The Ponderosa & Thyme Clarity Retreat

Last year we had Katie and her team at Potentino for a wonderful retreat and this year they are coming back again to do something slightly different! We very much hope that you have a look at Katie's work- she is a kindred spirit and her retreats are magical. Do head over to her website if you would like to see all the information about it- a taster is below:

Over the years Ponderosa & Thyme has become known for magically curated, life-changing workshops. Now I am so proud to introduce something new: the PONDEROSA CLARITY RETREAT, a safe place to discover what's next for you and your creative journey.

". . . a retreat like none other, a rest for the bones, a jump-start for your mind, and a salve for the places of your heart that you didn't realize needed some tenderness."  
- Hannah, 2018

Photographers, painters, florists and dancers, no matter the  pursuit, creative professionals share the same challenge: maintaining the spark of inspiration when our passion is also our work. The Ponderosa Clarity Retreat will be a unique blend of focused strategizing, and the time and space to get from the experience what is most valuable to YOU. This is the Ponderosa experience, but without the flowers (okay, maybe some flowers).

Join me in Italy during the season of abundance. Prepare to be inspired by the harvest, the warmth of the castle, and an amazing group of fellow artists and creatives.

We'll support your entrepreneurial endeavors by engaging in professional discussions based around:

  • Expanding your creativity
  • Refining your vision
  • Marketing and branding
  • How to collaborate with other creatives
  • Roundtable style brainstorming sessions

‍All Photos by Maria Lamb rights reserved copyright 2018

Helena Attlee’s latest book Lev’s Violin: An Italian adventure was published last year and broadcast as BBC Radio 4’s ‘Book of the Week’. Her bestselling The Land Where Lemons Grow: The story of Italy and its citrus fruit has been translated into several languages and won the Guild of Food Writers’ Book of the Year 2015.

Julian Evans is the author of the acclaimed biography Semi-Invisible Man: The life of Norman Lewis and Transit of Venus: Travels in the Pacific. He has presented radio and TV documentaries, reported from central Europe and written about the war in Ukraine from the frontline.

Saturday 10 September

Arrive in good time to settle in before meeting the tutors and other writers for an aperitivo followed by dinner

Sunday 11 September

Using our senses as a way of expressing experiences and connecting to readers, we explore rooting our writing in the physical
world to bring it alive

Activity: Walking the Potentino valley with a local botanist

Sensory writing Aperitivo and dinner at castle

Monday 12 September

Today is about building skills to commit real people to the page, using their appearance, body language, behaviour and other closely observed details

Activity: Visit to the local market

Free time for lunch in local town

Workshop: Writing people, their settings and voices

Aperitivo and dinner at castle

Tuesday 13 September

We focus on framing a process or an event to make it interesting to anyone, even to those not specifically interested in it

Activity: Local shepherds making ricotta cheese, followed by cheese tasting

Workshop: Finding the universal strand

Tasting the wines of Potentino with Charlotte Horton, followed by dinner with Rachel Roddy

Wednesday 14 September

Today is led by Rachel Roddy, acclaimed author, Italian food expert and Guardian columnist

Activity: Learning to make pasta with Rachel in Potentino’s 13th-century kitchen

Lunch is home-made pasta –
of course!

Workshop: Armed with our
flour-covered notes and thoughts, we will talk and do three generative
exercises. We’ll also look at strategies for writing about food and practical tips for recipe writing, and to conclude will talk about how to find a sustainable, enjoyable writing process and how to balance messy creativity with structure, form – and dinner

Feedback session with Rachel, Helena and Julian

Aperitivo and ‘Getting published’, a question-and-answer session with Derek Johns, drawing on his career as an editor, publisher and leading
literary agent

Dinner at castle

Thursday 15 September

On the final day we take you through a series of invaluable techniques for revising and polishing your work

Workshop: Ultimate editing: putting it all together


Free time to work on your writing

Celebration and sharing of your work

Dinner at a local restaurant

Friday 16 September


[We reserve the right to make changes to this timetable if necessary]

“Julian and Helena worked beautifully together in creating a transformative learning experience. Taking part has raised my standard of what I expect from my writing dramatically”

“I came to Potentino without an agenda, but I leave Potentino inspired to share my stories”

“Thank you both so much for a wonderful experience. I appreciate all your knowledge, generosity and hard work”

Board and lodging at Castello di Potentino

All sessions with Julian and Helena

Pasta-making Workshop and talk with Rachel Roddy

"Behind the scenes in publishing" discussion with Derek Johns

Trips for planned excursions

Last night's dinner at a local restaurant

What's not included


Transfers to and from Potentino (can be booked as an extra)

Meals on planned excursions


Prices vary by room choice and number of guests sharing the room.

A single person is € 2315.

Two people sharing a room is € 2000 per person.

Three people sharing a room is €1895 per person.

Please note

If you would like to pay a deposit

The payment system asks for payment in full. If you would rather pay a non-refundable 25% deposit at the time of booking, please enter the code DEPOSIT25 at checkout. The final payment will be due one month before the start of the course.

If you have any issues booking

Sometimes, it takes a few attempts to clear the cart if you need to make any changes to your room selection etc.

If you have any issues at all, please contact Alexander Greene

The Ponderosa & Thyme Clarity Retreat

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