LAURA CARTLEDGE Life’s like That...Who wants to unwind when a weekend can be a creative one?

I love my job, but I have to admit there is something extra-special about weekends. It is 48 hours of you-time. Not that it ever seems that long.

In fact I think Mondays are a bit like ninjas. They are sneaky and like to creep up and catch you unawares. Stepping out of the shadows on a Sunday evening – just in time to make you sigh and swap the glass of wine, and late night TV, for a mug of Horlicks and an early night. All the better to help prepare you for battle with the week ahead.

With this in mind many people like to make the most of their weekends by doing absolutely nothing. I’ll admit I’m no stranger to pyjama days either, but there are a few things worth leaving the sofa for. And a weekend at West Dean has to top my list.

Granted the idea of setting my alarm for a Saturday was not nice. But all was forgiven when I passed through the large metal gates and the beautiful college grounds unfolded in front of me.

My course was called Summer Sampler. And squeezed four crafts into the two days. First up for me was silver ring making. I did have doubts when I found myself faced with a blow-torch-like contraption. However I needn’t have worried as we were guided through the process and all succeeded in proudly wearing our creations to lunch.

Well-fed and watered I then headed to glass fusing. This was harder than I’d imagined, so my desired coaster design soon got simplified to match my skill level.

Before I knew it home-time chimed. And despite the day only running from 9am-5pm, I was shattered. Just managing to stay awake long enough for dinner and a dvd before Sunday’s alarm noisily announced the arrival of a day of wire sculpture making and enamelling. The time flew by and soon I was home again doing a show-and-tell for the family. The weekend might not have been a relaxing way to unwind, but it was certainly rewarding.

* Zumba’s for me

I’ve never been one for keeping up with trends but I have joined the masses and taken up the latest exercising craze – Zumba.

On paper it sounds like a personal nightmare. Dancing, without Dutch courage, in broad daylight with a room of strangers. But in reality it is brilliant fun and doesn’t feel like a work out at all. Everything I want from keeping fit. In fact, I can’t wait for my next class.