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5-Day Finishing Touch Course at Christmas

Mayfair, London | Monday 15th - Friday 19th December 2014

This course is ideal for those who wish to add that extra bit of polish to their lives, brushing up on essential social skills for the festive season or to pick up new tricks and skills for the new year. It’s also highly useful for those who wish to get ahead of their peers and ready themselves for university, their first home, or a new, exciting chapter in their lives. It covers essential life skills that are often forgotten, which will give the students the competitive social and professional edge. Notes, recipes and further reading will be provided following your course with The English Manner via our online student portal.

Below is a précis of the course content. We would be delighted to send potential students a more detailed outline of the programme upon request. Please contact us to request more information.

NB: This course is also available in June or July 2015. Click for info.


Social Introductions & Networking
We begin with a warm welcome to the programme followed by going back to basics for the first part of the course as the tutors discuss and explain social interaction. We will explain the secrets to the perfect handshake, making small talk less awkward, how and when to social kiss, how to get rid of the Christmas party bore and much more! During the morning, students will be asked to role-play different social scenarios using their new or relearned knowledge: these will be filmed and played back for some light-hearted yet informative analysis.

Dining etiquetteDining Etiquette
The second part of the day focuses on food and how to eat it. Western dining is very much focused on minimising the awareness that one is eating, and the many rules and protocols that come with the dining room can confuse many people, but once explained the myriad of cutlery and glasses is demystified forever. Ideal for those who are new to Western dining, or even for natives of the Western table who have no idea how to tell a lunch napkin from a dinner napkin, how to hold fish cutlery, or which person to talk to first at a formal dinner. This is always the part of the course that brings up the most questions from the students!

We are firmly in the digital age, and many of us spend too much time hunched over our computers, slaving away at hot keyboards. Understandably, our posture has drooped, dropped and deteriorated and if not corrected then we’ll be very familiar with the chiropractor in later life. Seeing how we judge others (rightly or wrongly) within the first seven seconds of meeting them, we need to look the part. Who wants to date or do business with a hunched mess? Learn how to walk, stand, sit and enter and leave a room with grace and poise.


The Art of the Table
We are pleased to be working with leading independent purveyor of china, silverware and glassware Thomas Goode in Mayfair. It currently holds two Royal warrants, one from Her Majesty The Queen, the other from His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. Our students will be given a guided tour around this most mesmerising of shops, a talk on how to spot, care for and maintain good china and glassware, as well as a discussion on fine linens and napery by Gayle Warwick.

Christmas flowersThe Joy of Flowers
We are thrilled that for the first time on our Finishing Touch course one of the world’s most established florists Pulbrook & Gould will be giving the students a talk on creating simple, yet stunning, festive floral arrangements with a view to entertaining at home. Now housed within the Thomas Goode emporium, Pulbrook & Gould have been the florist of choice for many years for royalty and society figures alike. And for our Summer 2015 course Pulbrook & Gould will be giving a hands-on tutorial for our students.

A Formal Luncheon
To practice what was learned the previous day in Dining Etiquette, students and tutors will enjoy luncheon at the historic Wilton’s restaurant on Jermyn Street for a three-course meal to practice and hone fine their dining skills.

Antiques, Antiquities and Treasures
Mallett is an antique dealers with galleries in in Mayfair, London and New York and regularly exhibit at the International Fine Art & Antique fairs. Students will have the chance to have a private tour to learn about some of the world's most beautiful objects set in the stunning surroundings that used to be home to The Bishop of Ely in the 18th century.

Our Day 2 partners

Get A Hat - Get Ahead!
The day ends with a trip to Duke Street in Mayfair to visit the salon of Laura Aspit Livens where students will be shown how bespoke hats are made and how to wear a hat with flare and élan! Laura now has her own atelier and millinery showroom in London but has previously worked for hat designer Philip Treacy, where she worked on designs for the Royal Wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton. Her clients now range from the Duchess of Westminster to singer Paloma Faith.


Your Voice & How to Use It
Aside from the prospect of having to entertain guests, the other great fear we have found people have is public speaking. We all have to do it at some point in our lives and it needn’t be such a worry if you know the tricks of the trade.

The Art of Entertaining
Thanks to various television shows, plus the recent recession, staying in is the new going out. Entertaining at home is now the preferred option when it comes to getting a group of friends together and is of course de rigueur at Christmas and New Year. Yet many are unaware of how to do it properly and the very thought of having people for dinner can induce a mild panic and cold sweats. Fear no longer as we school you in how to put on that 10/10 dinner party, cocktail soirée and Boxing Day buffet lunch for 12!

Wreath Making
Find out how to make your own festive wreath for your front door as well learning the history behind this traditional Christmas decoration.


The Art of Giving
Learn how to present and wrap beautiful Christmas presents just in time for 25th December. Our tutors will show you how to make your gifts look visually appealing, how to cope with difficult shapes, what tools you need for your gift-wrapping station and simple and easy tricks for presenting perfect presents.

Lara Brotherton leads the style sessionDressing for Success
We will look at the numerous formal and semi-formal dress codes and what these really mean for men & women, as well as discussing how to carry your designer handbag and wear those sunglasses on the snowy pistes of your winter getaway without looking tacky! Our clothes can say a lot about us and many do not think enough about what they pick out to wear in the morning and the connotations and silent messages that they give out. Our tutors Lara and Emma will discuss body shapes and body mapping, look at individual colourings of the students, and talk about how to create and maintain the ideal capsule wardrobe.

Makeup Masterclass (for the ladies)
We are thrilled to be working with a leading TV & modelling makeup artist, who will give students a tutorial in the art and science of makeup and skincare. This session is always highly popular and students are encouraged to bring their current makeup and tools in order for our expert tutor to help give personalised advice and styling tips.

A Gentleman's Wardrobe (for the men)
Whilst the ladies enjoy their makeup session, the gentlemen will be taken to several leading gentlemen’s outfitters on Savile Row and Jermyn Street for a discussion and talk on styles of suits, shirts & shoes and how to create the essential wardrobe for work and play.


Pens, Paper & Parchment
Whilst many will now be invited to a party via Facebook rather than a postal invitation, knowing the correct form and done thing helps any guest or wannabe host negotiate the social minefield that is correspondence. Students and tutors will be joined by a senior representative from Armorial, one of the finest providers of bespoke stationery in the world with shops now in London and Paris.

Basic Household Survival
If you are moving away from home, to university or college, into a new flat – whether it’s with your new spouse, friends or you are going it alone for a while, knowing how to look after it is fundamental to promoting good, healthy, clean living. Yet it doesn’t have to be a long battle with the vacuum cleaner and take up your every waking hour. Like with everything else on the course, once you learn the tips and wrinkles everything suddenly makes sense. We will cover the art of packing a suitcase, ironing, budgeting and basic sewing skills.

The History & Customs of Afternoon Tea
The course ends with a lesson in the social history and etiquette of this most English of pastimes, once again returning to the bastion of fine living, Fortnum & Mason in their Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon. Learn about the changing shape and taste of the scone, how an unhealthy love of gambling invented the sandwich, and how to correctly stir your tea and hold your cup. Successful students will be presented with a certificate of completion. The English Manner's Founder & Chief Executive Alexandra Messervy, FRSA, formerly a member of the Royal Household to Her Majesty The Queen, will join students and tutors to present successful students with their certificates.

[Photos above from summer 2014 course]

What past students say...

"In the five days I learned more than I could remember for a long time and this is thanks to the great tutors, Diana and Lara! The course is varied and now I am sure will be more comfortable in many different social and work situations, from being able to make introductions correctly (who would have thought that "nice to meet you" not correct way to greet?!) to having the right posture, to being a more confident public speaker. The course is both theoretical and practical. For example we had dining etiquette module and the following day went out for lunch to practice learned skills. It is varied as well: from a make-up lesson to flower arranging, thus you learn a little bit of everything. Manners are to make people around you comfortable, this is one of the key things I learned! I highly recommend this course to all age groups and both ladies and gentlemen."
Maria, 29, Summer 2014

"I very much enjoyed the Finishing Touch Etiquette & Social Skills course. My tutors made me feel very welcome and they taught me valuable skills that have helped me tremendously in becoming a more confident, self-assured person. I now walk, sit and eat with confidence and feel at ease when in a group. I had a great time with the fellow student, William and his great sense of humour and Diana's warmth, kindliness and very helpful advice. It was a week of essential learning for me and great encounters."
Zohra, 25, 2013

"I’ve always been slightly shy so on the first day of the course I was apprehensive and unsure what to expect however I needn’t have worried as my tutors, were so welcoming and put me at ease immediately. The time I spent with The English Manner were filled with fun, laughter and plenty of skills to put into practice and I was truly sorry for it to have come to an end. Since completing the course my confidence has increased tremendously throughout both my professional and social life."
Rachel, 28, 2012

"The course has made a real impact as to how I go about my everyday routine. I feel more confident and have gained maturity since taking part. Whilst it was an intense course, it was very enjoyable and included a lot of time to get to know new friends. I would recommend it to anyone."
Charles, 17, 2011

Further information...

  1. Price: £1,595 (excluding VAT) per person. Group booking discounts available.

  2. Day passes available if you wish to join us for just some days: prices from £655 plus VAT.

  3. Detailed course information available upon request. Please contact us

  4. Principal tutors: Diana Mather, Lara Brotherton & Emma Dupont. Read their biographies.

  5. 10.00am start, 5.00pm projected finish for Days 1, 3-5

  6. 9.45am start, 6.00pm projected finish for Day 2.

  7. Lunch for Days One, Three-Five is not included. Students are given a one-hour lunch break – there are plenty of shops, cafés, restaurants and bistros around the venue for students to arrange their own food and drink.

  8. Post-registration information will be sent out upon receipt of payment.

  9. This course is NOT residential.

  10. Minimum 6 students | Maximum 9 students.

  11. Please see our Terms & Conditions before booking.