A birthday experience as a more unusual gift

March 23, 2018

This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.

Giving birthday gifts gets more difficult as we get older as most of us don’t want more ‘stuff’. So if you want to shine as a gift giver to someone who means a lot to you then give them a Birthday Experience. This has a double reward as, in most cases, you get to share the experience with them and you therefore have some quality time together.


Birthday Experience / Cocktail making at the Thyme Hotel / Annabel and Grace

Cocktail making at The Thyme Hotel with Robin

So when a friend of mine and I discovered that both his wife and my husband shared a desire to learn how to make cocktails and, coincidentally, their birthdays are a day apart we felt it was meant to be. After lots of research we made the decision to go to a hotel in the country rather than London for our Cocktail Making Course. My husband and I had stayed at The Thyme Hotel (near Burford) before and loved everything about it so when I looked at the list of courses that they offer and found a cocktail making one we were all thrilled. There were just the four of us on this course as the hotel has only been open since 2017 so it is still an undiscovered secret. The course was for two hours with their head barman, Robin Stransky, who was so knowledgeable and gave us many of the background stories of each of the cocktails. We got to make our own and drink them afterwards which was dangerous! We had a really happy time and we were given a goodie bag with an information book with all the recipes and what is needed to make a good cocktail. It also included some bayleaf syrup that Robin had made and a vital ingredient for a Bay Leaf & Lime Fleece. As soon as rhubarb appears I am going to make some Rhubarb and Ginger Shrub which tastes so good with gin or vodka, and tonic, or for a non-alcoholic version with Seedlip. Thyme Hotel also run bread-making courses which are for a whole day (10am – 4pm) and we thought this would make a great gift and not quite as expensive as you don’t have to stay overnight due to the lack of alcohol! Click HERE for further information of The Thyme Hotel extensive range of courses.

Birthday Experience / The Fabulous Baker Bros at Hobbs Bakery / Annabel and Grace

The Fabulous Baker Brothers of Hobbs Bakery

Hobbs Bakery (Chipping Sodbury near Bristol) owned by the Fabulous Baker Brothers, Tom and Henry Herbert, are specialist bread bakers and run day courses including kids cookery courses. They have a family baking day – ‘From Pittas to Pizzas’ – which allows one adult and one child. A great gift for a Granny to a grandchild. They also have courses in bread-making, pie-making and one for cakes and pastries. One of the reviewers say that they learned more in the first half an hour than they have on all other cookery courses. Who wouldn’t want to enjoy a birthday experience and spend a day with one of the Baker Brothers? Click HERE to find out more.

Birthday Experience / Knife skills at Les Atelier des chefs / Annabel and GraceIf you are living in or near London then have a look at L’Atelier des Chefs, which has a huge variety of courses in both Oxford Circus and near St. Paul’s. One of our contributors went to their macaroon making course and thoroughly enjoyed it. Grace and I are keen to do the Knife skills course as I always admire the chefs chopping vegetables into perfect shapes and all without spilling a drop of blood! Click HERE to view the whole list of courses. If you want to see a more detailed review, read Bumble’s blog on Macaroon making –

Macaroons anyone?

Birthday Experience / Learning to dance at Swing Patrol / Annabel and GraceMy next gift to my OH is a Dance in a day course. We love to Jive but have a limited number of moves so this could be the answer. Based in Brighton, Swing Patrol, have all the moves and guarantee that they will turn two left feet into those of a dancer. The next day course is on Sunday, 29th April so see you there as I am booking up now. They also have regular Jump ‘N Jive sessions in High St. Kensington as well as many other venues across the city. Click HERE for further information.

If you want to be even more adventurous then how about a Golden Age Spanish Course in Malaga. It is a week in length and apart from Spanish lessons there are organised trips. The course has good reviews and apparently learning another language all helps to keep Dementia at bay. Click HERE for the course.

Finally if you have friends who are theatre lovers then a Theatre ticket gift voucher will not only thrill them but will also inspire them to book an outing. There are so many good plays and musicals onBirthday Experience / ATG theatre gift voucher / Annabel and Grace both in London and around the country. Click HERE for further details on all the shows that ATG have

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