Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Happy Christmas from Treetops

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, see you in 2010.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Spring Cookery

We have 2 new Cookery dates for you to put in the diary for next year:

24th February - Tasty Thai and 18th March - Spring Entertaining.

Both classes are with Chef Vanessa Miller from Top Nosh Cuisine. Running from 9.30am-3pm the classes cost £75, this includes all your ingredients, tea, coffee, home-made biscuits, a 3 course lunch of all the food cooked, the recipes and you will make something to take home with you.

The new Thai class presents an opportunity to learn more about this delicious, fragrant and fresh cooking. Ingredients such as coconut milk, lemongrass, coriander and kaffir lime leaves help create wonderful simple dishes as well as creating beautiful smells in the kitchen! Delicious in it's simplicity - come and learn the basics with us.

The popular Spring Entertaining class provides plenty of ideas from Vanessa to help you with your entertaining this Spring and Easter time. Perfect presentation ideas, timely tips and delicious combinations for you to impress your guests and family.


Monday, 7 December 2009

Festive Flowers

Susanna from Tiger Rose returned for 2 classes last week, with an abundance of foliage, sea holly, berries, eucalyptus, roses, hydrangeas ..... there were also dried fruits, fir cones, walnuts, cinnamon sticks and ribbons.

Considering how everyone had the same raw materials to choose from, the wreaths couldn't have looked more different! I am hoping that I will soon have some photographs of them "in situ" on their doors, so will post them on the blog shortly.

Susanna showed spoke about flower trends, looking after flowers, how to make the wreath and other Christmas ideas, and after lunch made a fantastic arrangement. Also on display were cute little flower cup cakes, oasis inside silicone cupcake cases with carnations arranged on the top.

The house smelt of pine, cinnamon and eucalyptus, mixed with the smells of lunch; spicy winter carrot soup, the apple and cinnamon cake from Tuesday and the Gingerbread cake from Wednesday. I think the house is now pine needle free until I bring in the Christmas Tree that we bought yesterday!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Winter Scenes II - Watercolour

We had a calm and quiet class today (absolutely nothing to do with the fact I had lost my voice, and spent the day painting in silence apart from the occassional stage whisper of "lunch is ready" and "would you like some wine")!

This was our second Winter Scene painting day this term, we had a different painting (no sheep!) and it was actually of Treetops, a photo taken in the snow of the woods with the walkway leading you through.

We mixed up some lovely cool colours and then spent ages trying to get our posts and walkway correct, sometimes it looks just right, but you step away and your pathway appears to be leading you up to the heavens.

It was amazing at the end of the day to see them all lined up, they were all so different but yet were taken from the same image. There were some fantastic trees, shadows and dusky lights.

Lunch was taken from Sarah Whitaker's new book (Treetops Aga lady) a delicious salmon recipe, there is a link from the website on the "News" page, I can definitely recommend the book. www.treetops-newbury.co.uk.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Aga Christmas with Sarah Whitaker

Christmas came to Treetops yesterday, and today feels like Boxing Day with the final load to go in the dishwasher, the candles and ivy to put away, but there is still a beautiful smell of bacon, christmas pudding, boozy fruits, citrus and the scent of my favourite Crabtree & Evelyn candles lingering in the background.

Sarah welcomed 17 aga owners into Aga land, and wowed us all with her ability to do the entire spread in 2 hours!! We followed the recipes making notes as we went along, there to jog our memory when the time comes for us to prepare our feast. She provided a huge amount of top tips along the way, we were especially grateful for the freezing advice of what can be done now and be put away in the freezer.

We passed round the bag of dried fruits that she'd poured some rum into at the beginning of the week, and then opened today, the fruits had plumped up absorbing the alcohol and were perfect in her alternative Christmas pud (anything mixed with 2 bars of chocolate is heaven in my opinion!)

The Turkey had arrived from Nether Wallop wrapped in foil, towels and Sarah's puffa jacket, and had travelled by her side in the laundry basket. Cooked slowly overnight in the simmering oven, it was then unwrapped for us all to touch the foil and be amazed at how hot it still was. It was delicious.

It was a great morning, but whilst cooking the Christmas meal, Sarah was also showing us how to use the Aga, how to grill, roast, fry and bake in it and how to run it efficiently (keep your lids down as much as possible!)

We all sat down in the hall for a lovely lunch, complete with crackers and christmas candelight (and we even loved the brussel sprouts!)

Sarah will be returning on Friday 11 June for Aga - the Indoor Barbecue! A delicious and fun class that covers grilling, simmering, stir frying, aga pastry and baking by making delicious recipes such as marinated monkfish kebabs, steaks, halloumi salads, chocolate and cherry fudge pie and her AMAZING chewy chocolate brownies.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Helen & Friends' Cookery Day

A delicious class with Vanessa in the kitchen today.

We do offer tailor made days for groups of friends, if you haven't seen a date that suits you, or you have a group of 8 people already put together, and fancy choosing your own class theme. Today we had a lovely group for Winter Cookery, none of whom had visited Treetops before.

Everyone made some yummy olive and tomato bread rolls, which you can see in the before and after photographs above. There was plenty of kneading, and filling of the gorgeous dough with sun dried tomatoes, olives, basil, parmesan and olive oil. We had some for lunch and then everyone took home a small bag of bread rolls to enjoy this evening.

We also made a ricotta and herb stuffed chicken dish in a creamy tarragon sauce, which is shown above. It's always brilliant to get Vanessa's presentation tips. Also a very aromatic rump of lamb in a red wine jus and herbs, with very creamy dauphinoise potatoes.

There were lots of tips during the day and lots of scribbling of notes.

I don't know how we found room for pudding, but we always seem to on a Vanessa Day! Today it was Apple, Cinnamon and Hazelnut Crumble Tart, which disappeared before I had time to take a photo. Served with a Christmassy brandy cream, it was perfect.

So if in 2010 you fancy coming with a group of friends, perhaps as a birthday treat, or with your book club gang, then give me a call, and we can arrange a date.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Winter Scene Watercolour

The Christmassy classes have started! Yesterday was Claire's Winter Scene, this class is popular every year, as some happy artists like to turn their paintings into Christmas cards.

We had a beautiful misty scene to work from, where we needed to keep alot of our lights to create the sunlight shining through and mist rising from the ground. We also had the fun time of flicking masking fluid onto the paper to create our snowflakes.

After lunch, came the sheep! Considering how nervous everyone was, they all looked brilliant, they did look like sheep. Once the shadows were painted on and the masking fluid rubbed off the paintings really came alive.

Look out for Claire and her paintings this weekend at the St Gabriel's school Christmas Fair in Newbury. From 10.30am-3pm. There will be 80+ stalls in the Sports Hall and Theatre. www.stgabriels.co.uk.

Cameo Newbury's Watercolour Class

Last Friday, 8 parents from Cameo, Newbury's support group for parents and carers of children with a range of disabilities, came for a relaxing day of painting.

Claire had chosen water and skies which is always soothing to paint, it's always fun to see the sky colours merging together, you never quite know what you're going to end up with.

Some had painted before, and others were new to Watercolour, by the end of the day there were some fantastic paintings to take home.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

2010 Watercolour Classes - Dates Announced!

Just announced ... the new Watercolour class dates with Claire Warner for 2010.

Wednesday 20 January - Art for Beginners

Friday 29 January - Banish the Winter Blues

Friday 5 Feburary - A French Scene

Wednesday 10 &
Thursday 11 February - Masterclass

Monday 8 March - Spring Flowers

Tuesday 16 March - Simply Venice

I hope there is something in there to suit you, if you are completely new to Watercolour or nervous about picking it up again, come on Wednesday 20 January, Claire takes you through a painting step by step, talks about different paints, brushes and paper. You will feel a real sense of achievement at the end.

The Masterclass in February is for intermediate and advanced painters; Claire likes to stretch this group, and having two days, she is able to take your skills furthers, for example in previous classes we have spent time studying and painting buildings and people in more depth.

The other classes are for any level of artist, because we keep the groups small, Claire can give everyone individual attention.

The classes run from 9.30am - approx 3pm and cost £65. This includes all your materials, so you only need bring yourself. Lunch, a glass of wine and refrehsments throughout the day are also included.

To book please call me 01635 44850 or email via the website. www.treetops-newbury.co.uk

Gift Vouchers are available and make great presents for Christmas.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Winter Exhibition at Barn Acre Gallery

I must mention a fantastic Exhibition that is being held in Wargrave from Friday 20th November until Sunday 6th December. (10am - 6pm daily with late opening til 8pm on Thursdays and Fridays).

Kirsten Jones, has a perfect gallery by the river and will be showing a selection of paintings, prints, ceramics, jewellery, stained glass and quirky objects by over 50 artists.

I discovered Kirsten's great paintings whilst in St Ives, and then realised she was practically local! I love her style, perhaps because she uses alot of pink?!

I can really recommend a trip over to Wargrave, there are cakes and coffee (and chickens wandering!) and you will find so many Christmas presents and plenty of inspiration.

For directions and more details visit her website www.barnacregallery.co.uk

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Coastal Scenes - Watercolour

A brilliantly successful day! We had a full class of 8 yesterday, from beginners to experienced, and this included 5 different paintings being attempted, so Claire was kept on her toes!

We painted crashing rocks in St Ives, Coastal Path in Dorset, Perranporth Bay, a Hampshire beach and a harbour in Southern Ireland, quite a mix!

We mixed some lovely blues for the skies and seas, used plenty of masking fluid for our splashes and reflections and whether or not it was the topic itself it did create such a relaxing day.

Being a seaside day, we had to have fish for lunch and a scattering of seashells on the table!

Claire and I will shortly be deciding on our Spring 2010 dates, useful for both planning and thinking of Christmas Gift Vouchers. If you have any topics you would like to see covered, do email and let me know.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

An Autumn Update

Beautiful colours are appearing everywhere, this is my favourite colour in the garden at the moment, bright pink inbetween the oranges, browns and greens.

Classes are booking up quickly for the remainder of the term, so I thought I would let you know how many spaces are available on each one, as of today:

Friday 16 October - Coastal Scenes = FULL

Monday 16 November - Winter Scene = 2 spaces left

Friday 20 November - Christmas Aga = 6 spaces left

Tuesday 24 November - Winter Scene = 3 spaces left

Tuesday 1 December - Christmas Flowers = 4 spaces left

Wednesday 2 December - Christmas Flowers = 2 spaces left

Hope to see you soon!

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Watercolour Masterclass

Phew!! It was very stretching, this week's Masterclass. Claire was definitely pushing us to try new things and really tested our ability. There were quite a few moans and groans, stress and tension, but the beautiful sunshine and the large serving of Mary Berry's Divine White Chocolate Cheesecake definitely helped us!

The general idea of the two days, was painting dark into light, with negative painting included in that. We spent the first morning, pencilling our scene - a Market Place in France with "Mr and Mrs" eating their ice creams under a dark and shady stone archway.

The painting above shows where we were at after Day One; we had painted our first wash, windows, roof, archways etc. It all looked very soft and pale.

The painting below shows the finished painting. We spent Day 2, mixing a variety of dark browns, greens and creating blacks, to keep layering up our colour. The stone arch was actually bright orange to start with, which looked very scary! But we then put a dark glaze over the top and there was our stoney shade.

It was very hard to do the people, that is a class in itself I think!

Here is a row of the finished paintings, mounted, looking very professional. (If you click on the photographs, in theory they should appear larger in a new window on your computer).

Below is everyone hard at work! It was a great two days, we all left with a huge sense of achievement. Claire taught us so many new techniques and skills, we definitely felt we'd had a Masterclass!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

And we're off.....!

Term started today with a great Beginners Class, a landscape scene that covered 'first wash' with a beautiful sky.

Claire spends the first part of the morning, practicing with different colours, differing amounts of water and various brushes, to get everyone relaxed and itching to get started on their painting!

By 3pm there were 5 very good paintings by 5 new artists!

There are spaces available on Winter Scenes with Claire, on either Monday 16 November or Tuesday 24 November. Check the website for further details www.treetops-newbury.co.uk.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Almost Autumn Term .....

I hope you have all had a great summer. The sea featured quite often in mine; youngest son and I discovered fossils in Lyme Regis, we did get lucky but it involved being under heavy rain for four hours! (lovely B&B: www.nettlebanklymeregis.co.uk, thank you to Sue's tumble drier!)

We enjoyed the wide expanse of West Wittering, go early when the tide is out, it is fantastic, you can see across to the Isle of Wight, and walk along the beach to East Wittering to buy a sandwich. For tide times and a webcam of the beach visit www.2xs.co.uk/weather/

And my favourite .... St Ives. Colours as stunning as ever, despite the un-August weather and a 7 hour journey back!

Schools are ready to start again and the new term dates are out in the post. Until they reach you here they are:

Tuesday 22 September - Watercolour Art for Beginners
Tuesday 29 & Wednesday 30 September - Watercolour Art Masterclass
Friday 16 October - Coastal Scenes
Monday 16 November - Winter Scenes
Tuesday 24 November - Winter Scenes

Friday 20 November - Christmas Aga

Tuesday 1 December - Festive Flowers
Wednesday 2 December - Festive Flowers

Timings, prices and other details are on the website www.treetops-newbury.co.uk.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Happy Holiday

What a beautiful view! This is from a house we stayed in, in Worth Matravers, Dorset. We were just visiting for the weekend, and England being England, we had one heavy rainy foggy day, when we couldn't see the view, but the following morning the blue sky was out and we headed off down the 1 mile pathway to the sea.

We walked 6 miles along the coastal path, which was stunning.

It was this time last year, that Claire and I were planning our Seascapes Watercolour classes for September. On 16 October this year, we will be painting Coastal Scenes, so when you are out and about this Summer, take plenty of photographs to bring to the class, see the website for booking details.

(If you fancy waking up to the view above, our friend's house is now available to rent from www.dorsetcoastalcottages.com. Ref 3409. Gwyle House).

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Summer Cookery

The final class of term was delicious. Vanessa had some great ideas that were bright and summery as well as quick and easy to put together.

The Meringue ice cream was delicious, our other pudding was a Raspberry and Cinnamon Streusel Muffin Cake. We used the recipe to make muffins for taking home after the class, the crumbly topping with toasted hazelnuts was lovely.

We also had a wonderful bread, perfect scallops, more-ish thai salmon and pretty salads, served with a chilled Rose wine.

Have a great Summer, I will be emailing out Autumn dates shortly, if there are any you are interested to know more about just email me (emily@treetops-newbury.co.uk) or call 01635 44850. Some dates are on the website already: www.treetops-newbury.co.uk

Monday, 22 June 2009

Off to Uni - Student Cookery Classes

I will be running some Student Cookery classes over the summer holidays for 6th formers off to University.

They will be run as a one day class, to provide students with the skills and knowledge needed to help feed themselves away from home. It starts with basic culinary skills, food hygiene, useful equipment, delicious recipes and a great lunch of all the food cooked during the morning.

The dates are: Thursday 30 July, Tuesday 11 August and Friday 11 September.

Timings are: 10am until approximately 3pm

Cost: £55 - this includes all the ingredients, refreshments, lunch, recipes and information pack.

To book call me on 01635 44850.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Fantastic Flowers!

A very pink and summery day (despite the wet weather!).

Susanna did some stunning arrangements today, which as you can see had little twists, such as the peonies and marshmallow cube.

After the conditioning flowers tips and some demonstrating, it was everyone's turn to make something. There was a choice of cube or tall vase today, that could be covered in fabric, crepe paper, leaves or ribbon (Susanna told us she kept bits of ribbon, incase they came in useful, and then appeared with 3 tubs full!) Everyone attempted the hand-tied posy and understood the phrase 'all fingers and thumbs'!

We had peonies, roses, sweet smelling sweet peas, hydraengas and a variety of garden foliage.

After lunch and coffee, Susanna created the amazing strawberry centrepiece, it looked absolutely stunning.

Susanna will be back on Tuesday 1st and Wednesday 2nd December for Christmas Flowers.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Little Gems Watercolour Day

We had a great day today. The title was 'Little Gems'; Claire had us painting little pictures, as opposed to an all day painting. She had us thinking quickly, sometimes with no pencil sketch beforehand to produce little snapshot paintings.

Claire showed us her sketchbook, full of great little images of trees, flowers, animals, (great cats and chickens) and showed us that having a book of ideas helps you produce your masterpiece later on.

The weather was so gorgeous Claire had to hunt for artists in the grounds, and helped us with painting walls, putting in shadows, getting vibrancy of colour etc.

The kitchen was full of great little paintings at 3pm.

Lunch was delicious pork chops with a strawberry and balsamic glaze and a very summery Lemon Meringue Icecream Cake!

Monday, 1 June 2009

New Watercolour Dates!

Claire and I have got the new dates together for future Watercolour days, they are:

Tuesday 22 September - Art for Beginners
Tuesday 29 and Wednesday 30 September - Art Masterclass (for intermediates/advanced)
Friday 16 October - Coastal Scenes
Monday 16 November - Winter Scenes
Tuesday 24 November - Winter Scenes

The days run from 9.30am - approx 3pm, and cost £65. This includes all the materials, a 2 course lunch, glass of wine, refreshments and home made biscuits throughout the day.

Email me to reserve your place: emily@treetops-newbury.co.uk

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Baby Bambi

Look who was found in the woods at Treetops yesterday, curled up underneath youngest son's den. Aaaah!

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Flowers - Spaces available

Susanna is back with her buckets full of flowers and foliage on Wednesday 10th June (not 9th as shown on website).

This is an excellent day to come and learn a new skill, and take home something very impressive with you.

Susanna demonstrates a variety of ideas of ways to decorate your home this season. Using stunning seasonal flowers, including flowers and foliage from your garden, her arrangements can also include fruit and sweets! Last year Susanna made an amazing arrangement with red roses and strawberries.

During the day and over lunch, you will learn how to look after and condition your flowers as well as pick up loads of great flower industry top tips.

The day starts at 9.45am and finishes at approximately 2pm. A light lunch is included. The cost for the class is £75, this includes all your materials and flowers, lunch, a glass of wine and refreshments throughout the morning.