Culture

West Hampshire School of Art – Adult Classes

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We don’t like twiddling our thumbs at weekends or evenings at The Amazing Blog and look for opportunities to educate and inspire us. So when we heard about experimenting with different art forms as a therapy to disconnect, heal our minds and release tension, we couldn’t resist exploring it more with the West Hampshire School of Art classes.

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The West Hampshire School of Art is based in Broughton in Hampshire was recently formed in January 2019 by Daisy Rogers. It is a non-profit organisation that is set to offer fine art classes and workshops to those who not only want to improve their artistic skills or experiment with creative practices but also to those who want to make a difference and add their grain of sand to build strong communities. The school drives its profits to community art programmes as well as to fund children’s places for low-income families. Art is a vibrant way to make a change.

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This initiative has been well received with classes filling up fast. Why not hone your artistic skills this autumn joining their 6 or 10-week programmes ranging from fine art foundation courses, tutored or untutored life drawing and landscape painting to ceramics and printmaking. All classes are taught by experienced professional artists giving you a solid knowledge of art history and technique. We like to encourage others to try new things too, and taking up an art class at the West Hampshire School of Art as they also offer both part-time and full-time classes, with many options to help adapt to your busy schedule. No excuses now! Another aspect that we like is the fact that classes only allow a small number of students, meaning you can get the most out of the class, i.e. getting a lot of one-to-one tuition. Located in Broughton Down Farm, visit here to find out more about the courses. Why not sign up now and start thinking about what masterpieces you’re going to create. Prices start at £165.00 for 10 week programmes.

Holly Golightly Cider from Celtic Marches

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Today we unashamedly revisit our friends over in Herefordshire at Celtic Marches in fact The Amazing Blog previously featured their delicious Thundering Molly Cider way back in 2014! Today they have now come up with another hugely tempting bottle, only this time with one of the most iconic images of cinematic history: Holly Golightly

Any fans of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, brace yourselves for something very special indeed, today we are focusing on the heroine of that movie herself - the fabulously complicated and utterly beguiling Holly Golightly. The image is unmistakeable - perfect undo coiffed to perfection, the long black gloves, little black dress and the Audrey Hepburn pout jumps out at you from the label, making a beeline for our shopping basket. 

Standing alongside such diverse characters as Loubi Lou, and Nell Gwynne, Holly Golightly is no doubt going to make her mark in the drinks cabinet, just as she did on screen, but at just 0.5%ABV, her low alcohol content comes out as far more virtuous! Having said that, this is no wishy-washy concoction, but rather a full-flavoured medium cider, as you would expect from 100% pressed cider applessuitable for vegans and no gluten makes this a sure fire winner across the board. Available in bottles, and cans, cases of 12 can be purchased for just £22.99 here, where the complete range and all the other characters that Celtic Marches have created, are just waiting to be discovered. Now all we need is our wrought iron fire escape, ‘Cat’ to brush past us and ‘Moon River’ playing in the background, and we can have ourselves an evening of unadulterated movie nostalgia … relax and enjoy!

Friday Favourites - Summer Cookbooks

 

Today The Amazing Blog wants to share with you some of our #amazingfinds with four new cookbooks that have encouraged us to create some fantastic international dishes for our friends. Our gastronomic journey starts with India moves onto to Morocco and then the Philippines and returns back to the UK just in time to put the BBQ on!

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Let’s kicked off by something of a whirlwind of inspiration in the culinary prowess of Asma Khan, who moved to the UK in 1991 from Calcutta without any knowledge of how to cook, but a firm belief in the power of food to bring people together, and the opportunities created through this to forge new friendships, learning of different cultures and traditions along the way. Although it was British constitutional law which focused her attentions to begin with, having finished her doctorate in 2012, she turned her entrepreneurial talents towards the kitchen, and has been gaining awards and garnering attention ever since. As a descendant of the ancient Rajput Suryavanshi Bargujar clan on her paternal side, and pioneering tea planters in Darjeeling from her maternal ancestry, Asma’s heritage is undisputed, and her book ‘Asma’s Indian Kitchen’ is a delicious romp through India’s rich history, and culinary voyage. “Your food should feel like an embrace” she tells us, and such warmth emanates from the pages. Beautifully photographed and with anecdotes peppered throughout, her book really is a delight to enjoy in and out of the kitchen! Her Shahi Kofta - or lamb meatballs in a rich gravy - are a sensation, as are her stuffed bell peppers - or Bharwa Simla Mirch to use the correct terminology … useful to know, especially if you fancy trying out her award-winning restaurant Darjeeling Express in Soho. Published by Pavilion Books for £14.99  and available here .

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If Morocco is more your thing, then Nargisse Benkabbou is offering up “Casablanca - My Moroccan Food” to encourage us to whip out that tagine, and start making magic with the amazing flavours of her culture, but often with a mix of Western dishes too. Again, here we don’t just have a culinary manual to enjoy, but rather more an introduction to how these foods fit within the gloriously colourful culture and traditions. Nargisse began sharing her feasting knowledge originally through a highly successful blog, ‘My Moroccan Food’, and this book is the natural result of those posts. If you are partial to a spot of marinating - and who of us aren’t - then try the Sweet Chermoula Seared Beef, which promises a ‘flavour bomb’, and we love the idea of a dish taking us to far-flung places with the aromas of Casablanca which are promised in the Amlou Rolls.So many temptations to try, and written with a warmth and friendliness utterly reminiscent of Morocco herself. Octopus Books have brought us this one, priced at £20 and available here 

 

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Perhaps the Philippines as a gastronomic destination gets your taste buds going? The New Filipino Kitchen is another huge spectrum of different tastes and flavours from the myriad of islands with so much to explore, and brought to us digitally thanks to Jacqueline Chio-Lauri who has edited a collection of fascinating stories, giving extra meaning to each recipe from a wide ranging assortment of cuisine masters - and all for us to try from the comfort of our laptop. Describing the chapters under the heading of simply ‘seafood’, ‘meat’ or ‘desserts’ feels a little like short-changing this extensive jaunt around those 7000 or so islands which make up such a vibrant nation. However, the ‘New Filipino Kitchen’ is a serious contender for our attention if culinary escapism is your thing. Quite unique with the information it relays, this book could send us into a frenzy - imagine if you will ‘Stuffed Fish Grilled in Banana Leaves and Eggplant Salad with Toasted Pancetta’, or to translate that properly and pay due homage, ‘Inihaw Na Isda At Ensaladang Talong’ … Well Imagine it no longer, simply turn to page 36, and enter Tasting Heaven! Both digital and hard copies are available on Amazon here from £15.18

 

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Now, it would seem churlish not to include a cookbook with origins a little closer to home, and of course there is an enormous library of titles to choose from, but one which stands out with an irresistible edge is the “Fresh Veggie BBQ” by David & Charlotte Bailey,encouraging us to embrace the outdoor option of serving up a meal from a vegetarian friendly barbecue menu. Completely eschewing any notion that vegetarian food has to be less colourful or indeed tasty, David and Charlotte give us 60 recipe options like ‘Caramelized Bananas with Vanilla Ice Cream’, ‘Rosemary Sweet Potato Chips’ or - and this one is seriously tempting ‘Wild Mushroom & Artichoke One-Pot Pie’ to dispel those myths completely. However, this time of course our kitchen is found in the great outdoors through the tradition that is ‘barbecue’ which of course is a culture within itself. With advice on the different options open to us, from using dutch ovens to the very impressive discipline of burying our ingredients in hot ash and embers - otherwise known as ‘rescoldo’, we have an encyclopaedia of vegetarian goodies to try out -and with the weather back here at home offering us it’s most favourable conditions (Ok well that was in July perhaps not August!) We can’t be the only ones twitching to get those charcoals burning! Published by Pavilion Books with an RRP of £14.99 here the ‘Fresh Veggie BBQ’ is a must.

…And with all these delicious ideas, we’re preparing to cook up a storm this Bank Holiday weekend!

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!

Williams Handmade - Leatherwork Clutch Bag/iPad Case Course

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We like to shake it up a bit on our activity weekends. After all, we can’t let those precious free days go to waste. This is when The Amazing Blog discovered Williams Handmade, a company who specialises in craft leather goods.  They offer several leather-working workshops, like the Half Day Clutch Bag/iPad Case Course.

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Designer Sarah Williams founded Williams Handmade in 2010. As award winners of the Accessories Collection of the Year Award at ITS#NINE, The Accessory Award from Absolut Vodka, and taking part of the “Power of Craft” exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Williams Handmade truly deserves the description of high-quality craftsmanship. The company has also been shortlisted for the Ketel One Modern Craftsman Award and was nominated by Selfridges as one of their Bright Young Things.


From glasses cases to bags, Sarah Williams creates each of these items herself in the Williams Handmade Workshop in Bircher, Leominster which is located on the Hereford/Shropshire borders. If you love to support local artisans as we do, you should also know that the products are made from English Bridle leather coming from Northamptonshire.

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We’re particularly excited about their Half Day Clutch Bag/iPad Case Course. By the end of the day, you’ll have your own clutch bag or iPad case to bring home and put to use.  Our team members have never worked with leather before, but luckily there’s no need for prior experience to take this course. The day entails learning the basics of leatherwork (i.e. how to cut and prepare leather), the traditional saddle stitch, and learning how to finish the edges. You also get to choose your preferred colour and pattern combination, so your lovely bag or case is just to your liking!


The Williams Handmade Half Day Clutch Bag/iPad Case Course runs from 9am-1pm on the 20th of October for £65. Tea, coffee, and cake are included. If you’d like to spice up your Saturday with this fabulous course, click here. If you’re interested in finding out about their other classes, click here.