Attend a cocktail masterclass
In this 90-minute session at The Casino at The Empire you’ll learn which drinks taste impeccable together, and how to shake, mix and serve them properly with different presentations.
You need a minimum of four mates to book a masterclass, then you could be flairing up a storm at your own Cocktails and Dreams in no time. Surely, if Tom Cruise can do it…
Book at least 24 hours ahead.
5-6 Leicester Sq, WC2H 7NA £29.50
Tube | Leicester Square
Trapeze, tightwire and juggling
Fly through the air this year just like you’re in the big top. During this exciting Circus Experience Day you’ll learn all the basics of trapeze, acrobatics and tightwire walking.
If you’re not exhausted after all that, they’ll also teach you how to juggle.
Jan 12, 2.30pm-5.45pm £65
Circus Space, N1 6HD
Tube | Old Street
Learn to relax
Inner Space meditation company offers a class on relaxation strategies that teach you “how to act before, during and after stress” and help you to release that creative energy you’ve got balled up inside.
A course runs for two sessions over two weeks.
Starts Jan 8 & 22, 6pm-7pm FREE
36 Shorts Gardens, WC2H 9AB
Tube | Covent Garden
Testimonials from this gathering say you’ll feel a million bucks after an epic hug-fest. The group does playful light boundary-setting exercises before the “cuddle pods”, where you group hug the whole class.
Jan 20, 2pm £29
The Rooms Above, NW6 ITB
Tube | West Hampstead
Can you remember the last time you belly laughed? Enjoy some serious giggles with instructor Leela Bunce, who makes a crust from chuckling. This therapeutic workshop can help with stress, improve stomach muscles (er, maybe) and act as an amazing form of release.
Jan 31, 7.30pm-9pm £10
Interchange Studios, NW3 4QP
Tub | Belsize Park
Learn to dance swing and jive
LeytonTry something new this year and get jiving to classic tracks from the Forties and Fifties. Learn swing and Lindy Hop moves such as ‘swinging out’, ‘Lindy turns’ and ‘Lindy circles’.
It’s extremely fun and you’ll probably even make yourself some new mates to go dancing with at the weekends.
Jan 29, 7.30pm-8.30pm £35
X7eaven Studios, 569a Lea Bridge Rd, E10 7EQ
Tube | Leyton Midland Rd
Come and draw a nude model every week. The class is open to all levels of abilities and there are teachers to introduce new techniques in each class.
Price is for a half-day.
Saturdays, 10am-4pm £16
Kensington Palace Studio, W8 4PU
Tube | Kensington
If you’re looking for self-improvement this year, and want to stop smoking, drinking so much, or being so stressed, this may be just the class for you.
During a half-day course you’ll learn self hypnosis. You’ll be taught about the myths of hypnosis, how to be in control of your feelings and, according to teacher Tom MacKay, control them so much that you cure yourself of problems.
Jan 26, 2pm-5pm £80
Various addresses in N4
Tube | Finsbury Park
Intro to stargazing
This 10-week astronomy course, called Stars: Distant Suns Of The Night, will teach you all about the great beyond.
They’ll go through the stars, including our sun, the power sources that make them shine and what may happen when their fuel runs out.
Proof that science isn’t boring.
From Jan 8, 3.45pm-5.45pm £107
City Lit, Keeley Street, WC2B 4BA
Tube | Covent Garden
Has the guilt set in yet? You’ve probably been stuffing your chops with pigs in blankets and slabs of turkey, put on a few pounds and are already back at work (groan). Perhaps it’s time for some self-improvement?
This year, why not venture out of your humdrum routine and invest some time in developing a new skill? In a city as eclectic as London, there’s no shortage of courses and classes to try, teaching everything from the trapeze to taxidermy. Plus, if you’re really savvy, you can save a wad of cash thanks to your new know-how.
For example, how about becoming a cut above the rest with a butchery class?Butcher Perry Bartlett’s hands have been covered in blood and guts for 30 years, and he knows carcasses inside out. “I was a wayward child,” Bartlett explains. “My parents insisted I did a butchers course to sort me out.”
He shares his skills by hosting regular classes at The Ginger Pig in Marylebone. The public can choose from four different lessons – beef, lamb, pork or sausage making.
There’s more to butchery than playing with sharp knives and saws, Bartlett explains, such as learning how to be thrifty and versatile. “As a kid, the knives attracted me at first, but there’s much more to it than just cutting meat,” he says. ”You also learn how to not waste anything.”
Just like butchers aim to get a return on every part of a beast, you too can save cash by making your purchases go further and using the cheaper cuts.
“We also teach about farming and breeding, how to recognise a good piece of meat, how to mature it, and bring out the best flavours,” he says.
Bartlett believes that after his course you’ll be cutting your shopping costs but eating like a king or a queen. “It’s not just about humping meat around,” says Bartlett, whose day-to-day involves lugging 100kg slabs of beef. “It isn’t a blokey thing anymore, butchery is for anyone interested in good food.”
By the end, students will cook and taste the difference between what they’ve worked on and what they buy at the supermarkets – and it’s not even worth comparing.
Flesh and bones not your thing? How about something more dainty – knicker-making classes. The Make Lounge in Islington runs a course that is an absolute hoot with a tangible reward for your two-and-a-half hours’ effort at the end. They provide patterns, colourful fabric, ribbons, embellishments and all the equipment needed, and you bring the imagination to craft a totally original pair of undies.
Founder Jennifer Pirtle says making a pair of jocks is a top way to express yourself. “The classes are very fun, you’ll meet people, and come away with new skills and a pair of knickers,” she says. “Most people that come through the door don’t know how to be creative, so it’s amazing to see them blossom. Everyone comes away with something completely different, depending on their personality, and the creativity they put into it.” Plus, you need never again trek to M&S.
Having a moose head attached to your wall or a stuffed bunny on your window ledge has never gone out of fashion. This rather leftfield course offers you the chance to stuff a real mouse during a three-hour lesson, and then it’s yours for life.
But be warned, this is not an activity suited to the squeamish among us.
Jan 21, 6pm-9pm £80
London Taxidermy Academy, 19a Cobble Lane, N1 1SF
Tube | Highbury & Islington
It may feel like a lot of money to shell out for a few jokes, but this hilarious two-day weekend workshop will teach you to be the funniest person in the room, or even the funniest person on a bill of pro stand-up comics.
Working headline comedians are the tutors over 10 hours of training for beginners. They reveal trade secrets to help your performance and by the time you finish you should be able to have them rolling in the aisles.
Jan 19 & 20, 11am-4pm £160
The London Theatre, SE14 6TA
Station | New Cross
Learn this provocative art form from a teacher with more than 30 years’ experience in strutting her stuff. The London Academy of Burlesque has taught more than 10,000 people cheeky dance routines.
If you’re shy, you can opt for a private lesson to help you build your confidence.Check the website for 2013 class dates and details for private tuition.
BMC Tease, W1CN 3XX. £80
Tube | Russell Square
Make a pot
Have your very own Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore moment at this fun weekend pottery class. Your one-off vessel will be made using coil pottery, hand and slab building and throwing on the wheel.
Sundays, 1.30pm-4pm £40
4a Rectory Grove, Clapham, SW4 0DZ
Tube | Wandsworth Road
Beer tasting class
Want to impress your mates with your knowledge of beer?
Leiths School of Food and Wine shows you how to appreciate the subtleties of a brew and pair its flavours with food – all while you sample the different tipples.
Dates and times vary. £65.
Leith’s School of Food and Wine, Chiswick, W12 9RT
Tube | Stamford Brooke
Make your own jewellery
In a single evening class you can create a unique silver ring and take it home with you. They’ll teach how to shape, texture and fit this precious metal to your size, or that of its recipient – perfect for Valentine’s Day, perhaps?
Jan 8, 6.30pm-9pm £50
London Jewellery School, Holborn, EC1N 7RJ
Tube | Chancery Lane
Franco Manca’s is holding pizza-making masterclasses on the second Monday of each month. Learn how to cook a proper pizza from scratch, then eat your achievement.
Jan 14, 4pm-7pm £20
144 Chiswick High Rd, W4 1PU
Tube | Turnham Green
Got a fancy new SLR for Christmas, but have no idea how to make the most of it beyond the ‘auto’ function?
Try this four-hour course, where you’ll learn how to use your camera properly, take amazing shots and never miss a magic moment again.
They’ll teach tips on metering, white balance, focusing, f-stops and what lenses work best for various types of photos.
Jan 10, 10am-2pm £49
Wimbledon Art Studio, SW17 0BB
Tube | Wimbledon Park