I have recently realised that the idea of a ‘hosted workshop’ which I have created my business around is not in fact something that many others are doing and that many people probably don’t know what I mean when I happily tell them I run hosted workshops! So I thought it would be useful (for myself and everyone else) to clarify exactly what I’m talking about.

I am endlessly curious and have attended many different sorts of workshops in lots of the countries and locations in which we have lived over the years and I have noticed that their success really hinges on the value that the facilitator is able to offer not only in content, but in focus and attention. Trying to master a new skill can be challenging, but attempting to do so while one’s teacher is leaping up and down to fetch tea/coffee every few minutes or is distracted by their own domestic issues feels frustrating.

Table full of tools during workshop at Oak Tree Barn

My aim is to collaborate with a variety of talented and interesting people who come to Oak Tree Barn to share their skills, knowledge and experience in a way that allows them to be fully focussed on their participants. I am able to offer a high quality, beautiful space in an attractive rural location where both facilitators and participants can feel comfortable and relaxed in the knowledge that I will be on the spot to ensure workshops run smoothly.

One recent participant kindly left this review on Facebook:

“This is a very special venue. Attended a two day retreat there recently and Vanessa is just the most wonderful host – thoughtful and kind and a great cook too – we were treated to cookies, quiches, salads and CAKE……all delicious and home made! The barn itself is a beautiful, comfortable space with an energy that is just perfect for learning new skills.”

From helping spread the word on social media to providing delicious food to accommodate everyone’s needs I can take care of the details that make an event not only successful but memorable. The barn is simply decorated with personal touches that help visitors feel at home and I am only too happy to style or dress the barn for special occasions.  I love meeting new people so take pleasure in welcoming guests as they arrive, and enjoy the initial gathering of the day as people begin to get to know one another.

The kettle at Oak Tree Barn

I’m always on hand to pop the kettle on at any point should people want a drink during proceedings, and I relish the opportunity to bake without the danger of knowing I’ll be eating way more cake than is good for me! I’m a great advocate of eating together as a group and as my garden grows I look forward to using more of my own produce in the delicious light lunches I provide.

Pear crumble cake for workshop at Oak Tree Barn

Oak Tree Barn is less than 10 minutes from Bristol Airport and just half an hour from the city centre in the Mendip Hill Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There is plenty of parking on the drive and in the field unless the rain has been absolutely torrential in which case the village square is just 100 metres or so up the road.

If ‘walking and talking’ is something that appeals to you within a workshop then you’re in luck as there are many lovely walks to enjoy directly from the barn. From 15 minutes to our local pub The Plume of Feathers, an hour or so over the top of Burrington Ham, or a little further still, it’s a beautiful part of the world in which to appreciate Mother Nature’s best.

Winter in The Mendip Hills AONB

I genuinely believe that I offer friendly and helpful support to those running workshops and a warm, welcoming atmosphere to those attending. The opportunity to host a wide variety of events satiates my curiosity and love of meeting people with all sorts of intriguing interests. Running my own business has been something I aspired to all my life, and I am  now finally combining my skills of cooking, gardening, interior decorating and making people feel at home by inviting others to run workshops here in our home. I’m living a life I’ve chosen with both purpose and pleasure and am so happy to share our special place with others.

Here’s what Kayte Ferris of Simple and Season had to say about running a workshop at Oak Tree Barn recently:

“Working with Vanessa was the most pain-free experience of all the workshops I’ve done – nothing was too much trouble and she was so on top of everything. The icing on the cake is just what a wonderful space the barn is to be in – light, calming and full of little touches that make it truly unique.”

If you’re interested in running a workshop at Oak Tree Barn do please get in touch by email at vanessa@thesimpsonsisters.co.uk and we can chat about the possibilities and/or arrange for you to visit. If you’d like to keep tabs on what’s going on at the barn you can sign up just below for my monthly letter in which I always share upcoming events. I very much look forward to welcoming you here!

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