Boredom begone: online courses & classes to do right now
Bored at home? No longer! Muddy's been hard at work finding you the very best online class to do in your county. From computer coding to nipple tassels, we've got it all.
BEDFORDSHIRE BERKSHIRE BUCKINGHAMSHIRE CAMBRIDGESHIRE CORNWALL DEVON ESSEX DORSET GLOUCESTERSHIRE HAMPSHIRE HERTFORDSHIRE ISLE OF WIGHT KENT LEICESTERSHIRE NORFOLK NORTHAMPTONSHIRE OXFORDSHIRE RUTLAND SUFFOLK SOMERSET SURREY SUSSEX WARWICKSHIRE WILTSHIRE WORCESTERSHIRE
There’s never been a better time to get stuck into a spot of self-improvement through online learning. Most of us are spending more time than ever in our homes, so here’s our opportunity to immerse ourselves in some life enhancing and transformative courses. Enter: WEA (Workers’ Education Association), high quality and accessible education to adults from all walks of life. Whether you’re keen to expand your professional skillset, improve your life skills, find solace through mindfulness, explore your creative side, deep dive into a new discipline or simply need a confidence boost, there is something for everyone to get stuck into through WEA’s extensive online learning curriculum.
If you follow Muddy Northants on Instagram, you may have laughed along as our editor plunged into an autumn liver detox with expert nutritional therapist and hot yogi, Harry Hewetson (it’s the yoga that’s hot btw, but Harry is pretty fab too). We’ve all eaten a few chocolates and possibly swigged one too many mugs of gin of late, but if you fancy a spring reboot to get you feeling more focused, clear-headed and positive, not to mention all the physical benefits that come with it, don’t take our word for it, book on to Harry’s spring detox course in March and set yourself up for a spritely summer.
The Drawing Club Online, Watts Gallery – Artist’ Village, Compton
The art gallery dedicated to GF Watts and his wife Mary has a range of art workshops and courses for both kids and adults on offer. The Drawing Club Online offers an online series of three workshops hosted by artist and art teacher Wilson Yau to help budding artists explore and experiment from home. There are workshops for children aged 8-12 and another for teenagers 13-17 years, and it’s available until Jan 31. £15. wattsgallery.org.uk
Fancy giving your wardrobe a DIY revamp? With no more than 8 learners, these weekly Zoom classes promise plenty of tutor attention, and plenty of good chatter. They’re suitable for all abilities, from beginner through to experienced sewers, and will see you working on your own project alongside the others. The tutor is happy to go over any plans you might have prior to the class, and can cover all aspects of sewing and dressmaking that you might require. This includes following a pattern, pattern adjustments to get a perfect fit, garment alterations, and pattern cutting. H&M who?
Wild Wine School – online wine courses
The Wild Wine School in Cornwall has courses starting just in time to end dry Jan (praise be!). Wild Wine School grew out of wine themed feasts held on beaches and in the wilds of Cornwall and in normal times, it takes wine education out of the classroom into the outdoors at the gorgeous Nancarrow Farm. Finding that lockdown 1.0 increased our desire to learn about wine, sommelier and wine expert Debbie Warner reinvented her courses, now offering three different online versions, with everything you need including wine samples and glasses delivered direct to your door, countrywide. Joining small groups on line, you can choose Debbie’s own course, A Modern Introduction to Wine, or a more formal wine education in the form of WSET level one or two, complete with short exam and resulting in an industry recognised certification.
St Ives School of Painting – online art tuition
St Ives continues to live up to its reputation as a magnet for creativity – albeit virtually, with the St Ives School of Painting’s innovative new programme of online art courses and workshops. A mecca for artists since the 1880s, it was the generation of the mid 20th century – including Barbara Hepworth and Naum Gabo – who made this picturesque harbour town on the Cornish coast world famous.
The St Ives Painting School has taught artists for more than 80 years, with expert tuition provided from their iconic studios overlooking Porthmeor Beach. Now you can join live online with one of the school’s inspiring workshops throughout the UK. Maybe you’re the next Ben Nicholson or Francis Bacon, Patrick Heron or Wilhelmina Barns-Graham (they all painted at the studio and their work still graces the walls). I’ve already signed up my kids to the newly-relaunched Sunday family paintings workshops (the next one is based on Patrick Heron’s vivid colours and shapes) and I’m also eyeing up the two-hour life drawing sessions – this lockdown seems a perfect time to rediscover my creative side. Alongside individual workshops, the school is also running longer courses for an enriching lifetime learning experience.
Cocktail Masterclass from The Cocktail Social
Have a birthday or special celebration coming up? Want to organise a virtual gathering with a difference? Or are you a business owner looking for a fun, morale-boosting team event? Then we have just the memorable experience for you (and not a Zoom quiz question in sight) with a private cocktail masterclass. Delivered live from The Cocktail Social‘s mobile bar, they’ll guide you from start to finish in the fine art of cocktail making. Plus you can enjoy an EXCLUSIVE 20% OFF (until the end of Feb) by quoting ‘MUDDYCOCKTAILS’ when you book.
Fondue Supper Club from Alive with Flavour
Alive with Flavour founder, Jo Banks, hosts successful supper clubs on the first Wednesday of every month and luckily for us she’s taken the food-experience online. The next one is the February Fondue! Supper Club on Wed 3 Feb, 7-8pm. Dust off your fondue set, grab a drink and join in on Zoom with fellow foodies and a talk from Slate Cheese in Aldeburgh, Suffolk.
Select your bespoke Fondue Box (cheese feast for two people) – containing Vacherin Mont D’Or, Le Gruyere and Comte or Camembert, saucisson and a jar of Slate pickles – delivered direct to your door ready for some fondue fun! It’s the closest thing we’ll get right now to Après Ski. Limited availability so book up fast.
Virtual cocktail masterclasses from Mixology Group, Brighton
Learn to shake a Cosmo like a pro with virtual cocktail masterclasses from these Brighton-based mixology and bartending experts. These hugely popular masterclasses have been creating evenings to remember for more than 10 years, and they’re now available online – perfect for those girly gatherings, nights in with the other half or special occasions. You can even order a bespoke cocktail box to go with your class – choose from an ingredients box for three cocktails, ingredients plus shaker, or a luxury box with a seven-piece copper kit. You’ll be blending together signature mixes faster than you can say ‘Sex on the Beach’. Sessions last an hour and you’ll learn to make three cocktails. Don’t drink? No problem, Mixology Group will show you how to whip up a killer mocktail.
Cordon Bleu cookery classes with Positively Delicious, Ardingly
If, like the rest of the UK, you are bored to death of your own cooking, here’s a great way to literally spice things up. Cordon Bleu chef Jacqueline, who has worked at The Ritz and Buckingham Palace (not even kidding0, offers online cookery lessons, from fine dining featuring fillet steak, lamb and sea bass to a show-stopping Mexican night. Classes are full of energy and interactivity, with games and cocktails as well as a cook-a-long with Jacqueline. Choose from a canapé session complete with all the kit you need, a festival of Mexican street-food, or a virtual dinner party. Everything you need to know will be covered in the classes
Nipple Tassel making class and kit with Charlie Doodle
And why not? Spice up a night in with the other half or enjoy a virtual girls’ night in and knock up your very own pair of high class, sparkly nipple tassels. You’ll be sent all the kit you need to make your design -choose from stars, hearts, cherries, shells or circles. A bit of light relief and some guaranteed silliness which might very well become sauciness – well, you never know! Fancy something a little more, um, refined? Try the candle-making class and kit instead.
National Centre for Writing: Super-charge your productivity 1 week
Been promising yourself you’ll ‘get round’ to writing that book/screenplay but life gets in the way? Bored of your own procrastinating? This free course will help solve that by helping you get the best out of your time and showing you how to identify bad habits and change them.
Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts: Unearth Your Home Anew / Adventures of the Mundane (in your own time)
The SCVA is renowned for its outstanding global collections, all postponed due to Covid. For those wanting a bit of creative immersion, what could be better than a free course inspired by these collections to encourage positive wellbeing and artistic creativity? The Overlooked Object offers us a new perspective on the every day – your kettle will never look the same again.
Understanding Your Child: NHS Solihull Online Learning
If you’re worried about the impact of Covid and the months of zero social life on your kids, this free NHS course could help you gain understanding and give you some renewed faith in yourself as a parent. Broken down into six sections and suitable from ages 0 – 18.
Norfolk Wine School: Wine Tasting Course
If you’re missing your wine connoisseur fix at The Last Wine Bar you’ll be delighted to know that you can still get your nose into a good Riesling via one of the online courses here. Just order the wines, grab a few nibbles and get snug on the sofa for this Zoom course. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for booking and prices.
Yoga and pilates course, Bamford Spa, Kingham, Glos
Your chakras will get a 5-star MOT with one of these virtual classes live-streamed from the dreamy Bamford Wellness Spa at Daylesford Farm. Stretch, bend and breathe with the team of wellness practitioners who are on hand to take you through your steps. Book your place in a Pilates, Hatha yoga, breathwork or mindfulness class, starting from £9 for a 60 minute class or £65 for monthly unlimited classes.
Floral Design, Hans Flowers, Tewkesbury, Glos
Always loved the idea of floristry? (me, me!). Then now’s the time to get stuck into a floral design workshop. Hans Flowers offers online courses covering the whole shebang of contemporary floral design. Learn how to choose, combine and present your pretty posies, using unusual flowers and foliage. Suitable for the absolute beginner. Cost is £40 per workshop, once you’ve booked, you click and collect the flowers and materials from the School’s Covid-safe area. You get an email link with a private video from Hans himself (a Dutch Master Florist no less) with a Facetime hotline if you need any assistance.
Cake Decorating, The Blue Door Bakery, Redditch, Worcs
Don’t just eat all the cake during lockdown, why not learn the art of cake-making and sugar craft at the same time. The Blue Door Bakery based in Redditch has its virtual rolling pins at the ready for complete beginners, hobby bakers and pro-bakers alike. Owner and tutor Dani also specialises in helping you set up and grow your cake business, from how to price your bakes to using social media.
Mindfulness & Meditation, Malvern, Worcs
Take a deep breath and restore your sense of wellbeing at a Mindfulness & Meditation class hosted by Malvern Mindfulness (try saying that when you’re stressed!). This tranquility-channelling course promises to bring you a sense of spiritual wellness and relaxation. Failing that, it’s a solid half hour of not being asked for a snack. The course is free to join, with a suggested donation of £4. The classes take place on Wednesday evenings between 7.30pm and 8pm.
Larks Live, online interactive cookery school
Stuck in a cooking rut? Book yourself in for a 90-minute Zoom class with Larks Live. For just £25 you can learn an authentic Indian or Italian dish, the secrets of sourdough, make tapas, cocktails, chocolate and more, with a top-class chef and a dozen other people who want to hone their hob skills while having a lark in the comfort of their own kitchens. This interactive online cookery school was created by Exeter businesswoman and keen foodie, Clodagh Murphy, who cleverly put her impressive tech skills to help chefs during lockdown. So, you can support the hard-hit hospitality biz, increase your recipe repertoire and get an A-star edible reward for your efforts.
Fizzy, tangy, invigorating…fermented things are all the rage. Whether you just can’t get enough of that funky, savoury tang or love the health benefits, this River Cottage course is the place to learn all the basics of fermenting at home. Taking place over four weeks, these expert-led online lessons will walk you through kraut, lacto-fermentation, kombucha, and kefir. Your gut health is about to be the envy of the neighbourhood.
Stress, Anxiety and Emotional Resilience course from YKP Consulting
Struggling to see the light at the end of the Lockdown 3.0 tunnel? Everyone’s mental health has taken a real battering this last year and even if you think you’re feeling ok, it’s a really good idea to devote some time to focusing on your wellbeing. Yasmin-Kate Pattinson is a Mental Health First Aid England Instructor member and she has a perfectly-timed online course on stress, anxiety and emotional resilience coming out on 1 Feb. It’s a modular course with video content, activities and self reflection work that will support you on your wellness journey, being uploaded each week over 6 weeks, so offers something structured to keep you in check while the world goes mad around us. That’s £65 well spent, we reckon.
If you want to take your doodles to the next level and use art as a way to switch off then you’ll love this course from Suffolk artist Samantha Barnes. She’s running eight free 30-minute online art classes this winter and the classes are for everyone from complete beginners to Constable wannabes. The classes are live on a Thursday at 11am, but if you want to do it in your own time Samantha uploads the videos here afterwards.
From 21 January until 25 March, the Suffolk Writers Group are running a 10-week short story club on a Thursday evening. It costs £70 for the zoom sessions plus feedback on your story and will include sessions about where ideas come from, how to create engaging characters and getting started on that dreaded first paragraph. Published author here you come!
HAMPSHIRE AND ISLE OF WIGHT
Take a creative art course with the Hampshire Art Studio
Art is great for mind and soul. For novices, mastering the techniques can help elevate creations from downstairs loo to a prime living room spot. The Hampshire Art Studio in Bransbury, Winchester, runs termly workshops and masterclasses covering portraits, watercolours and more. Online classes in February include abstract painting with acrylic art and mark making. Worth splashing out on.
Tell your story – creative writing workshops at Chawton House, Hampshire
Writer and editor Claire Thurlow is continuing the Chawton House tradition of producing great women writers (owned by her brother Edward, Jane Austen often visited). With a series of virtual creative writing workshops in 2021. In February, she’ll explore what makes characters interesting and engaging with tips to make them spring to life on the page. Write-on.
HERTFORDSHIRE & BEDFORDSHIRE
Herts-based indie Lucky Lobster is loved by the locals for its cool and quirky arts, and now you can create your own Lucky Lobster creation. Founder Jo runs Virtual Art Workshops via Zoom every Fri, 10am to 12pm, but lessons are recorded so you can catch up if you miss one. Jo provides instruction, advice and structure, and you can pick up everything you need from her online shop (so don’t worry about raiding Hobbycraft beforehand).
The Virtual Art Experience tubes cost just £22 and include acrylic paints, brushes, paper, pencil and instructions to accompany the online art tutorial. Whether you’re a lapsed artist who wants to get back in the game, or a complete novice, Jo’s classes are fun, relaxed and will have you creating if not a masterpiece, then at the very least your own unique works.
Cookalongs from Cooking and Carafes, £17 a lesson
Another year, another lockdown, so why not keep yourself busy and perfect your culinary skills with a series of online cookalongs with Kate Ailey from Herts-based Cooking and Carafes? Running through January to March, these online interactive sessions are about 45 minutes long and take place via Zoom from Kate’s very own kitchen to yours. Using easy-to-get ingredients, you’ll make delicious Italian dishes, including Sausage and Cannellini stew and Gnochetti Sardi, all while making new friends along the way. Each recipe includes gluten free, vegan and vegetarian options, meaning that all tastes and requirements are catered for. A number of sessions are also run in collaboration with some of Kate’s favourite Italian brands, such as Filippo Berio and Garofalo Pasta, and include a selection of free products that will be sent to you in advance.
Hix at Home: fish cookery with Mark Hix
Celebrated chef, food writer and restaurateur Mark Hix (The Oyster & Fish House, Lyme Regis) shows you how to cook two delicious fish dishes every month. All you do is order a fish box – containing different types of fresh fish – and you’ll be sent recipes and a link to an online tutorial with Mark. Place your order before 6pm on Tuesdays for delivery anywhere in England and Wales on a Friday, ready for a weekend cook-up.
If you were ever going to get into making your own soap, now would be the time. Master an ancient practice, reduce plastic packaging, and get those hands as sanitised as they can be in one smug sweep. Dorset-based company The Soap Coach are determined to show you how to transform natural ingredients into beautiful, clean, hand-made soaps. The 90 minute beginner workshops explain everything you need to know, while the 60 minute classes focus in on more specific soap types, like salt soaps. All sounds like squeaky-clean fun to me.
Get connected: online drama workshops for youngsters
The Tri-Art Theatre School and Dance Academy based at the Merlin Theatre in Frome is running drama workshops for 7-16 year olds via Zoom. Kids will explore drama techniques and skills, play games, discuss theatre and work together on longer projects. To book a place or for more info, give them an email.
Birmingham’s very own Alexia McIntosh (above), star of SIX – The Musical in London’s West End, has just launched Birmingham Hippodrome’s Digital Masterclasses with the first of 25 online workshops for young people aged 7-25. Upcoming workshops include a dance and movement workshop with Hairspray star Lauren Stroud, a Writing for Musical Theatre workshop with Artistic Director of Fat Rascal Theatre and writer of Fringe hit, Unfortunate – The Untold Story of Ursula the Seawitch, Robyn Grant and a Spoken Word Workshop with leading artists from Apples and Snakes.
The series of live digital workshops are £5 per session and designed especially for young people and adults to access leading insight from industry experts all from the comfort of their own homes. Places can be booked online here.
Get Cooking! online lessons
Resolved to get better in the kitchen in 2021? Do you fancy improving your culinary repertoire, learning the basics, eating a healthier vegan diet or perfecting your baking techniques? Get Cooking founder Anne Marie Lambert, a Warwickshire-based cookery teacher with 30 years industry experience, hosts weekly 1-hour live interactive online cooking workshops via Zoom covering the lot – ranging from Pancake Day American-style and traditional pancakes to sushi and Italian pasta making. Anne Marie has been teaching cookery classes for 10 years and currently runs a Lets Get Cooking Club at a Warwick school, Holiday Camp Cooking Sessions at Warwick school, WI’s and corporate clients. See her full range of online cooking lessons, workshops and private lessons here.
A chic way to get drunk at home? I’m in. The Essex Wine School offer a range of evening options, from an informative course in how to really taste wine (rather than, er, knocking it back) to a casual wine and quiz evening for Valentine’s Day. And it’s not just limited to wine: branch out to rum or gin, or specially-brewed Essex spirits. See the full range here.
Move away from the microwave: it’s time to make something properly delicious from scratch. No wait, come back! Even if you struggle to boil an egg, Alpha Bake can teach adults and kids alike to whip up creamy tenderloin pork, from-scratch pizza, pavlova, and more.
If you’ve been seduced by the soothing powers of Channel 4’s The Great Pottery Throwdown, you’ll love this. Newbury-based potter, Cait Gould who competed on series two, is running Clay at Home online classes. Simply buy a kit from her online shop (air drying or kiln fired), each kit has the tools, clay and materials you will need. The website has lots of useful ‘how to’ videos to swot up on – then pray to the WIFI gods and join Cait’s online class where she will help you create a ceramic masterpiece. If you choose the studio clay pack the price includes kiln firing at Cait’s studio. A donation is also made to Black Lives Matter on each kits she sells. Prices £25 per box.
If wine is going to be our lockdown crutch, we might as well pretend it’s all in the interests of personal growth. Stanlake Park Wine Estate is Berkshire’s largest vineyard and, in the absence of wafting around their beautiful grounds sipping some of the country’s finest English wines, you can waft around your home instead. Go for a private tasting, gather your mates and let the chaos begin. There are three wine packages to choose from (each tasting pack includes two 75cl bottles of wine delivered nationwide (£34-£49), Annie Bennington of ABV Tastings in Wokingham is your tasting host and you can add a selection of organic British cheeses (from £15) too for a Best of British night in. Prices vary depending on how many are in your party.
LEICESTERSHIRE & RUTLAND
Ever admired the swirling precision of a cursive invitation? It somehow makes the most basic of words beautiful. But it also looks, well, damn fiddly. Luckily, Leicester-based calligraphy artist Jane Lappage is now running evening classes of the basics and details of Modern Calligraphy, Gothic Calligraphy, Italic Calligraphy, and Gold Leaf & Illuminated lettering. That’s it: the moment this lockdown lark is over, I’m throwing a dinner party with the grandest, hand-written invitations I can manage. Book here.
This culinary masterclass will teach you to make phenomenal food in your very own kitchen, guided by expert chefs. Catch me earning a Michelin star after one session. Well – maybe not. But I am excited by the prospect of ‘whipping up’ something about a hundred times fancier than the usual spag bol. And then, crucially, eating it.
Foraging with the Jericho Kitchen Cookery School
You mean, you don’t hand-pick your food from the wild? Talk about lazy. Luckily, the lovely folks at Jericho Kitchen have continued their foraging classes via Zoom, to walk you through what delicious freebies you can nab from woodlands, riversides, and meadowlands. (Because it’s probably best to know what you’re doing before you start chucking odd mushrooms into your soups). If you’d rather play it safe with supermarket ingredients, they have lots of online cooking classes, too.
Want to brush up on your photography skills? Wiltshire-based photographer Kevin Mullins is offering online training and mentoring sessions via Zoom, to help you on subjects like developing a portfolio or Lightroom editing. One thing’s for certain: after a class with Kevin, our Instagrams will be looking out of this world.
EqUa Coaching Find Your Balance Workshop
Anyone else feeling totally at sea with all that’s been going on lately? Thank God EqUa Coaching has our backs with their online life coaching workshops. It’s nothing wishy-washy: professional life coaches Jo Hodges and Liz Bell will hold one-to-one coaching sessions with you, to help you isolate and overcome your problems. Both old-hands in the self-improvement business, they’ve designed their program to teach you how to reach perfect equilibrium, equality, and equanimity in your life. Which, personally, should be nothing short of a miracle.
Online makeup lessons with The Bucks Makeup Studio
After many years of running private makeup lessons in their studio, Tamsin and Joceline are now offering their expertise over Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp or FaceTime. Working with the makeup you already own, as well as offering tailored recommendations for your colouring and face shape, they’ll show you a step-by-step method to achieve that apparently effortless, professional makeup effect. A recording of the lesson is provided for easy recreation, which arguably makes it a step-up from in-person classes you instantly forget. Promising stuff! Maybe I’ll finally manage to grasp the precise wizardry that is contour. As well as personal lessons of different lengths, you can also opt for a shared lesson with a friend or family member, or book a teenage makeup course for your child. (My entire family is shortly going to be effortlessly glam.)