So here it is, 2019 is upon us already. Historically for New Year, we have written about physical fitness. Taking advantage of all that North Wales has to offer for an adrenaline fuelled, health driven year ahead. However, whilst exercise is the ‘go to’ thing for a dopamine rush (the happiness drug we create in our bodies), learning something new can be just as good. When we are introduced to new stimuli, the SN/VTA part of the brain (AKA the novelty centre) lights up and this causes a rush of dopamine. Add on the dopamine rush you also experience when you have achieved something new, it’s a win win.
With that in mind, if you want to learn something new in North Wales this year, here are our favourite things that we found on offer …
You cannot escape the cooking phenomenon that sweeps our nation. We binge watching cookery programmes. We have cookery books weighing down the kitchen shelf. But there is nothing better than being taught first hand how to cook. So getting the basics right is something we should all have under our belts. Bodnant run a monthly cookery school offering courses that cover the basics to teaching you how to master a specific dish. Half day, full day and weekend courses are all available.
Corris Craft Centre was established in 1982 and consists of 9 studios where they make a range of products. From chocolate and bath products to jewellery and glass sculptures. Each of the studios is privately rented and the artist in residence makes and sells their wares from the studios and you can go and watch them creating. A couple of the artists that have options to make your own – most notably the candle shop and the chocolate shop. They offer a 15 – 30 minute taster sessions but Taran Eco Designs who make forest furniture off more involved courses.
Glosters in Porthmadog is a fab independent shop where you’ll find lots of really great Welsh brands (think Niki Pilkington). As well as their own line of ceramics which are made by the husband of the team, Tom. Tom also runs a series of ceramic throwing courses throughout the year, from his studio underneath the shop. Here you’ll learn how to use the potters wheel and create your own mug / jug… or whatever is on the menu that day. They are absolutely perfect if you have a day to yourself and want to do something different.
Set in the former house of one of our late Prime Ministers, David lloyd, Ty Newydd on the outskirts of Criccieth has now been established as The National Writing Centre of Wales. Est in 1990, thousands of emerging writers have passed through their doors. So if the New Year has brought to you ideas of finally putting pen to paper and becoming a writer, there are lots of courses on offer that can help you with just that. There are day courses and week-long courses (week long courses do not have to be residential). Offering creative writing, poetry and lots lots more. Perfect if your other half is off up the mountains all day everyday and you are looking for something to get your teeth into.
There is a part in all of us that wants to know a little bit about wine. I am certainly the one at the table who looks down when the waiter asks if anyone wants to try the wine. And would love to feel confident in tasting it… Pant Du is a vineyard located in the Conwy Valley and where they make red, white and rose wines as well as their famous cider. They hold a number of wine tasting evenings throughout the year where you will samples wines from around the world. A total of 6 wines per evening 2 red, 2 white, 1 rose and 1 sparkling. A great evening where you’ll be taught how to taste wine, what to look for in a good wine, and what goes well with different foods. Above all, you’ll learn what you do and don’t like in a wine. Food is also provided on the evening.
Based in the centre of Caernarfon, Siop Iard offers all sorts of courses in crafts. Some of these include jewellery, 3d art, blacksmithing, slate work, calligraphy, basket weaving and embroidery. Therefore, a really great place that offers all the things you have thought about trying but never found the place to do it. Also at very reasonable prices, most of the courses are day courses, but there are a couple that run over two. Check out their website for more details.