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Latest Retreats For You newsletter 12th Feb - with fish stew!
12 February 2017

wendy's provencale fish stew wendy's provencale fish stew

this is a copy of the latest newsletter which goes out to all subscribers!

Hello! Well the final retreat with the lovely Deborah Dooley was a big success. So was the next one - the top picture is some of the girls in the sitting room. We wish Deb all the best with her move onto her cosy houseboat in nearby Bideford. #

Since then we have had another week that also went very well. Now I’m pleased to announce the latest dates released for your writing getaway and news of some super themed retreats this summer – see below.

Plus as the little renovations continue here and there, I have a question for you, about the kitchen floor. See the pic below – it’s an old type of floor tile called Marland. Most people who have been like the character of it – if you have seen it and have any thoughts, do let me know. I’m told a local archaeologist would have to come down if we were ever to look at taking it up. But having spoken to several people I’m thinking I may be best to explore ways of polishing and re-grouting it. What do you think?

Pic of kitchen floor

And can I ask a favour if you are thinking of returning to Retreats for You, if you have a deadline and can possibly come next week or on March 13th or 27th : I’d love your feedback on how it compares now Wendy and I are hosting. A couple of people have mentioned a little trepidation about how it might have changed. So I did a little video tour. If you would like to have a little walk around the place, click here to watch the video tour of Retreats for You and see what it is like now in a short live Facebook video I did during a recent retreat.

Will you think the same? I hope so. We have endeavoured to keep to the tried and tested successful formula created by the amazing partnership of Deborah and her talented late hubby Bob. Lots of me-time, a sanctuary you can rely on to get your work done or just sit in front of the roaring fire in the wood burner in the sitting room with a glass of wine and relax. So I hope you will be pleased to find it is still the same home from home full of peace and quiet, great food, no jobs or people to care for, and the same reliable luxuries you’ve come to expect.

Pic of wood burner

Plus the mini gym is nearly complete out in the studio (see in the video above) which gives an extra space to write in overlooking the garden. Or if it is good weather we go on a lovely long daily walk and several of the girls have joined me over the last few retreats. The chocolate labradors are delighting everyone too and being good, thank goodness :-)

Pic of dog walk if you use the deb/lounge pic at the top

Or Pics of labs on beach

Last week I took the choccies for their first outing to the seaside. First ever! It was beautiful weather, really beautiful. The guests that came with me loved stretching their legs on the beach. But fortunately they did not go as close to the water as I did. My wellies got full! Ooops. It seems that the outing went down very well so I could incorporate something like that if there was demand on another week. Most people don't want to take a trip away from the writing but if some people did, then I could accommodate. Otherwise the dog walks are all welcome. On occasion dogs are welcome at RFY to stay with you too.

Keep up on Facebook Snippets of the new reviews plus photos and updates are on our Facebook page – do ‘like’ the page to see any last minute offers. Some of the kind reviews from our most recent guests are also below.


Wendy’s Kitchen

I’m happy to say that the feedback so far has been excellent and Wendy’s home cooked meals have been outstanding. Her pasties, soups and scones have created some delighted reactions and none more than for instance, this Provençale Fish Stew. Recipe is a simple combination of a garlic, onion and tomato base, with big chunks of cod, king prawns and mussels, as well as courgettes (we nabbed the only one in Devon I think, given the current shortage!) and fennel seeds, thyme and a pinch of saffron. Recipe will be on our Facebook page here if you want to share it.

Pic of fish stew


Prices Held

Also, great news for everyone booking soon: we are currently holding the 2016 prices of just £80 a night full board, including wine at dinner, and all tea, coffee, cake etc. (gluten free accommodated.) For those who have been asking, we are pleased to announce dates for Spring and new ones for Summer. They include a fabulous themed week with a talented editor focussing on your first chapter. Sara Sarre has access to selected literary agents, should she find a brilliant new talent. So we are delighted she has chosen RFY for her summer workshop in June. For this and other dates, we can pencil you in and book your place for just £30 deposit now. More info about prices and practicalities here on our website.

New Dates. When it came to deciding upon new dates, I was keen to follow up on suggestions several people made about getting help with preparing submissions and I'm thrilled that Sara Sarre of BluePencil Agency has announced a super workshop to help writers with both their first chapter and submission to agents and authors. I met Sara when she came here on a retreat recently, and she impressed me with her contacts and the way she helps new authors. If someone is really good, she puts them directly in touch with her agent network, and several people have got deals from that. There is more about Sara at the bottom.

Been before? I would particularly like to take the last few bookings for the imminent retreats on 20th February and either 13th or 27th March from returning guests, as I’m keen to get your feedback now that the lovely Deborah has completed her handover, and it is me and Wendy.

Deb has left her legacy and we often use the recipes from ‘Eats for You’ the super cookbook the talented lady created. We hope to live up to the standards you came to expect previously. By all accounts, we’ve had some great feedback so far:

-       " Had a great few days at this wonderful peaceful retreat. Perfect for getting down to some serious writing. The food was amazing! Home cooked bread, soup, pasties, scones, everything was delicious! There is even a pub across the square if you want a change of scenery. Can't recommend it enough. Thanks Debbie and Wendy” Phil Brownbill

-       Pic of pub with rainbow


-       "This lovely Devon house is an oasis of peace and calm in a busy world. Whether you are a writer or just need some time out this place is ideal. The hospitality that Debbie and Wendy provide means you are free to indulge your creative side or just chill. The countryside is beautiful and Wendy produces delicious food. I would definitely make a return visit.” Christina Horner


-       “If you need to relax and chill out then this is the place to come. Debbie and Wendy do an amazing job at looking after you and nothing is too much trouble. Wendy has produced the most amazing meals and the chicken soup was the best I have ever had. The rooms are cosy and warm and the evenings can be spent in front of the log fire in the sitting room. There are plenty of books to read some from visiting authors that have stayed here… Hope it’s not too long till I can visit again.” Maxine Duncan


-          “Excellent quiet retreat to get away and focus on writing and work. The most delicious food created by Wendy and the wonderful welcome of Debbie and her two dogs. You don't have to lift a finger, just sit back and relax and enjoy the quiet space to allow your creativity to flow.” Sara Brown


Taken from

Pic of mealtime


I do hope to hear from you soon and if there's anything specific you want to ask just email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. especially about the last minute offer if you can come on 20th February, or text me for information if you prefer 07956336044.

Best wishes

Debbie Flint, and Wendy, new hosts of Retreats for You

PS just in case you are around on the weekend of the 18th and 19th February, we are having a little charity tea rooms event for medical detection dogs both afternoons. It will be a lovely weekend with several of the dogs visiting, more about their work here. Come early if you are attending the following week’s retreat and stay on Sunday night too if you want, if you are due to arrive on 20th? I have three spaces available for anyone who would like to do that.

Sara Sarre – First Chapter Workshop – June 5th – 10th 2017 (four nights)

Add pic of sara

Specialising in character development, plot and structure Sara Sarre has a track record for getting writers to a publishable standard and finding agents. Your first chapter is what will sell your novel time and time again: to your agent, your publisher, the marketing team and eventually to your reader. It needs to be good. The week’s workshops will be dedicated to getting the first chapter right, especially the vital opening line and first paragraph. Plus a one to one. We’ll look at how to hook your reader and to get your characters to leap off the page. Along with this, we’ll discuss the submission process and how to summarise your story.

£430 Monday lunchtime to Friday lunchtime, June 5th – June 9th. Including bed, breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea/coffee/cake, dinner and wine in the evening. There will be three afternoon workshops and each participant will receive an hour long, one to one session. Follow up with promising authors. Places are strictly limited in the main house. Own room and shared bathroom. Limited overspill (inc en suite if needed) available in the pub opposite but we suggest guests get in touch as soon as possible to indicate an interest. £50 deposit, balance payable 4 weeks before retreat begins.

Sara Sarre founded Bluepencil Agency in 2015. Her short stories have been published, broadcast and shortlisted but editing is her passion. The Bluepencil Agency team are always on the lookout for brilliant new talent to share with selected literary agents. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Blue pencil agency logo


New Retreat Dates – Spring/Summer

These are by no means exhaustive – just email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for dates not listed.

What’s included? Bed, breakfast, buffet lunch taken when you choose, non-stop tea/coffee/cake, plus evening dinner including wine. Rolling Devon countryside, hot water bottles in the bed, good company and hours of writing time. Arrive lunchtime Monday, depart late morning or early afternoon Friday. Taxi from Exeter St Davids station can be arranged for you with the local taxi lady. Easy parking in the square outside. EX215NE for sat nav. £30 deposit (transferable for up to six months, if postponing more than two weeks before the retreat begins. Balance payable when you arrive at the retreat.)

FEB 20th – 4 nights - £320 :  Mon 20th to Fri 24th , two places left

FEB 22nd – 2 nights - £160 : Wed 22nd to Fri 24th , one place left


MARCH 13th – 4 nights – £320 : Mon 13th to Fri 17th , two places (incl optional media skills training if needed)

MARCH 15th – 2 nights - £160 : Wed 15th to Fri 17th , one place

MARCH 20th – 2 nights - £160 : Mon 20th and Tue 21st, four places

MARCH 27th – 4 nights – £320 : Mon 27th to Fri 1st April , two places left (incl optional self-publishing advice if needed)


New dates:


10th – 4 nights - £320 – Monday 10th to Friday 14th – 5 or 6 places

24th (Easter Monday) – 4 nights – Monday 24th to Friday 28th – 2 places only left

28th – 2 nights weekend - £160/£240 – Friday 28th to Sunday 30th or Bank Hol Mon 1st May – 2 places only left


MAY – we are renovating the kitchen cabinets and have selected dates only –

22nd – 4 nights – Mon 22nd to Fri 26th – up to 5 places currently available

29th May – to Fri 2nd June - currently block booked out to a writing group



5th – 4 nights – themed workshop – Perfecting Your First Chapter and submission with Sara Sarre. Details above. £430 per person including afternoon workshops and a one to one.

19th – 4 nights - £320 – Mon 19th to Fri 23rd – four places left

26th – 4 nights - £320 - Mon 19th to Fri 23rd – five places left



3rd – to Fri 7thcurrently block booked out to a writing group

Other dates – just ask



7th – 4 nights - £320 – Mon 7th to Fri 11th Aug – four places left

Other dates – just ask


SEPTEMBER – coming soon – Julie Cohen tutored retreat

Full prices and practicalities are on our website here.

Thanks all!

Best wishes

Debbie Flint


Email us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or leave a message on 01409 231252, or text or call 07956336044 for more info and for additional dates.



Debbie Flint is a TV presenter of some 30 years and an author who has recently been published by Choc Lit, the award-winning UK independent publisher. Her first romance Take a Chance on Me reached no. 79 in the WHSmith travel chart in 2016. She has self-published four other novels as well as anthologies and short stories.





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