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A splash of colour on a grey winter weekend

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There is something utterly lovely about stepping through the door into the treasure trove that is both Alice Calcasola-vander List’s home and her business, All in One Season.  There are beautiful things literally everywhere — I don’t think there’s a surface that hasn’t got something lovely nestled on it — and, too, a warm welcome that includes a huge hug and a big mug of frothy coffee, Dutch-style.

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I’d heard all about the wildly popular ‘Winter House,’ when Alice fills her home with beautiful objects imported from Holland — as well as local craftspeople — and then invites everyone to come and shop for Christmas.  I’d managed to miss it last year (rats) so was properly thrilled when invited me to attend one of her workshops.  Love a good snoop around and wasn’t sure I could wait until December…

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Now, as you’ll likely now, I’m not the most creative and/or crafty sort.  I’m mostly thumbs, and I have to concentrate really hard if what I’m making doesn’t end up looking like something the kids brought home from school.  But Alice was having none of that.  She was so cheerfully convinced I was going to make something beautiful that — ta-da — I did!

We started off with a heart-shaped basket each, and some moss and oasis.  And we were aiming to make it look as utterly gorgeous as the flower-filled one that she’d made earlier.

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Where I started — and what I was aiming to reach

Alice is great, though.  She’s warm and welcoming, and oh-so-encouraging.  She talked me — and the rest of us — through every step of the way, and had us all relaxed and chatting while we did it.

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That’s me on the left: *feel* the concentration in that elbow….

Everywhere around you are beautiful things, and the materials to make even more beautiful things.  And as a very grey day turned into a very rainy evening, we each produced our own version of the heart-shaped arrangement we were aiming at.  Same flowers, same idea, but different results.

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I was amazed at what I produced — can you tell…?

Alice runs workshops all year.  This one was aimed at Valentine’s Day and the workshop in the morning had included one man — a builder — who made a heart-shaped arrangement for his partner.  Imagine her surprise when he produced that in the morning!  (Take note, Mr C…)

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Honestly, Alice smiles *all* the time…

There’s a bit of deal on her Mother’s Day workshops coming up.  The workshops are normally £75, which includes all the materials and tutition.  But if two of you book in together — maybe you and your mum, you and your child (13 or over works best), or you and a sibling or friend — it’s just £110 for the two of you.  And there’ll be summer ones, Halloween ones, Christmas ones, you name it.  As you’d expect from the name — All in One Season — it’s all about thinking seasonally, using what’s available, and changing through the year.  You can also give the workshops as gifts — they have vouchers available — or book in a whole group of you for something more bespoke.  She’s got a hen do coming up, and does children’s parties along the same lines.

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No, I’m not crafty or design-clever like Alice.  But I did really enjoy the workshop — as did the other women who were doing it with me and who were all lovely.  There’s a great feel about the whole place.  The workshop, the house, the people, the welcome, the coffee, the lot — and I can’t wait to get back there again.

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