The idyll of a writer’s retreat is something I’ve been craving for a while. Recommended by my agent who also runs the London Writers’ Club, last weekend I arrived at Retreats For You in a small village in Devon. I had an idea of what to expect but I didn’t quite realise how perfect it was going to be (…)
Beneath a beautifully thatched roofed, I was treated to wholesome home-cooked meals, a friendly environment and easy-going chat by the very lovely and extremely thoughtful Deborah and her husband Bob. Although aimed at writers – the shelf above contains books by novelists who have stayed at the retreat – and creative types, coming for a bit of R&R, walks and me-time is just as normal. Whatever your focus, you are actively encouraged not to lift a finger clearing up after meal times or making your bed in the morning!
I must admit I was on a bit of a mission with my three-day stay (I’m a few drafts in on a YA fantasy novel!) and although, at first, was slightly worried my intense agenda might not suit the environment, I was quickly realised that squirrelling away in my room and just turning up for meals was pretty standard behaviour. Having a tray of food in your room was fine too, although to be honest I welcomed the mental reprieve of sitting round the table, getting to know the other guests and gawking at the downstairs fireplaces tall enough to stand in.
Home comforts were very much the order of the day – cups of tea and snacks, a glass of wine at six o’clock, pudding after supper and hot water bottles at bedtime. I really enjoyed the coming and going of other guests, the turnover bringing a constant breath of mental fresh air and it was fascinating to see how others were using their time to work or relax.
Pretty much everyday I wore a pair of Sweaty Betty yoga leggings, sloppy jumper, my beloved Manebi leopard espadrilles and 574s for when I ventured out into the grassy garden and down by the river for a walk. A fluffy white bathrobe was hanging in my room as well, although I’d brought my Still Waters Studio handmade kimono to float around in the mornings…
On my last day we lunched al fresco on Deb’s delicious vegetable soup and homemade bread & rolls
A little reading through in the garden – yes, on my phone! I often read whole novels on my Kindle app, shock horror!
These wildflowers were my constant companion. I moved them from desk to bedside table to floor as I gravitated around my room!
A huge thank you to Deb and Bob for having me to stay in their beautiful house. I got a tonne of work done, was perfectly looked after and felt so wonderfully guilt-free about it all! If you’re thinking of booking a stay, I’d recommend doing it at least a few weeks in advance as the rooms do get filled up quickly! I got a train from Paddington to Exeter St David which took two and half hours and a cab from the station to Sheepwash was just under an hour.
Stylonylon was a guest of Retreats For You