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Wreath envy

You might know the 5-star Gainsborough Bath Spa hotel for its luxurious spa (the only hotel spa using the city’s historic thermal waters). Or its 3 AA rosetted Dan Moon at The Gainsborough Restaurant. But did you know they run all sorts of events too? Last week I found myself wrestling with a giant pine wreath at their Christmas Winter Warmth Floral Workshop – and it being the Gainsborough, it was no ordinary Christmas wreath workshop…


neo classical

The Gainsborough Bath Spa,  the centre of the city, has a stunning 19th century neo classical exterior, with 21st century interiors created by top New York designers. Don’t expect chintz, do expect cool urban style. Part of the aptly named Leading Hotels of the World group, the hotel is winning more accolades than you can shake a twisted willow stick at. It’s been independently named as one of top 100 hotels in the world, top 10 UK holiday hotel, top 3 UK spa hotel, AA hotel of the year 2017-18 (the list goes on and on) – and if there was an award for the best wreath workshop, they’d be scooping that up, too. I mean, just look at all the stuff we had to play with. Knightsbridge florists, eat your heart out.


The dynamic Johanne Wood of Bath-based florist Passion was running the workshop. As well as being responsible for all the flowers and floral displays in the hotel, she works her magic at all of Soho House’s properties in London and at Babington House in Somerset and her work’s featured in top glossies like World of Interiors. It doesn’t get much classier than that.

Our naked pine wreaths were all ready and waiting for us to dress them (turns out that’s what you call decorating a wreath).

And boy, these wreaths were going to be the best dressed ever. Flippin’ ell, the table was groaning under the weight of all the foliage, seed heads and plants.  There were *takes a deep breath* blue pine, Scotch pine, poppy heads, cotton flowers, lotus heads, twisted willow, dried thyme, magnolia leaves, waxed thistles dipped in gold, berried eucalyptus (not your regular eucalyptus, note, berried ecualyptus). And then there were the rolls of silk and velvet ribbons and boxes of baubles…

Jo showed us how to place the foliage and plants to create a design, how to wire and thread them through and attach to the metal wire support under the wreath. She made it look sooo easy.

Then it was our turn…


The room was filled with the scent of the pine and thyme as everyone cut their plants and thrust them in, with Jo on hand to advise and help if necessary. There was real buzz in the room too, as we all got cracking on being creative.

The time flew by and it seemed only minutes – and whole load of mess, and some fabulous creations – later, that lunch (included in the workshop) was announced.


We all trooped into the Dan Moon at the Gainsborough Hotel Restaurant– an elegant space with a sophisticated feel and this spectacular wine wall – and that award-winning food. It was lovely to all sit and chat – a brilliant group of women that really gelled. Here are a few the greediest ones, first to sit down.

So on the menu: a risotto for veggies and for meat eaters, this roasted red leg partridge with honey roasted parsnip, creamed sprouts and chestnuts…

…followed by a scrumptious little work of art created out of dark chocolate torte with orange sorbet, ginger jelly and candied orange.


And talking of works of art, what about those wreaths? Almost forgot the wreaths. Ignore the flaking paint on my front door. What d’ya reckon?

The workshop was amazing value at £85 – I mean, you could pay 60 quid on real wreath in Tesco and NOT get a gourmet lunch in one of the swankiest places in town. But more than that, it was a Christmas cracking day out with a great bunch of women.


No more wreath-making workshops this year but there’s a chance to listen to some of the UK’s most successful and inspirational women at their Phenomenal Women series of talks throughout 2018. Speakers include Liv Garfield, CEO Severn Trent Water and one of the youngest ever FTSE 100’s Chief Executives; Carole Mundell, Professor of Extragalactic Astronomy and Head of Astrophysics at Bath University; and Laura Marshall, MD Icon Films, one of the top indepedent production companies in the UK.  Your £15 ticket includes Prosecco, canapés, a practical business coaching session from a member of the University of the West of England business school and networking with like-minded women.


And there’s always that impressive restaurant. If you’re tackling the streets of Bath to go Christmas shopping on a weekday, you definitely deserve a gourmet lunch. Currently, they’ve got two-for-one offers on their weekday three-course lunch menu (£34 for two people) and until Fri 22 Dec, a four-course festive lunch menu  (£40 for two people). See you there?

The Gainsborough Bath SpaBeau Street, Bath BA1 1QY, Tel 0800 5298 000.




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