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Welcome to our blog


From time to time we will post articles about our courses and events and links to things that we think will interest you.


Please feel free to leave us a comment or ask us a question.

By Janet, Oct 24 2012 11:40AM

When we were deciding on a name for the venture that would become ‘The Refectory Table’ we stuck a large sheet of paper up on the kitchen wall and over a week or so added ideas and drawings. Some ideas were plain awful, others not appropriate.

The name ‘The Refectory Table’ was of course blindingly obvious once we’d come up with it – and came from the table that we have in our kitchen. It’s a great table, we can seat 14 people round it at a push and it’s been the scene for many good times with friends.

The term ‘refectory’ conjured up images of meals shared in a place of learning. Refectory, we found, was from the Latin reficere: to remake or restore, via the Late Latin refectorium, a place one goes to be restored.

This all chimed perfectly with our vision for The Refectory Table and the experience we wanted people to have on our courses. We knew we could deliver great course content, and Pete’s coaching skills would come into play perfectly in helping people explore new ideas for their creative businesses.

People build relationships as they gather around the table at the start and end of our courses, and sit to share lunch and stories.

We know that thinking about your business can be both exciting and scary – so we do our best to help people to feel at ease and for the days to be sociable, convivial, personal and inviting. And ultimately for people to leave feeling excited by the possibilities that lie before them.

There was still one name idea remaining on our list that we couldn’t let go ‘Crumbhuddle’. Again it resonated with the idea of people gathering and sharing. We decided to use ‘Crumbhuddle’ as our Twitter handle. The term is now also a feature of all our courses. We schedule in a working break during the afternoon for participants with tea and a home-baked cake to share – a ‘crumbhuddle’ – before the final workshop session.

By Janet, Oct 3 2012 04:06PM

The autumn got off to a flying start at The Refectory Table with our Creative Business Away Day.

We’ve designed this particular workshop for people seeking some structured time out to look at their business in the round, diagnose strengths and weaknesses, and get a clear picture of what they need to do to take their business to the next level.

'This event gave me the opportunity I needed to talk about myself and my business in a very safe & relaxed environment.'

Participants arrived between 9.30 and 10am from Norfolk, Nottingham. Loughborough, Liverpool and West Yorkshire and got to meet each other over coffee, fruit and pastries. Janet welcomed everyone and said a few words about The Refectory Table courses and activities, and then Pete set out the shape of the day.

The morning began with Pete coaching the group to look at their individual businesses in detail, working out future directions, sketching out hopes dreams and aspirations, then thinking in pairs about what might get in the way of progress and how to remove any obstacles.

'Pete hit the nail on the head perfectly – reining us in graciously when we needed it – letting us fly when we needed that.'

At lunchtime we all sat at the table to share stories, whilst enjoying a meal of baked salmon, roasted beetroot salad and steamed new potatoes, followed by mixed berry salad with mint.

'Great food, good company. Step by step ways to put you in touch with yourself.'

In the afternoon the group focused on working out how to cultivate new customers and develop the right products and services. This was followed by our ‘marketing swap shop’ – everyone compared notes about what they felt were the best marketing tools and techniques – a really useful session.

'A very relaxed way to consider your business life & career - whilst engaging with like minded folk.'

The mid-afternoon energy slump was avoided by taking a working break for refreshments with both fruit and a home-baked cake on offer. We’ve named this break a ‘crumbhuddle’ after our twitter name.

In the final session everyone compared notes with their fellow participants, got support and feedback from Pete and the other group members before setting out an action plan to help them move forward with the development of their business.

'Very thought provoking - made me think about my personal aims for progression'.

After a final few words from Pete the day wrapped up at 4pm, contact details and warm goodbyes were exchanged and everyone headed home – tired, but full of energy and ideas.

'Amazing. Vibrant & dynamic way of re-booting your business. A wonderful atmosphere & great food. Worth heaps more than I paid.'

Any creatives out there who need a swift soft kick into a new creative tsunami have a look at The Refectory Table's brilliant courses. I spent yesterday with a great bunch of people zooming through the stratosphere of ideas.'

The Refectory Table team works with people in small groups and aims to help you get better at the business of being creative.

To find out more about the Creative Business Away Day click here.

You will also find feedback here on Helen Hallows blog

All quotes are from participants attending the day. You will find their websites here -

Helen Hallows, Art, ceramics & prints

Jo Ludbrook, Exotic Cushions

Diana Morrison, Designer

Helen Rhodes, Artist

Dionne Swift, Textiles

By Janet, Aug 24 2012 11:58AM

"So, tell me about your work."

You know that moment, when you are momentarily lost for words but know you need to get it right. On a good day you get into the swing of answering the question straight away, on a not so good one it can all go a bit awry and you end up feeling as if you have not ‘sold’ yourself properly and a bit daft! Well. That’s been my experience at times!

Every so often we send out an article to our Facebook and Twitter followers to read and share.

One that's caught the imagination of our followers at the moment is about how to talk and write about your work. Maybe it's recent graduates that have picked up on it, maybe it's the summer that's given more experienced practitioners time to reflect, or maybe it’s just the struggle lots of us have with ‘that question’ that has sparked the interest.

This article, Tell Your Story, explores the themes around writing and talking about your work.

Here's the article for those of you that haven't joined up with us on the social networks yet.

Click HERE

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