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Eight life skills we'd like to learn in 2016

Written by
Matilda Egere-Cooper

You’re always broke, your landlord's dim and if your bike gets a flat, you’re screwed. 2016 should really be the year to get it together – so here are some skills that should come in handy in the new year, plus where you can learn them in London.


A photo posted by Goodlife Centre (@goodlifecentre) on

Household DIY

Tired of paying a premium to get someone to bang a nail into your wall? It’s time to learn some DIY. The Goodlife Centre in Southwark runs classes that cover putting up shelves, basic plumbing, electrics and painting, so you need not be ripped off again. And if you're feeling particularly crafty, they also offer furniture-making and carpentry for beginners.

First aid

The British Red Cross organises a number of weekend first aid workshops for people who want to know what to do in the event of emergencies in public or at home. For individual bookings, sessions are held in Islington, Euston, Wimbledon, Barking or Croydon – otherwise group bookings of up to 15 people can take place at a venue of your choice. 

Bike repairs and maintenance

Keen cyclists know a puncture kit can only do so much (or so little if you don't know how to use it). Cycle café Look Mum No Hands! runs day-long basic and intermediate maintenance courses so you know how to look after your bike and keep it in good nick. Alternatively, Evans Cycles do a bi-monthly one-hour session at their London stores if you haven't got all day.

Time management

Time waits for no man or woman so managing it is tricky for a lot of us. But to help you make the most of it, the How To Academy is hosting an event on January 16 called  How to Have a Good Day: Think bigger, feel better and transform your working life. Taking place at the Condé Nast College of Fashion & Design, the night will be led by management consultant and executive coach Caroline Webb, who'll explain how to be more productive at home and work. 


A photo posted by Sew Over It (@sewoveritlondon) on


This isn’t about whipping up the latest in haute couture – just the ability to fix a button, hem some trousers or take in a waistline is all you need to save some money, do right by the environment and make your garms last longer. Check out the introduction to sewing course by Sew Over It; it'll help you get your head around a needle and thread in just three sessions. Or for the more serious seamstress, there's Clothes Making for Beginners at Morley College. It's an insanely popular three-month course, so catch it before it sells out.

How to grow food

Growing your own grub is another brilliant skill to have that also lends a hand to mother earth. To nail the basics, Pop Brixton will be running free workshops in their community garden every Saturday throughout January. 


A photo posted by Renzo Aporta (@renzoaporta) on

Money management

We could always do with more dough, but the ability to sort out the finances is the real skill. The School of Life will be sharing tips on this and more at an evening class on February 8 called How to Think About Money. The aim of the class is to explore your relationship with money and inspire the way you spend (or save) it.  


Being bi-lingual should be the norm in a multi-cultural city such as ours – and if not for that reason, then at least for the bragging rights. Pick up a new native tongue by going along to one of the free Babble Language Exchange meetups. You get to meet people who speak the languages you'd like to learn in a laid-back environment.

Find more creative masterclasses in London.

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