I’d be whipping up amazingly gorgeous dishes from half a carrot, some old feta and a mystery vegetable. But I don’t live in a movie (I DO I DO I DO) so I stick to my beloved recipe books and love discovering new and unusual dishes.

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Creative & Crafty Classes in London

Flower-Arranging-Course-London

Pic from: www.thearcadiaonline.com

Sometimes there’s nothing else for it, but to get down and dirty in a creative space and MAKE, CREATE and DO something. There are oodles of creative course, classes and workshops across London and I have picked ten of my favourites below.

If you know of others that you think may have passed me by, please let me know! I love this kind of thing – it makes me put down the phone, step way from my computer and learn something new in this gorgeous city.

Now, where’s my sewing box…

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Tea & Cake at
Drink, Shop & Do

Red Velvet Cake at Drink, Shop & Do

Tea and cake are two of my utmost favourite things. They are up there, on my ‘what makes me really happy’ list, along with bubblebaths, marmite, mugs, Sunday mornings and winning at Connect 4. So you won’t be surprised to know that I know some tea and cake haunts in my city, that are SO GOOD, you’ll want to woot and toot and do handstands. Even if you can’t.

(Do I need a disclaimer here? *If you do a handstand after going to Drink, Shop & Do and hurt yourself I am not to be held responsible. But I will come and play Backgammon with you in hospital.)

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Learn London: 5 classes
to whet your whistle

Sewing Classes at Sew Pretty

Sewing Classes at Sew Pretty

There are THOUSANDS of classes being run across London, every day of the week on every topic you can imagine. Trying to uncover the gorgeous and special ones can be a bit tricksy – it’s just not that easy to find good sources of information that are easy to navigate!

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Spirit of Summer *sigh*
(and win a pair of tickets!)

Summer
has
arrived...

COME ON SUMMER!! You may not be able to sense it just yet (I’ve been in my flip-flops since March in defiance) but if ever something was going to give it a nudge, it will be the gorgeous Spirit of Summer Fair, with its charm, twinkly smile and happy deckchair vibes, bounding into Olympia this month and making us all long for lazy barbecue days, floaty frocks and Mr Whippys.

It’s time Summer had an almighty kick up the (can I say a naughty word? Will I get in trouble with the internet? I’d better not just in case) backside, (boo – so boring) and this is the fair to do it. Spirit of Summer Festival Spirit of Summer, which runs from the 14th – 17th May, promises to be the season’s most stylish shopping event, encouraging and TEACHING (good – the more help I can get the better, quite frankly) us how to refresh our holiday style, the look of our homes and our garden spaces. Lots and lots of new and emerging dinky UK businesses whose lovely designs simply cannot be found on the high street, will be there with bikinis on. I mean bells.   Spirit of Summer Festival This festival is all about the gorgeousness of Summer living and how we can bring as much sunshine magic as possible into our own homes. The most exciting bit of all is that there are going to be gazillions* (*exaggeration) of FREE* (with your ticket) exciting workshops from proper top notch experts in their fields, who will show us how to achieve Summer perfection ourselves. And when I say experts, I’m talking about learning about flower arranging from the florist at The Dorchester, revelling in the al fresco dining secrets of Head Chef at Cliveden House, André Garrett… and we can be taught how to look after our bodies (NEED THIS) with holistic advice from Grace Belgravia… Spirit of Summer Festival And if that isn’t enough, key players from the wold of design will also be on hand to give advice and tips with experts from the Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour creating beautiful room sets showcasing their finest interior brands.

All the workshops and talks are listed below for your perusal. Remember, they are all absolutely free to attend with your Spirit of Summer tickets… but they are all on a first come first served basis, so do get your skates on…

WIN A PAIR OF TICKETS TO THE SPIRIT OF SUMMER FAIR

 

If you would like to win a pair of tickets, just follow me over on Bloglovin and please leave me a comment here to let me know you have done so. I’ll be selecting a winner at 9am on the 12th May. Good luck!

 

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SUMMER LIVING WORKSHOPS

Wednesday 14 May 2014

 

11.30 – Fabulous Flower Arranging with Phil Hammond, The Dorchester

12.30 – Modern French Canapés with André Garrett, Cliveden House

13.30 – Desserts, Macarons and Chocolates with Graham Hornigold, Yauatcha & Hakkasan

14.30 – Inside out beauty with Gabriela James and Abigail Peacock, Grace Belgravia

Thursday 15 May 2014

 
11.30 – Fabulous Flower Arranging with Phil Hammond, The Dorchester

12.30 – Modern French Canapés with André Garrett, Cliveden House

13.30 – Desserts, Macarons and Chocolates with Graham Hornigold, Yauatcha & Hakkasan

14.30 – The Hidden Sugars: The Demons on your Plate with Dr Shideh Pouria, Grace Belgravia

15.30 – Champagne for Summer: Different Styles to Taste with Francoise Peretti, Champagne Bureau

Friday 16 May 2014

 
11.30 – Fabulous Flower Arranging with Phil Hammond, The Dorchester

12.30 – The Perfect Summer Dinner Starter with Tim Allen, Launceston Place

13.30 – Desserts, Macarons and Chocolates with Graham Hornigold, Yauatcha & Hakkasan

14.30 – The Holistic Approach to Healthy Skin with Dr Rabia Malik, Grace Belgravia

15.30 – Champagne for Summer: Different Styles to Taste with Francoise Peretti, Champagne Bureau

Saturday 17 May 2014

 

11.30 – English Country House Flowers with Hannah Bignell, Cliveden House

12.30 – Summer Canapés with Lyndy Redding, Absolute Taste

13.30 – Desserts, Macarons and Chocolates with Graham Hornigold, Yauatcha & Hakkasan

14.30 – Discover how to Eat the Grace Way with Keith Keiller and Sophie Wright, Grace Belgravia

15.30 – Fashion your own Fabulous Headband with Mary Jane Baxter, Mary Jane Baxter Millinery

INTERIORS AND GARDEN THEATRE

Wednesday 14 May 2014

 

11.15 – Colour in the Home with Joa Studholme, Farrow & Ball

12.15 – Creating Sustainable Space with Victoria Meale, Victoria Meale Design

13.15 – Improve Your Home: An Architect’s View with Andrew Whiting, HÛT Architecture

14.15 – Creating Beautiful Garden with Matthew Wilson, Clifton Nurseries

15.15 – Contemporary Window Treatments for your Home with Joanne Cassabois, Prêt à Vivre

Thursday 15 May 2014

 

11.15 – Colour in the Home with Joa Studholme, Farrow & Ball

12.15 – The Collector’s Home with Philip Hooper, Colefax and Fowler

13.15 – Improve Your Home with Sarah Khan, Roger Mears Architects

14.15 – Creating Beautiful Garden with Matthew Wilson, Clifton Nurseries

15.15 – Contemporary Window Treatments for your Home with Joanne Cassabois, Prêt à Vivre

Friday 16 May 2014

 

11.15 – Colour in the Home with Joa Studholme, Farrow & Ball

12.15 – Creating Luxurious Rooms with an English Country House Style with Martin Hulbert, Cliveden House

13.15 – Improve Your Home: An Architect’s View with Andrew Whiting, HÛT Architecture

14.15 – Creating Beautiful Garden with Matthew Wilson, Clifton Nurseries

15.15 – Contemporary Window Treatments for your Home with Joanne Cassabois, Prêt à Vivre

Saturday 17 May 2014

 

11.15 – Colour in the Home with Joa Studholme, Farrow & Ball

12.15 – Designing the Perfect Bathroom with Sarah Watson, Balineum

13.15 – Improve Your Home with Sarah Khan, Roger Mears Architects

14.15 – Using Plants Inside Your House with Wendy Bowen, Clifton Nurseries

15.15 – Contemporary Window Treatments for your Home with Joanne Cassabois, Prêt à Vivre

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– Cheese and Beer Tasting –
Paxton and Whitfield

Paxton and Whitfield Cheese and beer? CHEESE AND BEER? Yes. Cheese and beer.

ACHICA recently held a Cheese and Beer pairing event at the oldest cheesemonger in London; Paxton and Whitfield on Jermyn Street, in the heart of St James’s. Originally a cheese stall in Aldwych Market, Paxton and Whitfield dates back to 1742… so that’s a lot of cheese knowledge and experience… and rather a large amount of cheese eaten too. (Turns out I’m really very good at this bit.)

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Crafternoon Cabaret Club (Yes, really)

Crafternoon Cabaret
Club

Can we all just pause for a moment. Crafternoon Cabaret. Cabaret. With Crafts. In the afternoon. Mazin.

Gem, Shani and I toddled off to Islington on a Saturday afternoon just before Christmas (hence the craft project theme) and found ourselves at the Library Pub on Upper Street.

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Sunshine on Leiths

Title - Leiths Brownies 4

I love baking. I know you know this, but I’m telling you again. I love baking. Cakes, cookies, muffins, meringues.. I love it all. However, I wouldn’t call myself a super duper top notch baker. I’d call myself the kind of ‘cross-your-fingers-and-hope-for-the-best-but-you-know-I’m-going-to-eat-it-anyway’ kind of baker. So, Saturday was a bit of a treat for me. On Saturday, I baked my little socks off at Leiths Cookery School of Food and Wine.

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Bit crafty

When you live in London, it’s very easy to wake up one day and realise that you haven’t been anywhere else for ages and ages.. and ages. There is always something to do or see, so you forget that you can just jump on a bus or train, visit another one of our amazing cities, see something super duper and be home by tea time. Or dinner time. Or breakfast, if you fancy staying over…

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Socially challenged (and win a social media course!)

Facebook Toast – matome.naver.jp

Pinterest,  StumbleUpon, HootSuite, YouTube, Instagram, Linked In (BREATHE) Bebo, Blogger, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler.. Is this the kind of language you hear that makes you break out in a sweat and want to run for the mountains and get back to basics and make fire with twigs?

I understand. Don’t worry. You are normal and everything is fine.

Social Media is a phrase that everyone has heard, but not everyone necessarily has a grip on. I have been asked by countless bloggers, marketers and other industry professionals, HOW do you do it? WHY bother doing it and (this is the most common) I haven’t got TIME to do it.

I am in no way a guru when it comes to Social Media. (I am more of a guru when it comes to cake. Eating, not making. This is how I know I am not a guru in Social Media.) But I do have some kind of a grip… but I wanted to know more.

pic from designfloat.com

I spoke to Elizabth Floyd, who is head of Business Training Made Simple and decided to attend a couple of their courses.

The Made Simple Group run business courses in pretty much everything you can imagine, with a huge emphasis on social media. There are full day courses specifically for Twitter or Facebook, courses in blogging and Google Adwords..etc. You can see a full range of their courses here.

I did two full day courses – Social Media level 1 (an introduction) and Social Media level 2 – where we delved more into strategy and implementation.

Now, you will read an awful lot about lots of different social media courses, but these were absolutely BRILLIANT. 

AND THERE WAS CAKE. I’ll come back to this crucial point later.

pic from zinc shop.com.au
The first course was run by Michelle Carvill, founder of Carvill Creative. Michelle is one of those people who makes you feel instantly relaxed and at ease, even though she has enough credentials to sink a dingy. 


She was full of energy (ZING!) she was dynamic, encouraging, clear in her explanations and jam packed full of amazing information you never knew you needed but now know you clearly cannot live without it. 

The course covered Twitter, Facebook, Linked In and YouTube, from the absolute basics through to using these tools efficiently and with confidence. And when I say basics, I mean setting up accounts and answering questions like ‘What does Tweet mean?’

So even though I was aware of most of the things discussed in this session, it was still incredibly valuable for me to do. When you work independently, whether you blog or have your own business, you don’t often get anyone saying to you “Well done” or “You are doing this right.” So for me, this was a huge confidence boost, just knowing I was on the right track.

The second day was Social Media level 2 and delved a bit deeper into planning and strategy development. This course was run by David Taylor, again bursting with energy, laden with credentials and MD of 2010Media. I learnt a great deal in this session and went home with a lovely long list of new tools and ideas I was looking forward to implementing into my own blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts. 

The courses were held in Farringdon, London. Each day was a full day, from 9 – 5.30pm, but the hours flew by.  The groups were fairly small (around 12-15 people) so you had the opportunity to talk to everyone – there was such a wide range of ages and careers that this was hugely interesting as well!

pic from designfloat.com

A delicious Pret a Manger lunch was provided and tea and coffee was on tap throughout the day. There were regular coffee breaks, where we were surprised with fresh fruit, cakes, sweet treats and scones with jam and clotted cream! Honestly, were it not for the actual course, I would have thought I was at some kind of amazing hotel. 

I cannot recommend these courses enough. If you are someone who has no clue where to begin, or if you are someone that has been working away relatively confidently, but would like to understand the nuts and bolts a bit more and develop a strategy for yourself, then these courses are for you. You leave with a sense of real accomplishment, a real life certificate (!) print outs from the day and oodles of online resources at your fingertips.


To top it off I have a £20 discount voucher for you to use against any of their courses! Just enter POPPY20 at checkout.

And just to go back to the ‘why do I need to do social media?’ question; With 70% of online purchases  coming from an online or peer recommendation and with 40% of the UK population being on Facebook.. can you afford not to?

I’m just going to tweet this post now… from my HootSuite… yep. I totally know what I’m doing.



Win a SOCIAL MEDIA LEVEL 1 COURSE at Business Made Simple, worth £239.
If you would like to win this wonderful prize then just enter my giveaway below. (Click on the Rafflecopter link if it doesn’t pop up.)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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