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Art News & Views

Phyllis Oberman

 By Phyllis Oberman, Art Aficionado

East and West

The William Morris Gallery in east London is host to an unusual exhibition combining the talents of the Royal Academician Frank Brangwyn( 1857 - 1956) with his fascination for Japanese art and the artist Yoshijiro Urushibara (1888 – 1953) in particular.

Yoshijiro Urushibara, The Pines, 1928

              Yoshijiro Urushibara
                 The Pines, 1928

Sheer Pleasure – Frank Brangwyn and the Art of Japan continues until 14th May, 2017. This exhibition marks the 150th anniversary of Brangwyn's birth. Brangwyn collected Japanese paintings, prints, furniture and ceramics and many of these are on show.

In fact, he was a pupil of the great William Morris for a few years in the 1880's and later was a founder of The William Morris Gallery now owned and run by Waltham Forest Council. Brangwyn donated a large part of his Japanese collection to the Gallery.

Frank Brangwyn, The Last of HMS Britannia, 1917

          Frank Brangwyn, The Last
             of HMS Britannia, 1917

The exhibition tells how Brangwyn and Urushibara met in London in the 1910's and collaborated to make prints in the Japanese style. A Japanese art collector, Kojiro Matsukata became a good friend and patron of Brangwyn.

Other leading Japanese artists' work from his collection include pictures by Japanese masters, Hiroshige and Hokusai. Some of Brangwyn's own work on show indicates the influence of the Japanese artists and artistic styles that he encountered.

Katsushika Hokusai, Simplified View, Tago beach near Ejiri on the Tokaido Highway

      Katsushika Hokusai, Simplified
         View, Tago beach near Ejiri
            on the Tokaido Highway

(All three images are ©William Morris Gallery, Waltham Forest Council)

Further information can be obtained from

Entry is free.

Eastbourne's Collection

The Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne has an intriguing exhibition, The Museum of Art until 17th April, 2017. This show uses the Towner's own collection to describe the taste for art in the Victorian period contrasting it with work from more recent and contemporary artists.

Giovanni Battista Lombardi, The Veiled Lady

        Giovanni Battista Lombardi
             The Veiled Lady, 1869
            The Towner Collection

The Towner's history goes back to 1920 when a local Alderman, John Chisholm Towner, bequeathed 22 pictures to the people of Eastbourne with sufficient funds to set up an art gallery.

In 2009 the new Towner was opened in a much more spacious modern gallery that included the essential features of a cafe and gallery shop. Since the original bequest many other artworks have been donated to the gallery and their full collection now totals 4500 works.

Alfred Wallis, Steamer

        Alfred Wallis, Steamer, circa
         1922-42 Towner Collection

Entry to the exhibition is free and further details can be obtained from the website at

Impressionists 'Down Under'

Think of Impressionism and Paris France towards the end of the 1800's comes to mind with images of Monet's Water Lillies or Degas' little ballet dancers. However, an exhibition at The National Gallery in London literally turns that thought upside down.

Australia's Impressionists tells the story of a group of Antipodean artists whose work has not been seen before in Britain. This show continues only until 26th March.

Coogee Bay, 1888, by Charles Conder

      Coogee Bay, 1888, by Charles
          Conder © National Gallery
               of Victoria, Melbourne

Four of these Australians were very much the leaders of this artistic movement and all had at one time visited Europe and Paris where they saw the Impressionists' work.

One of the group however, John Russell, born in Sydney, actually studied and spent 40 years in Europe where he later became a good friend of Vincent Van Gogh.

A Clearing in the Forest by John Russell

      A Clearing in the Forest, 1891
        by John Russell, Art Gallery
              of South Australia

The other featured painters found satisfaction in applying Impressionist principles of painting outdoors (as opposed to entirely in the studio) using the techniques of short brushstrokes to reflect the extraordinary light and colour of the Australian landscape.

Concessionary tickets are available and further details can be found at on the website at


Rex Whistler was a very talented British artist, famous for painting murals, who died tragically in 1944 on active service in World War Two. At The National Trust's Mottisfont in Hampshire until 23rd April, a comprehensive exhibition Rex Whistler: More than Murals shows how versatile this somewhat overlooked artist was.

In the 1920's he mixed with the 'bright young things' and painted portraits of Noel Coward and Edith Sitwell; he designed stage sets for opera, theatre and ballet and created illustrations for over one hundred books. His fine portraits of friends included oil studies of his lover, Lady Caroline Paget , whose home Mottisfont then was.

Rex Whistler, Self Portrait

          Rex Whistler, Self Portrait

At Mottisfont he created wall paintings for the then owner's drawing room. This was his last commission before leaving for service in France from which he did not return.

Whistler also painted murals for Plas Newydd in Llangollen and Tate Britain in London.

Lady Caroline Paget

               Lady Caroline Paget

Entrance to the exhibition is free, but admission to Mottisfont and its riverside gardens is chargeable except for National Trust members.

Full details can be found on the website at

Chinese Works Debut in Cardiff

A collaboration between The National Museum of Wales and China's Three Gorges Museum in Chongqing brings to Britain a treasured collection of paintings never before seen outside the People's Republic of China.

Huang Shanshou, Phoenix and Peony, Three Gorges Museum, Chongqing

        Huang Shanshou, Phoenix
          and Peony, Three Gorges
               Museum, Chongqing

Nature's Song: Chinese Bird and Flower Paintings comes to Cardiff and will be on show until 23rd April, 2017. The collection on display goes back to the Ming dynasty of the late 16th Century and up to recent decades.

Some works were scrolls intended for wall hanging, others for viewing flat on a surface and also includes fans.

Chinese Realist painting of a Peony

Chinese Realist painting of a Peony

Historically those who created many of the paintings were also scholars and poets and the pictures symbolised meanings understood by those viewing them with poetic calligraphy taking equal importance.

 Golden Pheasant, collected by Three Gorges Museum People's Republic of China

       Golden Pheasant, collected
         by Three Gorges Museum
       People's Republic of China

Entry to the Museum and exhibition is free and full information is available from the website at

Dust Bowl Memories

The Great Depression in 1930's America, following the Wall Street Crash of 1929, revives memories of long dole queues, Bing Crosby singing “Buddy Can You Spare a Dime” and John Steinbeck's great novel, later film and stage play, “Of Mice and Men”. Most forms of the arts in the USA reflected this turbulent time of social protest.

Now the Royal Academy in London presents America After the Fall: Painting in the 1930's. This exhibition continuing until 4th June, 2017, features some of the most prominent American artists of the time.

One iconic picture never displayed in Britain before says it all; American Gothic by Grant Wood is a haunting depiction of a farming couple in the backwoods whose faces reflect their hopelessness at the lack of crops during the Dust Bowl (drought).

Grant Wood, American Gothic

Grant Wood, American Gothic, 1930
       The Art Institute of Chicago
     Friends of American Art 1930

American artists of the period tried to express the devastation in the country and the towns using a variety of styles and approaches.

The show is divided into six themes covering Industrial Life, Urban Life, Looking to the Past, Country Life, Visions of Dystopia and Looking to the Future.

Edward Hopper, New York Movie

  Edward Hopper, New York Movie,
    1939. Collection of Museum of
             Modern Art, New York
  Given anonymously, 1941/ © 2017

Edward Hopper's paintings in the '30's were notable for their expressions of loneliness and sparse landscapes.

This painting above also tells of a search to escape the harsh realities of life into the Hollywood movie and the American Dream

Pat Whalen by Alice Neel

     Pat Whalen, 1935 by Alice Neel
     Collection of Whitney Museum
         of American Art, New York
             Gift of  Dr. Hartley Neel
         © The Estate of Alice Neel

Concessionary tickets are available and Royal Academy members have free entry. For details visit

Artistic and Literary Hub

The Bloomsbury Group comprised a small number of artists, writers, critics that was considered influential in their fields in the first half of the 1900's. The informal group's name related to where they lived in London though it followed them to other locations such as Sussex.

A prominent member was the artist Vanessa Bell (1879-1961) whose work is the focus of a major exhibition at The Dulwich Picture Gallery in South London that continues until 4th June, 2017.

Vanessa Bell, Self Portrait

    Vanessa Bell, Self Portrait, circa
    1915, Yale Centre for British Art
       © The Estate of Vanessa Bell
       courtesy of Henrietta Garnett

Vanessa Bell was the sister of writer Virginia Woolf and was closely involved with other group members, notably artist Duncan Grant and art critic Clive Bell, whom she married in 1907.

This multi-faceted and unconventional group often collaborated together notably in designing and producing fabrics, ceramics and furniture, blurring the distinction between fine art and applied or decorative art.

Vanessa Bell, Landscape with Haystack

    Vanessa Bell, Landscape with
        Haystack, Asheham, 1912
     Smith College Museum of Art,
     Northampton, Massachusetts
    © The Estate of Vanessa Bell
      courtesy of Henrietta Garnett

Her contribution to 20th Century art was modern and inspired by other British and continental artists and also expressed her own ideas about being an emancipated woman. She focused on portraits, landscapes and still life and though she experimented with abstract art, reverted to more representational work.

Another Bloomsbury group member and close friend, Roger Fry, the artist and critic, arranged the first-ever exhibition in London of French post-Impressionist art in 1910. This show and a second two years later included Bell's own work alongside that of Matisse and Picasso. Both shows held in London impacted on British contemporary artists.

Vanessa Bell, The Other Room

     Vanessa Bell, The Other Room
       late 1930's, Private Collection
        © The Estate of Vanessa Bell
      courtesy of Henrietta Garnett

Concessionary tickets are available and further information, including details of talks and events can be found on the website at

Dutch Dynasty

Bruegel: Defining a Dynasty is a new exhibition at The Holburne Museum in Bath and tells an intriguing tale of this family through four generations over 150 years during the 1500's and 1600's of the Netherlandish Renaissance.

This is the UK's first show devoted to the Bruegel family.

Jan Brueghel the Elder, A Stoneware Vase of Flowers

           Jan Brueghel the Elder
     A Stoneware Vase of Flowers

The most highly regarded of this dynasty was Pieter Bruegel, The Elder, whose paintings of country landscapes and scenes crowded with peasants in colourful costumes are instantly recognisable.

His sons and direct descendants carried on this tradition, though some works were seen as less appealing copies of the originals.

Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Visit to a Farmhouse

        Pieter Brueghel the Younger
      Visit to a Farmhouse, 1620-30
           © The Holburne Museum

One interesting picture, Wedding Dance in the Open Air from The Holburne's own collection has only recently, after conservation and technical examination, been firmly attributed to Pieter Brueghel, The Younger.

Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Wedding Dance in the Open Air

       Pieter Brueghel the Younger
   Wedding Dance in the Open Air
1607-1614 © The Holburne Museum

This show continues until 4th June, 2017 and there are concessionary tickets available.

For details visit

Art in Brief

The Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle upon Tyne, is showing Modern Visionaries: Van Dyck and the Artists' Eye until 4th June. This exhibition contrasts Van Dyck's last self-portrait with portraits and self-portraits by Picasso, L S Lowry, Francis Bacon plus contemporary artists working now.

Entry is free and more information is available from

The Museum of London Docklands has a free exhibition of a selection of archeological items discovered during the building of London's newest railway, Crossrail. Over 10,000 items have been found covering 8,000 years of history.

The show also depicts the story of the building of Crossrail – the largest infrastructure project currently in progress in Europe. The exhibition continues until the 3rd September, 2017.

For further information about the exhibition click on

Favourite Gallery or Museum

If you have a favourite local art gallery or museum that you would like to share with Sixtyplusurfers readers, please send the details to Phyllis Oberman care of Sixtyplusurfers to:

Please mark your email favourite art gallery and museum for Phyllis Oberman's column.

Crafts & Hobbies

The Great British Sewing Bee Live


Patrick Grant and Esme Young

         Patrick Grant and Esme Young

If you’ve been inspired by The Great British Sewing Bee, you are going to love the UK’s biggest, most exciting new dressmaking event. Upper Street Events and Love Productions are proud to announce the launch of The Great British Sewing Bee Live, which takes place from 21st-24th September 2017 at ExCel London.

This unique new event is a must for everyone with a passion for dressmaking, tailoring, fashion and textiles, from professionals to complete beginners.

Features include:

· The Great British Sewing Bee Live Super Theatre featuring Patrick Grant and Esme Young.

· 250+ workshops and demonstrations by GBSB contestants and other top stitch tutors.
· Dressmaking drop-in clinics.

· A make-at-home fashion catwalk.
· Garment and vintage galleries
· 200+ dressmaking and sewing suppliers.

Designer and Sewing Bee judge Esme Young says, “Whether you’re a professional tailor or hobby dressmaker, fashion student or vintage fan, there’s something for everyone with a love of sewing, and even compete beginners keen to give it a go. We hope visitors will leave the show inspired and full of ideas for their next dressmaking project. ”

Tickets for The Great British Sewing Bee Live go on sale in March 2017.

Follow The Great British Sewing Bee Live on
Facebook and Twitter

About the event

The Great British Sewing Bee Live is a brand new live event from Upper Street Events. It brings together everyone with a passion for dressmaking tailoring, fashion and textiles.

The event features judges and contestants from the TV series, a Super Theatre, workshops and demonstrations, drop-in clinics, fashion shows, garment galleries and over 200 dressmaking and sewing suppliers. The Great British Sewing Bee Live takes place from 21st-24th September 2017 at ExCel

For more information please visit the website at

Urban Beekeeping Workshops at
St. Ermin's Hotel

Urban Beekeeping Workshops at St Ermin's Hotel, London

The St Ermin's Hotel, Westminster home to over 350,00 Buckfast Honeybees, is holding a series of taster urban beekeeping workshops during the Chelsea Fringe led by bee guru, Camilla Goddard of Capital Bee. The popular workshops are held around the hotels six hives and will take place on Saturday 29th April, 6th 13th and 27th May 2017 – with further dates to be added during the hotel's September Honey Month.

The 2.5-hour workshops outline the complexities of bee society and beehaviour; highlight the close relationship between bees and flowers and give guidance on what to plant, when and where and how best to site hives in gardens or allotments. Participants also visit London's first 'Bee & Bee' hotel on the hotel's third floor bee terrace to get real hands-on experience handling bees, managing their hives and collecting raw honey.

The St Ermin's hives produce on average 25lb of honey each year

“The St Ermin's six active hives are doing well again this year, producing on average 25lb of honey each year, helped by the fantastic range of flora in the surrounding royal gardens and parks. London's only Bee & B at the hotel is also doing well, providing a welcoming stopover for solitary bees and a host of other friendly creepy crawlies!” Said Camilla Goddard, Capital Bee

As well as their continued support for London's growing Urban Beekeeping movement, the St. Ermin's Hotel has also recently installed its very own Roof Kitchen Garden. Featuring plenty of bee-friendly plants for the colony to utilise, the new working area also features greenhouses and space to grow fresh, fruits, vegetables and herbs for use in the Hotel's signature restaurant, The Caxton Grill. The home-grown produce will be used throughout new Executive Head Chef, Alexander Boyd's outstanding seasonal menus – which also feature sweet hints of St. Ermin's Honey throughout.

The St Ermin's Hotel, London

The bee terrace is an outdoor terrace planted with indigenous, bee friendly plants, housing four hives and London's only 'Bee & Bee' hotel. Hotel guests are able to view the bees through glass walls on the third floor walkway corridor. All workshop participants are provided with full bee keeping suits and gloves.

St Ermin's Hotel is located just around the corner from St James' Park tube, London – minutes from Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament.

For more information about St Ermin's Hotel click on

    Plan a Stunning
    Literary Escape
   with HF Holidays

Abingworth Hall

This year marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's death and the 125th anniversary of the first publication of a Sherlock Holmes novel, to name just two. In celebration of the Year of Literary Heroes, HF Holidays has created a list of inspired getaways.

A Creative Escape: Artists and Writers in Cornwall

To say that Cornwall has been a constant source of inspiration for the arts is an understatement: the county is brimming with art galleries, studios, museums and creative landmarks. Visit Barbara Hepworth’s studio at St Ives, the home of Daphne du Maurier at the Fowey Estuary and Charlestown, where Poldark was filmed. A 7-night stay is from £889 (full board) at HF Holiday’s own Cornish country house Chy Morvah. Departing on 29th April.

Explore the World of Jane Austen

On the 200th anniversary of her death, explore some of the places where Jane Austen lived and wrote some of her most popular novels. Stay for 4 nights at gorgeous Abingworth Hall, visit her home at Chawton and listen to a dramatic reading from Emma at Box Hill. Book your 4 night stay with HF Holidays, full board from £615, departing on the 1st of May.

Dive into the Literary Lake District

Coniston Water

The Lake District is positively brimming with literary prowess: Beatrix Potter, William Wordsworth and John Ruskin all called it their home at one time. Join HF Holidays as we visit all three locations, learning about their respective work and taking in the beautiful surroundings of Monk Coniston, the National Trust-owned country house. Departing June 10th, 4 nights from £579 (full board).

Much ado about Shakespeare’s Way

Follow Shakespeare from magnificent Oxford to iconic Stratford through lovely Oxfordshire and Cotswold countryside. Discover historic Blenheim Park and delightful Cotswold towns and villages such as Chipping Norton and Halford. Naturally, the journey ends at Stratford-upon-Avon, visiting Holy Trinity Church. HF Holidays offers a 7-night break for £769 (full board), leaving on the 29th of September.

Places are limited on these holidays so book now to avoid disappointment. For more information on HF Holidays, please visit 

Or call 0345 470 7558.

  Chilterns Walking
    Festival in May

Chilterns Walking Festival

New for 2017, the Chilterns Walking Festival invites experienced and novice walkers alike to explore the landscapes, locations and legends of The Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The spring festival runs from 15th – 29th May and promises an exciting programme of walks, activities and special events.

Highlights from the first spring festival programme so far include:

· An Ancient Feast walk, including a recreated Iron-Age menu.

· Guided walking tours of Henley's Midsomer Murders filmed locations, bringing to life various plotlines and 'stand in their shoes' activities.

· Leisurely days of countryside cycling on an Electric Bike Tour, combined with afternoon tea in a Chilterns vineyard setting.

· Woodland walks around Chalfont where participants explore the outdoor arts of bushcraft, foraging and bread-making.

· Nordic Walking events.

· A walk along the Ridgeway National Trail taking in the landscapes and places painted by John Nash.

Chilterns Walking Festival

Annette Venters of the Chilterns Conservation Board says, “We are tremendously excited to launch the Chilterns Walking Festival. Enthusiastic local guides and walk leaders will be sharing their passion for the Chilterns countryside, attractions and heritage sites, and helping people to explore new areas, try new activities and taste local produce”.

For details about the Chilterns Walking Festival go to 

Or find updates and news Facebook at

 Entangled Threads
       and Making

Entangled: Threads & Making at the Turner Contemporary in Margate

Entangled: Threads & Making, a new exhibition at the Turner Contemporary in Margate, brings together over 40 international artists from several generations who explore a diverse range of materials and techniques. All the artists in the exhibition share an intense curiosity about their chosen materials – from the traditional to the unexpected – and embrace the act of making by hand.

Entangled is curated by writer and critic Karen Wright, who was fascinated by the making processes she observed during visits to contemporary artists’ studios. These visits gave rise to the idea for an exhibition tracing the impact of 20th century pioneers of tapestry and textiles on artists working today. Quickly evolving into an all-woman line up, the selection of artists reflects a vibrant tendency in contemporary art-making by women in which experimentation with materials is central.

Victoria Pomery OBE, Turner Contemporary Director, comments, “At a time when women’s rights across the world are under threat, this is an extremely timely exhibition. Inventive, curious and experimental, all of the artists in this exhibition demonstrate innovation and creativity. The pioneering steps taken by several of the 20th century women artists in this exhibition have had huge influence on the work of successive generations, allowing contemporary artists to challenge boundaries even further.”

In the exhibition, Anni Albers and Hannah Ryggen, whose radical approaches to weaving in the early-20th century remain a source of inspiration for artists today, are shown alongside younger artists playing with the traditions of tapestry such as Ann Cathrin November Høibo and Caroline Achaintre.

New pieces made especially for the exhibition include Anna Ray’s striking Margate Knot (2017) – a site-specific work produced by Ray and a host of local Margate makers; and an installation by Samara Scott in the museum’s lift that uses a combination of carpet, food colouring and yoghurt to entirely its walls, creating an immersive and, in the words of the artist, “overwhelming experience” for visitors to get in and up close to.

Other stand out pieces include Kiki Smith’s narrative tapestry Sky (2012); thread terror (2016), a vast new cedar sculpture made especially for Entangled by Ursula Von Rydingsvard; and Hand (2001), an iconic work by Louise Bourgeois.

Describing the influence of Louise Bourgeois on the generations of artists who have come since, Frances Morris stated: “she was digging around at the point where mainstream met what could never at that time have been conceived of as art. We are now discovering that this is a fruitful place to look at creativity and innovation…. She redefined every engagement with the canon.”

Debates in 20th century art history have raised questions about the idea of a ‘feminine aesthetic’. Although using methods traditionally associated with ‘craft’ and ‘women’s work’, many of the artists in Entangled: Threads & Making, notably Eva Hesse and Louise Bourgeois, did not consider their work in terms of gender, with Hesse famously stating “excellence has no sex”. Nevertheless, the exhibition highlights women artists who have experimented and innovated through their approach to making and materials and who have frequently draw on the rich traditions of handwork and craft to create artworks that challenge established distinctions between fine and applied art.

Writing in an essay for the exhibition catalogue, the novelist Siri Hustvedt cautions of “a political moment when open misogyny has found a loud voice in American politics, when fantasies about the feminine Other have a renewed, contagious power, and a populist rhetoric of fury and fear have come to fascinate millions with a glamorous, if bitter, attraction….

When a woman lifts a brush to canvas or chips away at stone, builds or weaves an object or installation or dreams up a conceptual work, the resulting thing is not seen as an expression of the human condition but rather of woman’s second place in the culture as more physical than mental.”

Entangled: Threads & Making runs from now until 7th May 2017 at the Turner Contemporary, Margate. Admission is free.


For more information about the exhibition visit

 Upstairs, Downstairs
    & Behind Closed
   Doors at Blenheim

Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace has opened its Private Apartments to the public for 2017, offering visitors an intimate look at Marlborough family life in three exciting tours.

Until 30th October, visitors will have the exclusive opportunity to explore the East Side of the Palace; the Duke of Marlborough's Private Apartments. Discover the opulence of the rooms in which the Marlborough family have lived for generations, and learn about family life at Blenheim Palace.

Duke's Floor Tours

The intimate tour begins with climbing the Main Stairs and peeking into the Dressing Room and through the Duke's Corridor. Taking visitors on an intimate tour of family life, visitors will view the Master Bedroom and Dining Room. Visitors will enjoy seeing the Sitting Room where His Grace and family relax and mixes priceless heirlooms with modern technology.

Walking through the Bar Area, visitors will be led to the Smoking Room which contains full size tapestries from the Alexandra the Great series which were commissioned by the 1st Duke.

In the extended tour, running at 10.45am and 1.25pm, visitors will also be taken around the Grand Cabinet, a room full of opulent history and family heirlooms. The Visitor's Book will also be on display, turned to the page of Clementine Hozier and Sir Winston Churchill.

The signatures are dated directly after the meal that followed their engagement at the Temple of Diana in Blenheim Palace's parkland. On the same page visitors can see Clementine's signature from the first time that she returned to the palace after her marriage.

Upstairs Tour

The 'Upstairs' Tour takes visitors on an exclusive tour of the Blenheim Palace Guest Rooms

The 'Upstairs' Tour takes visitors on an exclusive tour of the Blenheim Palace Guest Rooms, none of which have been open to the public before. Previous guests have included Queen Mary, King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson, as well as Cecil Beaton and Yves Saint Lauren.

Visitors will also see family rooms such as the Blandford Bedroom, the Sunderland Dressing Room and Bachelors' Row in the tour which includes secret corridors, interlinking doors and spiral staircases.

Downstairs Tour

Find out about the bell system at Blenheim Palace

Servants were essential to the aristocratic way of life. It would have been completely impossible for the family to take care of themselves, to manage the house, look after the children and let alone host a fancy dinner party, without the help of servants.

The 4th Duke had the largest retinue of servants and the number increased each time his wife had a baby. At its largest there were 102 servants to look after the family. However during times of austerity, and particularly during World War I, a handful of staff valiantly managed the Palace, Estate and a temporary convalescence hospital.

The iconic bell system at Blenheim Palace

Visitors will wander through the network of corridors, see the iconic bell system and learn the gossip and perks of the job from the staff's point of view.

Guests must book at the Welcome Desk or Great Hall on the day; Palace, Park and Gardens ticket is also required.

Tours are £5.00 Adult & £4.50 Concession + Palace, Park & Gardens ticket Adult £24.90, Concession £20.90.

Blenheim Palace

The guided tours each last approximately 45 minutes and will run daily at regular intervals between 10:30-17:00. Guests must book at the Welcome Desk or Great Hall on the day. Palace, Park and Gardens ticket is required and additional charges per tour do apply.

Please note that Upstairs and Downstairs routes may be subject to change.

Tours will not be running on the following dates, 14th-19th June, 2nd-6th August, 13th-18th September and 11th-15th October.

Regular visitors can also take advantage of an Annual Pass - Buy One Day, Get 12 Months Free*

Donate your Palace, Park and Gardens admission on arrival to claim a free Annual Pass. Enjoy entry to this World Heritage Site throughout the year for the price of one day, plus exclusive member benefits.

For more information about Blenheim Palace visit

   Memories for Mum

Scrapbook from Hobbycraft

This Mother's Day surprise your mum with a scrapbook filled with beautiful memories.

Fill the blank pages with colour and keepsakes by including pictures of you together, things you've collected over the years and then adding Washi tape and embellishments for decoration.

Washi Tape from Hobbycraft

Hobbycraft has over 50 scrapbooks to choose from starting at just £2.50 and with hundreds of embellishments, toppers and stickers, you'll be able to create something personalised that your mum will love.

Handmade Stick-On Decorations from Hobbycraft

For more information about Hobbycraft click on

      Mother's Day Recipe

       Big Jammy

Big Jammy Dodgers

These delicious Jammy Dodgers are the perfect treat for Mother's Day, they also make a really special teatime treat.

This delicious recipe has been created by Waitrose.


· 225g unsalted butter, at room temperature
· 125g icing sugar plus extra for dusting
· 1 x ½ tsp vanilla extract
· 2 medium egg yolks
· 300g plain flour
· 150g essential Waitrose Seedless Raspberry Jam


Using an electric whisk, beat the butter and sugar together until pale and softened. Add the vanilla, egg yolks and flour and continue to whisk together to make a soft dough. Wrap in clingfilm for 1-2 hours until firm.

2. Heat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out half the dough to the thickness of a pound coin. Using a 7.5cm cutter, stamp out 12 circles. Using a small cutter (try a 2cm circle or a heart or star shape), stamp out the centre of each biscuit. Place on a large, lined baking sheet.

3. Add any trimmings to the rest of the dough then roll out and use to make a further 12 rounds. Place on a second large, lined baking sheet. Bake the biscuits for 10–12 minutes until pale golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool and firm up on the baking sheets.

4. Place a large teaspoonful of jam in the centre of the base biscuits and spread out a little. Press on the top biscuits and dust with a little more icing sugar, to serve.

Preparation time: 20 minutes plus chilling

Cooking time: 12 minutes

Total time: 32 minutes plus chilling

Makes: 12

For more information and other delicious recipes click on

    Sixtyplusurfers Competition

      Win a Signed
    Colouring Book
  and STABILO Pens

The Whimsical Fashion Colouring Book by Natasha Itzcovitz

Sixtyplusurfers has teamed up with Natasha Itzcovitz and STABILO to offer one lucky reader the chance to win a personally signed copy of The Whimsical Fashion Colouring Book and a
STABILO Limited Edition Fan Rollerset of 25 pens.

Release your inner fashionista and get creating with The Whimsical Fashion Colouring Book by Natasha Itzcovitz. This stunning colouring book includes 100 beautiful hand-drawn fashion illustrations to spark the imagination of everyone who enjoys fashion, history, style, and fun to colour in pictures.

Having graduated with a degree in Fashion Design, Natasha has created a world of crazy and wacky outfits that follow fashion through the ages, from famous icons such as Jane Austen and Mary Antoinette, to more contemporary styles including boho chic and hipster street designs.

Jane Austen inspired lady by Natasha Itzcovitz

The Whimsical Fashion Colouring Book invites you to discover your inner fashionista and create fabulous outfits no matter what your style.

"Adult colouring books are so much fun and this is a great way for people to see my designs and ideas, some of which I've never had a chance to design but have always wanted to share," explains author, Natasha Itzcovitz.

The Whimsical Fashion Colouring Book is published by Troubador. Price is £8.99.

For more information about the book and to buy your copy click on

The colouring book is also available to buy from 

Win a STABILO Limited Edition Fan Rollerset

Our fabulous prize also includes a STABILO Limited Edition Fan Rollerset which is ideal teamed up with this great colouring book, perfect for taking with you on the go, or all the family to use at home!

The STABILO Limited Edition Fan Rollerset is a set of 25 of STABILO’s trusty pens, meaning you have every shade you would ever need.

STABILO Limited Edition Fan Rollerset

The pens are encased in a cool, bright, jazzy patterned wrap with a Velcro fastening and a zip section for any other pens or pencils you may want with you.

For further information please visit the website at

   For Your Chance to Win

Tell us what object is the Jane Austen inspired character holding in the colouring book picture shown in this article?

    a) A fan
    b) A book
    c) A tea cup
    d) An umbrella

  To Enter the Competition

Tell us what object is the Jane Austen inspired character holding in the colouring book picture shown in this article? Then send in your answer together with your full name, postal address and telephone number to the Sixtyplusurfers email address
as shown below:

* Please label your entry Natasha
Colouring Book and
Stabilo Pens Competition

* This competition is open to our
UK readers only


  Mother's Day Craft Project

   Rose Gold Frame
        and Vase

Make a Rose Gold Frame and Vase with PlastiKote

Introducing the latest addition to the PlastiKote family - Rose Gold! It's THE metallic of the moment and this spray paint makes it easy to add a Rose Gold accent to any room.

Spray frames, vases, lamp stands, almost anything! Available in 100ml or 400ml cans, it's an affordable way to keep up with the trend.

Use PlastiKote Rose Gold to make this stunning Frame and Vase, the perfect gift for Mother's Day.

You will need

You will need a plain vase and frame, these can be bought from Hobbycraft

· Vase and frame (we got ours from Hobbycraft)
· Dust sheets/newspaper
· Masking tape
· PlastiKote Metallic in Rose Gold

How to decorate the frame and vase

1. Spread newspaper/dust sheets out in a well-ventilated working area or preferably outside.

2. Mask the areas of the vase and frame that you don’t want to be sprayed using the masking tape and newspaper.

Rose Gold Metallic spray paint

3. Following instructions on the can, spray the unmasked areas of the vase and the frame with the Rose Gold Metallic spray paint.

Rose Gold Metallic spray paint

4. Allow to dry. They will be touch dry in 30-50 minutes and thoroughly dry in 2-3 hours.

5. When completely dry, removed the masking tape.

6. Add a photo to the frame, flowers in the vase and put pride of place in your home!

NB -  Always follow instructions on the can.

Stockist Information

PlastiKote Metallic in Rose Gold

PlastiKote Metallic in Rose Gold – RRP £8.83 for a 400ml can

PlastiKote Fast Dry Enamel in Rose Gold – RRP £3.99 for a 100ml can

PlastiKote is available from Hobbycraft and good independent DIY stores

For more information visit the website at  


Spring Knitting & Stitching Show

Jade Earley

Jade Earley will be at the show

The Creative Living Theatre at this year’s Spring Knitting & Stitching Show (Olympia London, 2nd-5th March) is set to be a hotbed of textile talent, with a packed programme of demonstrations, panel discussions and mass participation events.

TV sewing stars will take to the stage to share their secrets. Lauren Guthrie presents a beginner’s guide to sewing with stretchy jersey fabric and demonstrates how to brighten up the home with piped cushions.

Lauren Guthrie

Lauren Guthrie presents a beginner's guide to sewing

Chinelo Bally shows how to make a versatile batwing top using the freehand cutting method, with tips on using fancy fabrics and embellishments for added style. Jade Earley (The Girl with the Bright Red Hair) shares a great starter project for sewing beginners with her funky children’s pyjama shorts. She also provides tips on working with an overlocker and coverstitch machine, and shows the fun of working with lycra.

Sewing guru Wendy Gardiner shares her easy method of stitch and flip crazy patchwork, Stitchless TV’s Tree Walsh will be extolling the virtues of draping and sketching directly onto the dressmaker’s dummy, and Alistair MacDonald (House of Alistair) will be making beautiful boleros.

New for the Spring Show this year are panel discussions and talks from leading figures from the textile world. As part of the Campaign for Creativity, textile artists Caren Garfen and Harriet Riddell will be sharing advice on how to pursue a career in the creative industries with contemporary craft curator Liz Cooper.

This is an ideal opportunity for young people exploring education routes for a creative future. In a separate session, Liz Cooper discusses the creative process with artists Freddie Robins and Celia Pym whose work features in What Do I Need to Do to Make It OK? in the show’s Textile Galleries. Craftivism founder Betsy Greer will be discussing the power of creative energy to make the world a better place. She discusses her self-affirmation project You Are So Very Beautiful and urges crafters to get involved, one stitch at a time.

Chinelo Bally shows you how to make a versatile batwing top

Chinelo Bally shows you how to make a versatile batwing top

Also new for the Spring Show is a programme of mass participation workshops. Craft is good for us so the Show’s organisers want to offer as many opportunities for visitors to be creative at the Show as possible. There’s a new activity to join every day, from wired ribbon rose making with Love Ribbon’s Heather Wright to English paper piecing with Helena Marriott. All sessions are £8 with 30 places available for each. Tickets are bookable on the Show website.

If you haven’t yet managed to catch a glimpse of Nudinits: Tickled Pink, the award-winning and very cheeky all-knitted stop-motion animation, there are regular screenings throughout the Spring Show.

Demonstrations and talks are free with no ticket required. The Spring Knitting & Stitching Show takes place from 2nd-5th March 2017 at Olympia London. Tickets are on sale now and cost £13 in advance (concessions £12, children aged 5-18 £6)*.

For further information and tickets click on

*A booking fee of £1.50 is payable per order

Catch the show in Edinburgh


If you can't get to see the show in London, The Spring Knitting & Stitching Show also returns to Edinburgh from 27th-30th April. Launched last year, the event attracted thousands of visitors from Scotland’s textile art, craft and design community.

This year’s show features professionally-curated exhibitions and gallery tours by internationally renowned artists and groups, including The 62 Group, Quinary, Wemyss School of Needlework, Edinburgh Modern Quilt Guild, Effie Galletly, Rachel Howard, Helen McAllister and The Quilters’ Guild.

There will be over 170 textile craft and dressmaking workshops and drop-in sessions by expert tutors, from complete beginner to expert level. The show includes free demonstrations by leading lights of the knitting and stitching world. It's an unbeatable shopping experience for anyone with an interest in textile crafts, with hundreds of specialist suppliers selling everything you need to start a new textile hobby or project.

The Spring Knitting & Stitching Show at Edinburgh takes place from 27th-30th April 2017 at the Highland Hall, Royal Highland Centre. Tickets cost £13 in advance (concessions are £12, and children aged 5-18 £6).

For more details and to buy tickets click on 

      Mother's Day
 Cookery Courses
     from Squires

Mother's Day cookery courses from Squires

Why not treat your mum this Mother's Day to a cookery course experience at one of the UK's top cookery schools?

It could be you fancy creating a sumptuous high tea at the WI, perfecting a mouth-watering Persian chicken and bitter chocolate and passion fruit mousse at the great Leiths School of Food and Wine. At world-renowned Squires Kitchen you can hone your sugar flower skills and do some female bonding cooking together at a mother and daughter class.

You can get ninja knife skills on board and get your nails done afterwards at Michel Roux Jnr School at Cactus Kitchens, who have teamed up with award-winning nail bar London Grace for their Mother's day package.

For more information about tuition with the UK's top chef tutors at beautiful locations nationwide contact Kate Baily at: 

Mother's Day Courses

Tante Marie - Kid's Cookery: Cakes for mum

Saturday 25th March 2017 – 9.30am – 1.00pm

£50 Children are invited to come and spend a morning at The Restaurant at Tante Marie making delicious cupcakes to decorate beautifully and take home for Mum to enjoy this Mothering Sunday. Ideally suited to 7 - 12 year olds.

To make this Mother's Day extra special, why not follow this course with Afternoon Tea in The Restaurant at Tante Marie?

For details visit

Michel Roux Jnr School at Cactus Kitchens: Mother's Day Package

Cactus are linking up with London Grace, the award-winning nail bar, to offer a special package for Mother's Day. The offer will be to enjoy a Knife Skills – The Roux Way Experience with afternoon tea, followed by a top notch nail treatment and glass of fizz at their Clapham location just around the corner from us. Perfect for mums or mums and daughters.

For details visit

Cookery School at Little Portland Street Ultimate Afternoon Tea class on 26th March

This is the ultimate Afternoon Tea! This alternative afternoon tea is the perfect way to get together with friends or family and do something a bit different. You will learn to make your own afternoon tea, including a range of quintessentially British cakes, sandwiches, pastries and, of course, scones.

At the end of the class you will sit down to enjoy what you have made as a class, all presented on a lovely tea stand, with a glass of British sparkling wine or a cup or two of Tregothnan Cornish tea.

For details visit

WI Cookery School: Mother and Daughter weekend

A weekend packed with workshops, fun and entertainment to bring the generations together: mothers, daughters, grandmothers, granddaughters, aunts, nieces, sisters or friends.

Learn new skills in the stunning environs of Denman and spend quality time with your nearest and dearest. This includes three workshops with materials, ingredients, two nights accommodation, a cookery demonstration on the Friday night, Saturday night entertainment, welcome drinks, breakfast, lunch and three-course dinners.

For details visit

Leiths: Mother's Day Gifts

Enjoy a cookery class with Squires

What better way to pamper your mum over the Mother's Day weekend than by taking a cookery class together at the renowned Leiths School of Food and Wine? Set up by Great British Menu judge Prue Leith in 1975, the school now operates from impressive custom built premises in West London. On Saturday 25th March, you and your mum can learn to make mouth-watering Persian chicken, Caponata, and Catalan fish stew with Alan Rosenthal, founder of stew'd.

Or give in to pure indulgence on the Leiths Chocolate Puddings class, which will see you making dishes like Chocolate meringues with warm vanilla raspberries and Bitter chocolate and passion fruit mousse. If you'd rather visit your mum and buy her a gift, Leiths have over 400 classes and courses to choose from, with prices starting at £60. You can either book her onto a specific class or buy her a voucher. They also sell great gifts like their seminal cookery books and fancy professional knives made from Japanese steel.

Find out more at 

Squires Kitchen Cookery School: Key Skills: Sugar Flowers 28th-29th March

A lovely course to give as a Mother's Day gift – mothers and daughters (or sons if they are interested in sugar flowers) can attend together. Over two days, learn how to create wired roses, sweet peas, delicate filler flowers and foliage to create a beautiful, colourful posy.

SK tutor Fran Willoughby will take you through the essential tools and equipment needed for making sugar flowers. She will teach you the techniques and processes required to create realistic wired flowers, pulled flowers and foliage.

For details 

  Guest Chef Days at
  Manna from Devon
    Cooking School

Peter Greig of Pipers Farm

          Peter Greig of Pipers Farm

Manna from Devon Cooking School is delighted to announce dates for the 2017 Guest Chef Classes: a series of celebrity chefs and foodie experts will be running classes at the school from March until September. These guest days only pop up once a month and usually book up pretty quickly, a true reflection on the talent and reputation of each chef. This year's Guest Chef classes are being hosted by Peter Greig of Pipers Farm, Mitch Tonks of Rockfish and The Seahorse, Romy Gill MBE from Romy's Kitchen and food writer Charlotte Pike with another two hosts in the pipeline.

David, co-owner of Manna from Devon says, “Holly and I are really excited to confirm we've got some of our best foodie friends joining us in 2017- we hope you can join us too! It's important for us to involve other chefs and experts here at Manna from Devon, as we're all about the community aspect of cooking; connecting lots of people through food and drawing on the array of amazing chefs and talent in the area.”

Peter masterminds Pipers Farm in Cullompton and he and his team produce the most amazing meats, raising their animals from birth and selling them through their own butchery and online shop. Peter will be bringing one of his lamb carcasses to butcher on Saturday 11th March and will be cooking up some of his fabulous meats in the wood fired ovens as well as discussing the Pipers Farm way of farming and how important it is to him; a true expert in his field.

Mitch Tonks of Rockfish and The Seahorse

             Mitch Tonks of Rockfish
                 and The Seahorse

Mitch Tonks is an old friend of David and Holly's. His knowledge and passion for fish and the fishing industry is inspiring and his fish dishes are truly delicious. As well as his chain of Rockfish restaurants in South Devon he runs The Seahorse restaurant in Dartmouth so Manna from Devon are delighted to have him hosting what will be a fabulously convivial day of some outstanding fish and seafood recipes on Friday 7th April.

Romy Gill MBE

  Romy Gill MBE will be hosting a class

Romy Gill MBE will be hosting her class on Sunday 7th May and will be cooking some of her amazing Indian food from her restaurant, Romy's Kitchen – traditional flavours with a light and contemporary twist. David and Holly have been friends with Romy for a long time and love hearing her tell our guests stories of growing up in India and her determination to open her restaurant in Thornbury, just outside of Bristol. If you like Indian cooking, this is a day not to be missed.

Charlotte Pike

            Food writer Charlotte Pike

Food writer Charlotte Pike will be joining David and Holly at the school on Sunday 4th June – passionate about smoking food, she will be creating some amazing dishes, passing on lots of tips and discussing how the enthusiasm for this kind of cooking is growing. David and Holly discovered “low & slow” smoking on their road trip in America so are keen to compare notes with Charlotte.

Classes will take place at Manna from Devon Cooking School in Kingswear and run from 10am – 4pm. All are limited to just 12 students and cost £175 per person.

“I have a attended a few courses at Manna from Devon,”  says Mitch Tonks, Chef & Restaurateur. “David is an absolute master with bread and the integrity of the courses Holly and David teach are simply brilliant. David's knowledge of wood ovens and cooking with live fire is immeasurable, he is undoubtedly the UK's leading expert on the subject and I marvel at the ease with which he uses fire to cook and flavour foods with such ease and confidence, if there is one book you should have on the subject its definitely this one.”

To book one of the Guest Chef Classes visit