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Woodsetton Art Pottery's Workshop

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After a long week, there's nothing better than doing relaxing and creative activity. We think that pottery achieves just that, allowing us to take the time-out immersing ourselves in something that doesn't involve work, emails or social media. Something we actively try and encourage at The Amazing Blog, so we were excited to learn more about the Woodsetton Art Pottery's classes.

We came across Woodsetton Art Pottery's is the brainchild of Lorraine Bates, who aims to tailor classes, ensuring everyone leaves with a newfound knowledge (whether you're brand new to pottery, or more experienced). Based in Woodsetton, West Midlands, there is a space for everyone, from beginner classes to throwing and glazing. With a maximum of seven people per workshop, the courses aim to improve everyone’s creative skills, gaining optimum knowledge and interaction with a pottery professional. The studio is also well equipped, with electric potter wheels and a range of equipment for hand builders and sculptures.

The beginner's pottery course includes hand building, extruding and sculpting. The aim is that every student will learn to throw on the wheel, giving the opportunity to let your inner child out (and to get your hands dirty in the process). If you choose only to do this course, then you can make use of Lorraine's extensive experience, paying £2 per piece for her to tidy/turn your work, with subsequent biscuit firing, glazing and glaze firing. This means that however skilled you prove to be (or not), you will leave with a professionally finished piece.

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For a more advanced course, Lorraine offers throwing courses. These are a day long, with a maximum of five students, allowing each person access to their own wheel - improving throwing and turning techniques. Alternatively, if glazing is your interest, then there is also a separate glazing workshop. Here you will learn to apply different glazes, colours and dippings, to make your pieces true works of art. The created pots can also be decorated with sponging, stencilling and brushing.

The Raku Day workshop is slightly different, allowing students to bring in their own works from home (size permitting), to decorate and glaze in the workshop. The extensive experience of Woodsetton Pottery will ensure that you leave with new glaze recipes, with the focus being to teach correct mixing techniques, including ways in which to reduce oxidisation.

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If you’re interested in enhancing your creative personality, the workshops run from 10am-4pm during both the week, and on Saturdays. There is also the possibility to arrange a group workshop for you and your friends. Up to six wonderfully decorated objects are included in the fee, which will be bisque fired and glazed, and available for collection within four weeks. Generally, day courses are £75 each (Monday to Friday) and £90 on Saturdays, You can also purchase gift vouchers as a special treat for loved ones. You might like to attend a workshop in August (subject to availability)⚱17th August - Places - £90 - Throwing on the wheel plus associated handbuilding and decorating techniques. Suitable for beginner or those honing their techniques.⚱25th August - Places - £90 - Throwing on the wheel plus associated hand-building and decorating techniques. Suitable for beginner or those honing their techniques. Otherwise from September onwards course dates will 3 months in advance. Please visit their Tumblr page here to see an extensive list of specific workshops and prices. Enjoy!

Pure Style of London's Reed Diffusers

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Having a well-scented home can make a huge difference to a first impression. So walking into a hallway that is less than fragrant with the aroma of damp dog and musty coats is an absolute no-no. Finding a solution to produce a continual mood enhancing fragrance all day is a tricky one. From a safety perspective however pretty candles are they cannot be left alight all day. Therefore the trusty reed diffuser offers a more practical solution. This is why we at The Amazing Blog, were very happy to try out three fragrances from Pure Style of London’s Room Diffusers.

With popularity of e-commerce subscription-based purchases are trending, Pure Style of London had the clever idea to create their Home Fragrance Club. Here you can customise your own home fragrance gift with a choice of different sizes, colour of the containers, caps and reeds and more importantly, the fragrances. Offering high-quality and locally hand-crafted room diffusers, Pure Style of London’s aim is to make people’s lives more convenient, adding fun value to everyday life. On their website, you can choose between a one-time-purchase gift set or a subscription to be delivered to your doorstep all year round. Either way, you’ll find it easy to change your order at any time, with no contract, and therefore, no commitments.

For us a well-scented office is a must and is what helps us to kick-on throughout our busy day. One of our favourite combinations from Pure Style of London is their Bergamot & Lime diffuser which we chose to put in their very chic white glass container with white reeds - it is almost ethereal looking. The fragrance is lively, stimulating and bright creating a deliciously fresh atmosphere all day long. Another must-try is the Earl Grey, which reminds us of drinking a well-deserved cup of tea, delicate but equally refreshing. However, we mustn’t forget to mentioned that we also particularly liked the Fresh Linen. This delivered a blend of cotton flower and mimosa, offering a refreshing aroma to remind us that spring is not far away. That said, all nine premium fragrances are guaranteed to emit a beautiful and long-lasting scent. Check them out here.

The Fragrance Club works with a simples 3-step process: Select – Choose – Personalise. Decide on your preferred fragrance, size and the colour of your bottle and diffuser reeds,. Their packages start from £10 monthly, or £29.50 as a one off, click here to see for yourself.

Africology Coffee and Rose Diffuser

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Who doesn’t love entering into a beautifully scented room? Here, at The Amazing Blog, we have a weakness for reed diffusers as they are safer and more versatile than candles. At this time of year, we want a room fragrance that has both warmth and freshness, this is where one of our favourite beauty and lifestyle brands Africology never fails us. Our regular readers will remember our post on their Rose Body Balm where we commented on their African heritage and how they capture the key flora and fauna of Africa in their ingredients.

Africology has as range of five different fragranced Atmosphere Reed Diffuser sets. We tried the Coffee and Rose diffuser, which for us was absolutely delightful. From its simple, elegant packaging to its sophisticated tawny glass bottle design, it offers soft warm top floral notes combined with the rather interesting and more robust coffee ones, making it a more weighty fragrance and perfect for that heady romantic evening ambience. Apart from its elegant design that will complement any décor, this diffuser is long-lasting; we had ours on the go for at least 3 months!

This diffuser is made from only 100% natural oils. It is very simple and easy to use, just open the bottle and place the diffuser reeds into the bottle until the reeds are fully coated with liquid. Wait about 5 minutes and take the reeds out and insert the opposite dry end of the reeds back into the diffuser. To enhance your home with this long-lasting and evocative fragrance, purchase the Africology Coffee and Rose Room Diffuser here for £45.00. Or at their newly opened London store here.

The Magic Flower Company

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We know you might not want to hear this, but, winter is well and truly coming. Although this resonates with dark early evenings, and dreary and grey days, we at The Amazing Blog try to marry up the cosiness of hygge, and brightness of limited daylight. When we came upon the Magic Flower Company, you can’t imagine our excitement at discovering that their fresh flowers last for up to one year! What better way to brighten up your home than with freshly cut flowers that don’t require water, remaining hassle-free all year round. We were more than rather impressed with their Magic Roses, Magic Foliage and Magic Flower Arrangements.

Based in a small village in Suffolk, The Magic Flower Company was founded by entrepeneur Jack Hinshelwood. His company harvests flowers at their peak, preserving them with a unique biodegradable preservation formula. On the website, there is a plethora of floral arrangements which are regularly updated on a seasonal basis. We received 12 Antique Cream Premium Magic Roses, which were delivered in a stylish black box through the post. As you can see from the photo (above), they are the perfect ‘winter white’ and 9 months on, still have pride of place in our office. We cannot urge you strongly enough to invest in these beautiful long-lasting roses - frankly for us, gone are the days of receiving half dead and wilted flowers from a florist’s delivery van!

The designs come in different sizes and prices, which are adapted to meet popular trends and styles, and we rather like the statement flowers of the Cream Hatbox Design. Furthermore, on their website, they offer different gifting options, such as the Mini Present Box or Presentation Rose, which offer more simplistic arrangements. The flowers are available here in different styles, all of which are updated on a monthly basis. To purchase your own Antique Cream Magic Rose, then click here. A single rose is £8.95, or treat yourself to a magic 12 for £94.95.

Dogs' Dinners Cookbook

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Times, they are a-changin’…when once the saying “I’ve made a right dog’s dinner of that” would mean a less than appealing result, along comes Debora Robertson to firmly turn all such notions inside out. Even if you don’t have a pet pooch, we urge you to pick up her glorious book ‘Dogs’ Dinners’ and indulge yourself in some seriously compelling page turning. Not only has Debora brought a whole host of delicious recipes for our canine friends together, but she also gives us the option of how to tailor these taste bud tinglers to suit our humanoid palate too.

First and foremost though, her book is written very much with our four-legged family members in mind - which is why our favourite fluffy English Show Cocker Spaniel Tilly was so happy to sit lapping up every page while we made our more leaden way through the Sunday papers over the weekend! And why not …? With recipes like ‘Turkey and Quinoa Meatballs’, ‘Liver Brownies’, and ‘Summer Pupsicles’ to ponder, there is much for Tilly to salivate over - as you can see, she has been thoroughly engrossed! 

Included are tips on how to deal with specific food intolerances; what to serve up should there be signs of a sensitive mouth or gums, and of course, like us, doggies can suffer from the occasional off day, but guess what - chicken broth works wonders for them too! It appears that when all is said and done, apart from some levels of seasoning, nosh-wise there isn’t much to divide us.

To view this only as a collection of recipes, however, would be a mistake - there is a great deal more information contained within it’s covers, as to the healthiest way to feed your dog from their earliest puphood, through to the various stages of growing up. With advice on the ingredients which will keep teeth as healthy as possible, the ways to encourage fresh breath, and the more basic functions at the other end, Debora Robertson covers it all. She especially explore the essential knowledge of what NOT to offer up - we all know that chocolate and cooked bones are a total no-no, but avocados, unripe tomatoes and caffeine of any kind are also on the hazardous list. Fortunately for Tilly and her pals, there is a larder full of delicious goodies to make extensive use of, and Ms Robertson expertly shows us the way.

‘Dog’s Dinners’ is a fascinating mix of informed nutritional advice, intriguing anecdotes - check out “the bone about which we do not speak” on page 26 - and beautifully observed illustrations by Cinzia Zenocchini, which will sit perfectly alongside Delia and Nigella’s finest on the kitchen shelf.

‘Dogs’ Dinners’ by Debora Robertson is priced at £9.99 and is available here.