Thursday, 17 April 2014

How You Could Transform Your Life with a Life Choices Course at the Skyros Centre

Get help with relationships, health, career, finding happiness and more...

If you are searching for answers to important questions and looking for ways of changing your life, then the Life Choices programme at The Skyros Centre this year is the place to be this summer. Courses this year include help with successful relationships, how to build your confidence, follow your dreams, how to be happy and even business presentation skills and how to start your own business.

At the Skyros Centre, in the ancient hillside village of Skyros, Greece, you will experience a warm and friendly atmosphere.  It is a perfect place to unwind and rediscover what you really want out of life. The Life Choices programme runs mid-morning for three hours for five days per week. In the afternoons you are free to explore the charming village, laze on the sandy beach, make new friends - or simply enjoy a siesta.  The holiday includes opportunities for early morning yoga, massage treatments and trips and visits. There have been many positive comments about the Life Choices programme, such as:

"This workshop gave me a new, positive perspective on situations I have found challenging at home!"

"You have changed my life and helped me to have a second chance at living and being happy."

Our Life Choices programme does not provide all the answers.  But it will give you the encouragement you need to leave behind life's limitations, recharge your passion and go for what really matters to you to transform your life.  Courses take place between June and September.  See below for courses that could help you this 2014:

Successful Relationships - Juliette Smith
Personal and Professional Relationship and Communication Skills
Sat 7 - Sat 14 Jun 2014

We are all in numerous relationships and consequently need to communicate regularly - whether with a partner, colleagues, friends or family. There’s always a way to improve our relationships – even those that are already working well. Would you like to be yourself more often, connect more with others and feel more confident and relaxed when you communicate – whether at work or at home? Interactive practical and fun, this course offers you relationship advice which will give you the opportunity to do just that – helping you with your relationships and more.

Raise Your Game & Finding Happiness - Suzanne Hazelton
Sat 14 - Fri 27 Jun 2014

Raise Your Game (Week 1)
Research shows that successful individuals have a disproportionately positive effect on society. But what does success mean to you? Success means different things to different people, and there is no single right answer, the only answer that really matters, is what success means to you.  As you are, you are of course perfect, and successful, but you may still wish to make changes to your life. You will explore what has led to your current levels of success so that you can use these as a foundation for designing and building your future success - success 2.0, your next version.

Finding Happiness (Week 2)
Busy can be the enemy of happy. Come and join us to pause, breathe and explore what makes us happy and how to be happy. There are of course many routes to happiness and fulfilment, and each of us will have our own flavours that seem to work for us. Sometimes we simply forget to use our approaches for happiness, or just occasionally they just do not have the same potency as they once did. During this workshop we will be exploring three paths to finding happiness.

Mindful Living - Michael Eales
Sat 28 Jun - Sat 5 Jul 2014
Mindful living is an exploration of the practice of present-moment awareness, kindness and whole-hearted living. It is a simple path to our core self, the place of inner wisdom, wellbeing and happiness. It also provides tools for recognizing and reducing unhealthy stress and for becoming aware of our habits of thought and action, which keep us stuck.

Creative Confidence - Kate Daniels
Sat 5 - Fri 18 Jul 2014
If you want to re-focus your life or your relationships and you want to have fun and a creative time doing so in the wonderful setting of Skyros, this is the course for you. If you've ever said to yourself "I want to change my life", but are not sure how to get going, or in what direction, or you may feel as though your life is good but there are some gaps. You might just feel as though you want to take some time to explore your life and your options.  Building on your strengths, Kate’s course will help you to identify and enable the kinds of changes you want to introduce into your life and to create a map for a contented and successful future.

Present Your Best Self - Tiana Harper
Sat 19 - Sat 26 Jul 2014
Enhance your presentation skills by building on your unique personality and innate confidence to present your relaxed and authentic self. Using performance, writing, pitching and presenting skills, Tiana will guide you through the groundwork and preparation required to enable ease, clarity and authority in front of an audience, be it business, social or entertainment. Focusing on movement psychology and voice production as well as the crafting of content, the course will afford each participant the opportunity to create short presentations and present them to the group.

Also - see Tiana's blog post "How to Shine in Public Speaking" below.

3 Steps to a New Beginning - Dina Glouberman
Sat 26 - Fri 8 Aug 2014
Are you feeling stuck or burnt out, facing difficult changes, or simply yearning for something you cannot imagine having? If so, this workshop by Imagework pioneer and Skyros co-founder Dr Dina Glouberman can help you:

•    Recognise the catalyst that will start you moving in a new direction
•    Get a vision of the future that would be right for you
•    Find your way forward to a new beginning

The secret is to educate your imagination to bring together the spiritual and the practical - learn to attend to the whisperings of your heart and soul while being grounded in the real world. You will emerge from the workshop with the clarity and confidence to take your next step in life. Since you are what you imagine, if where you are is not where you want to be, why not learn to imagine better?

Choose Life at Any Risk - Ari Badaines
Sat 9 Aug - Fri 22 Aug 2014
The essence of this group centres around the idea that people get stuck in many aspects of their lives: relationships, work, self perceptions, self esteem. There are many reasons for this inability to move, but the essential idea is that people do not take the necessary risks to get unstuck; and if they do, will often not tolerate the ensuing anxiety and discomfort long enough to maintain the growth that will enable them to move in the  direction of their life-dreams and fulfill their yearnings. Thus, avoidance of anxiety becomes primary for many, and they remain stuck in relatively unsatisfying relationships to others, themselves, family, and their vocation....

Individuals soon begin to share at a more personal level about their concerns and difficulties, and then using a variety of approaches including some from psychodrama and gestalt therapy, they facilitate their process which often helps them to experience the blocked emotions, gain new awareness, and experience more satisfying ways of being.

Making it Happen for You! - Entrepreneur Course - Louise Gimson
Sat 23 Aug - Sat 30 Aug 2014
Thinking of self employment? Do you have a hobby that you would like to turn into an income? Always wanted to work for yourself but don’t know how? Making it Happen For You is a fun, inspiring and motivating way to plan your business. Recognise your personal values and put them at the heart of your enterprise. Address both the emotional and practical side to business start up, or simply rejuvenate a business you already run. This course will give you self-believe and arm you with practical skills to plan  and start your own business.

Being Ourselves - Gaie Houston
Sat 30 Aug - Fri 12 Sep 2014
'Being Ourselves' is intended as a relaxed workshop focussing on finding more ways to enjoy being in your own skin, on your own terms.  And that is massively to do with how to get on with other people without selling out on yourself, or imposing on them. These sessions will have plenty of energy and laughter, maybe music at times, or strolls into the sun, along with useful learning about many kinds of communication, for whoever wants that too.

What is a Skyros Holiday?
It’s a holiday where people can explore new possibilities, pursue new ideas and unearth talents they didn’t even suspect they possessed. Take a look at our website if you’d like to know more about holidays at Atsitsa Bay or the Skyros Centre

How to Book Your Holiday on the Life Choices Programme
If you've got questions about any of these courses you can call us for a chat - we'd be happy to help: Tel: +44(0)1983 865 566.  Or, if you're ready to make your booking, you can BOOK ONLINE.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Present Your Best Self - How to Shine in Public Speaking

by Tiana Harper, who will be running 'Present Your Best Self', a unique public speaking course, taking place at Skyros this summer.

"Desiring this man's art and that man's scope..." (William Shakespeare).

In his 29th sonnet, Shakespeare laments his insecurity in the face of the perceived talents of others. And, let's be honest, which of us has not had moments when we've wished we could be as confident, as eloquent, as charismatic as another? When asked to make a presentation at work, pitch to clients or deliver a speech at a special occasion, our thoughts often turn to a perceived lack of nerve or polish. But the key word here is perceive.

In my coaching work I am often told that the subject is nervous or even terrified of speaking in front of others, only to find that 5 minutes later I am watching a perfectly confident and capable human take the 'stage' in front of me. Yes, there is room to build on his/her presentation skills and I can facilitate this, but when asked what the magic formula is to change him/her into the speaker or performer they think they need to be, the answer often surprises.

You do not need to be Barack Obama or Judi Dench or Russell Brand in order to be riveting.

What you need to be is you.

It seems such a simple concept that some people find it hard to believe. If you are just being you, why isn't everyone a brilliant speaker or presenter or performer?

As everyone is unique, it's impossible to generalise about what turns us off when listening to someone who is not holding our attention, but fortunately it is much clearer to identify what turns us on. The speaker has moved us. They have made us laugh, inspired us or made us interested in a subject for which we previously held no opinion.  And they are able to do these things because they are genuine - genuine in their relationship with themselves and with their subject matter, and therefore genuine in their relationship with their audience.

Actors know this well, and I use the same principles when working with them as I do when working with an author working on their public reading technique, or with a wedding guest nervous about delivering a poem to the congregation, or a manager worried about that potentially career-changing presentation. What moves you? What parts are you uncomfortable with and why do you think that is? Where can we go together to find the parts of your imagination and emotional life that colour your voice and authentically animate your body?

Yes there are techniques, and there is practice. These are also part of the Present Your Best Self workshop and can be very grounding as well as forming the basis for continuing development of technique. But there will also be play and there will also be shared and self-discovery. There will be laughter, and release, there will be fun and games and there may even, in some instances, be tears. Above all there will be being fully alive and present, so that when you do need to take the platform or the stage, you will instinctively remember how to be everything you can be in that moment.

And this is why Skyros island, Greece, is the best place to do this. If you've been before you will know that you cannot fail to come back touched by the beauty of the setting, by its kinship, and by the freedom it provides to explore skills, ideas and practices unfettered by judgement; by the opportunity to stretch yourself with the sun on your face and the surety that you gain in rich experience with every moment. If you haven't been before, what joys lie ahead of you!

Shakespeare ends the sonnet by remembering 'sweet love' and this elevates his mood to the extent that he 'scorns' to 'change my state with kings'. His genius is to remind us that it is authentic feeling that transforms us into the extraordinary, and it is the extraordinary experience of honing your public speaking skills on a Skyros holiday that will live on in you when you next need to be a 'king' of public speaking.

About Tiana Harper:
Tiana is passionate about inter personal communication and is on a mission to disseminate skills gained in performance and media to a larger audience and for wider application.  An alumni of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and a working writer and theatre director, Tiana has directed actors (and non actors) from all backgrounds and skill sets, from complete beginners to household names, and brings this experience to her work coaching individuals and groups in presentation skills.

The Life Choices programme on a Skyros holiday offers the encouragement you need to leave behind life's limitations, recharge your passion and change your life. Reach new insights and learn new skills, all in a warm and friendly atmosphere, with great food, great company ... and a beautiful view!

Tiana's course, 'Present Your Best Self' takes place Sat 19 - Sat 26 Jul 2014 at the Skyros Centre on the Greek island of Skyros. To book this public speaking course, or if you'd like more information about a Skyros holiday, feel free to call us on Tel: 01983 865 566 or email:

Monday, 24 March 2014

Creative Courses on a Weekend Break at The Grange, Isle of Wight

Enjoy a relaxing break in the Isle of Wight whilst you learn….

If you enjoy using your creativity and fancy a break in a stunningly beautiful peaceful environment, then a weekend course at The Grange could be ideal for you.  Set in a gorgeous Georgian country house overlooking the sea in the picturesque Isle of Wight, The Grange is offering some fabulous residential course weekends for 2014.

The Grange, an offshoot of Skyros, the leading course-based holiday provider, runs weekend courses from photography to creative writing and comedy improvisation to music.  It's a chance to meet interesting people, stay in an elegant guesthouse with stunning panoramic views and discover new talents and interests. And it's only two and a half hours from London.

Secluded, yet in the centre of Shanklin's Old Village close to cosy tea rooms and gift shops, The Grange is just a short walk from scenic cliff-top walks and the sandy beach.  Accommodation is 4-star, in atmospheric en suite rooms. You can also take advantage of the sauna or book a beauty treatment or massage during your stay. Come on your own, with friends or family and take it easy in the comfortable surroundings - all are welcome.

For forthcoming residential courses read below. If you like the look of something, or want to find out more, just give us a call at The Grange on Tel: 01983 867 644.  Alternatively, you can send us an email or even book online.

The Art of Photography with Kel Portman
Friday 11 to Sunday 13 April

This is a weekend photography course for those who have never been taught the art of photography. It won’t confuse you with technical jargon, rather you will be encouraged to look at ideas and approaches to help you take better photographs. The emphasis is on the creative rather than the gadget. Using the dramatic island landscape and still life as subjects, you will explore... find out more

Comedy & Creativity with Logan Murray
Friday 18 to Monday 21 April (Easter)

Do you want to learn the basic principles of comedy? Would you like to gain tips for

performing in front of a live crowd? You will discover your inner comic and then - if you’re brave enough - unleash it on an unsuspecting audience on the last day. From finding your creative inspiration to learning the building blocks of jokes, this residential writing course will help you become a better writer and performer through performance exercises, writing games and practical exercises… find out more

Writing for the Screen with Jenny Lecoat
Friday 25 to Sunday 27 April

If you’ve always wanted to write a TV drama, a film or a sitcom, but aren’t sure how to go about it, this screenwriting course will provide a basic toolkit to get you started. It will take you through the whole process – figuring out your idea (or helping you to come up with one), creating characters, structuring stories, and writing dialogue – all in a fun and supportive environment where everyone mucks in and helps each other out… find out more

Heart & Soul with Sarah Warwick & Malcolm Stern
Friday 2 to Monday 5 May (Bank Holiday)

An uplifting and potent mix of singing, dancing and sharing; a time to connect deeply with heart and soul. This will be an opportunity to rediscover your passion for life as we welcome and embrace the new energies of spring. We will create a safe and intimate environment in which to open to our authentic selves. The weekend will include psychodrama to understand your true self, singing, meditation using sound, dance and movement… find out more

Successful Relationships with Juliette Smith
Friday 9 to Sunday 11 May

How often do you pretend to be someone you’re not? Do you wear a mask sometimes? Whether at work or at home, are you always your authentic self? If you would like to be yourself more often, by first of all finding out who that really is, then come and join us for an experiential and engaging weekend... find out more


Fiction Writing with Leigh Russell
Friday 23 May to Monday 26 May (Bank Holiday)
Run by experienced creative writing tutor Leigh Russell, this course on how to write fiction presents techniques to engage readers’ interest and keep them turning the pages. Offering plenty of scope for students to develop their own writing skills, the course will consider areas including character, plot, structure, pace and language. Leigh teaches students ranging from bestselling authors to complete beginners and is well known for her encouraging teaching methods... find out more

Comedy Improvisation with Alison Goldie
Friday 30 May to Sunday 1 June
An introduction to improvisation by an expert practitioner. Using a wide range of games and exercises it covers: mindmapping, storytelling, character-building, status-play, comedy-business, how to fail happily and devising skills.The class gives participants confidence and the ability to think on their feet (useful for all sorts of situations!). It stimulates creativity and helps unlock the huge range of characters and stories within, that can be used to delight an audience, professionally or in everyday life. It aims to broaden comic and performance skills, motivate mind and body, and release lots of laughter in the process... find out more

Music & Storytelling with Tom Morley & Dawn Ellis
Friday 6 June to Sunday 8 June
Welcome to our world. Step back in time, to long before TV and music streaming, when entertainment was LIVE! Drumming, Storytelling, Harmony Singing and Dancing will be combined in this inspiring weekend. Easy warm-ups will entice you to forget the week and be completely there, full bodied and with bags of energy to drum. Harmony singing and Dancing will uplift our spirits and touch our hearts and spirits and Stories will bring magic and enchantment... find out more

How to Get to The Grange
Getting to The Grange is easy – it’s a direct train ride away from London Waterloo, with a short connecting boat-ride across the Solent.

Feel free to call us at The Grange on: 01983 867 644 if you have any questions and to book any of these creative courses. Alternatively, you can Book Online.   

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Comedy Writing Courses 

Come to Skyros and learn how to write comedy and how to improvise in comedy. Professional comedians, including Arthur Smith, Karen Hayley and Andy Ford, offer guidance and tips in the tricks of the comedy trade. These comedy courses are running on the beautiful Greek island of Skyros this summer and at The Grange, Isle of Wight. 

You don’t need to be a professional comedian or an aspiring comedy writer to join any of our comedy courses. You can take part with no experience whatsoever! 

Whether you’re interested in stand-up comedy, writing sitcoms or just generally being more funny, you’ll gain a greater awareness of different comic styles, create a comedy persona and generally get really creative. You can also build your confidence, hone your communication skills and have a laugh, learning from people who really know what it takes to be funny - all in stunning, inspirational surroundings. 

The comedy courses take place between June and September, at either the renowned Writers' Lab at the Skyros Centre, where you can focus in-depth on comedy, or in Atsitsa Bay, where comedy is always part of the mix on the holiday. See below for comedy courses in Skyros this season... 

Comedy Writing Courses at the Skyros Centre:

Creating Comedy - Arthur Smith
Sat 13 - Sat 20 Sep 2014 – Skyros Centre
There are three rules of comedy.  Unfortunately no one can remember what they are! In these sessions we shall do our best to recover them and to bring out the funny in every student. Whether you wish to write gags, sitcoms or plays you will find something here to stimulate you.  At the end of the course we will present a comedy night... read more

Arthur Smith is a comedian, writer and broadcaster.  He has performed comedy all over the world and has written every form of comedy from stand-up one liners to full length plays and screenplays.  His play An Evening with Gary Lineker ran for several years in the West End. He appears regularly on Radio 4 but finds that he is best known for the BBC show Grumpy Old Men. His acclaimed autobiography My Name is Daphne Fairfax was published last summer... read more

Writing Comedy - Logan Murray
Sat 7 - 14 Jun 2014 Skyros Centre

Nurture your sense of humour, develop your comedy technique and uncover your unique comic voice to make people laugh.  The group will explore different forms of humour writing and technique to help ignite your inner comic genius, formulate new ideas and to execute these ideas in novel and dynamic ways.  You will learn some tricks of the trade and gain a great awareness of a multitude of comic styles... read more

Logan Murray is a working comic and award winning director, author of Teach Yourself Stand Up Comedy, and a script consultant for BBC3.  He has recently run a series of writing workshops for the Radio Four Comedy Department.  His courses offer a unique opportunity to find out what a comedian's job is like and explore his belief that comedy really is a life more

Comedy Improvisation Courses at Atsitsa Bay:
From 28 Jun - 20 Sep 2014 

Every holiday at Atsitsa Bay on Skyros island includes the option for a comedy course and we’ve some fantastic facilitators to help you learn how to write comedy and improvise. Holidays at Atsitsa Bay are fun, enriching and life-affirming. In addition to the comedy course, you can take your pick from seven other courses during your holiday, with subjects ranging from Windsurfing to Life Coaching. So at the same time as learning and having fun, you’ll gain the opportunity to connect with people, all on a beautiful Greek island. Now, read about our comedy facilitators and course dates at Atsitsa Bay….

Andy Ford
Sat 28 Jun - Sat 5 Jul & Sat 5 Jul - Fri 18 Jul 2014
One of the leading pantomime comics in the UK with a successful spot on ITV prime time, much television work and a Royal Variety Performance under his belt, Andy Ford has also starred alongside many entertainers including David Hasselhoff, Henry Winkler and Barbara Windsor.  The Art of Comedy has long been a passion for Andy, and to share his knowledge and expertise with budding performers is something that he really enjoys doing... read more

Karen Hayley
Sat 23 - Sat 30 Aug 2014 
A leading comedy writer, performer and voice over artist, Karen has substantial experience in film, TV and theatre. Best known for her performances in The Armstrong & Miller Show (BBC1), Bo Selecta (C4), Fool Britannia by Dom Jolly, and MTV, she has written TV and radio comedy projects for a wide variety of production companies, from Hat Trick Productions to Talkback Thames. Karen performs live comedy regularly in London... read more

Ailon Freedman
Sat 19 - Sat 26 Jul & Sat 26 Jul - Fri 8 Aug 2014
As a character comedian Ailon has performed around the country as his alter ego Trev the Yogic Builder and Reiki Ron, and also produced his own comedy films.  Ailon is interested in the therapeutic value of comedy, seeing laughter and play as a wonderful way to help us take ourselves a little less seriously.  A multifaceted creative arts facilitator, he also runs workshops in the corporate and personal-development worlds… read more

Andrew Risner 
Sat 9 - Fri 22 Aug 2014
A leading trainer, facilitator and coach with a background in stand up comedy, Andrew has been a member of the magic circle and is an NLP Master Practitioner and certified hypnotherapist. He is an empathic and sensitive facilitator who is able to create and maintain an atmosphere of trust and respect and brings a wealth of fun and insight to his workshops... read more

John Cremer
Sat 30 Aug - Fri 12 Sep 2014
John has been improvising since 1993 when he worked with the legendary Louis Anthony Russo and also with Playback Theatre of Arizona.  In 2001 he formed the Maydays, an award-winning improvisation company, and their sold out performances at the Brighton and Edinburgh Festivals attract rave reviews.  Trained himself by top improvisers, he was recently invited to perform in the longest running improv show in Chicago Whirled News Tonight.  John is also the author of Improv, and Reading People - he is an expert in an uncannily accurate method of reading people!... read more

Comedy Course at The Grange, Isle of Wight

Comedy & Creativity - Logan Murray
Friday 18 - Monday 21 April (Easter) 2014

Unlock your inner idiot for fun and profit! Do you want to learn the basic principles of comedy? Would you like to learn how easy it is to be funny? Would you like tips for performing in front of a live crowd? Then this weekend taster into the world of live comedy could be for you. In two and a half days you will discover your inner comic and then - if you’re brave enough - unleash it on an unsuspecting audience on the last day!... read more

What is a Skyros Holiday?

It’s a holiday where people can explore new possibilities, pursue new ideas and unearth talents they didn’t even suspect they possessed. Take a look at our website if you’d like to know more about holidays at Atsitsa Bay or the Skyros Centre

Ready to Book Your Comedy Course?

For all courses on Skyros, you can Book Online, or give us a call on Tel: 01983 865 566 and we’ll answer any questions you might have. For the comedy course at The Grange, please call The Grange direct on Tel: 01983 867 644.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Kickstart your future on a Greek island holiday ...

Do you want to uncover new passions, reach new insights or make a move toward positive change? Whether it's personal or professional development, the world renowned Life Choices programme, a unique combination of life coaching courses, held in the charming Skyros Village on Skyros island, Greece, has something to offer.

Thousands of people from all walks of life have joined the Life Choices holidays over the years. Once here, you're guided by facilitators chosen for their warmth and integrity as much as for their expertise. There's the opportunity to explore entrepreneurship, public speaking, music, performance, positive psychology and much more as you choose from a varied selection of course-themes including 'successful relationships', 'creating confidence', 'mindful living' and 'follow your dreams' – there really is something for everyone.


As The Skyros Centre is also home to the Writers' Lab and Art Studio holidays, you'll find yourself in the centre of a vibrant community. The long, sandy beach is just a pleasant ten minute walk away, while the charming village location offers a taste of Greek life with a variety of tavernas, bars, restaurants and gift shops to explore. All this and morning yoga too ... Step back from everyday routines, immerse yourself in workshops and relax in the company of new friends. 

Prices start from £625 for a week-long holiday and include:

* life coaching course

* early morning yoga classes

* half board meals (usually breakfast and lunch)

* accommodation on a twin shared basis.

Single upgrades are available

The Life Choices programme at the Skyros Centre is a blend of courses aimed at supporting you with making positive changes in your life. Courses run during the summer from June through to September.

Find out more at the Skyros website: or call us on Tel: +44 (0)1983 865 566 or if you're ready to book, go to our online booking form.

Good food, great company and inspiring life coaching courses on the beautiful Greek island of Skyros - it's a winning combination.

Skyros Writers' Lab participant, Paula Iley, snags a publisher ...

The Skyros Writers' Lab in Skyros island, Greece, offers an escape in which to enjoy the joys and struggles of the writing process in a beautiful location with first-class tutoring, delicious food and great company. We are always delighted when we hear news from our holidays participants, especially success stories. And this week we are pleased to introduce the achievements of soon-to-be-published author Paula Iley (pen name Paula Coston).

Paula at The Writers' Lab
Three years ago Paula Iley thought she knew what she was doing. She went to Skyros island for a two-week writing holiday with a novel in progress for the teenage market under her arm. But day after day of sunshine, sea, good company and stimulating workshops changed all that. They workshops were facilitated by Jane Bidder, who also writes as Sophie King and Janey Fraser, and whose latest novel, a crime thriller, Guilty, is coming out under her own name. Not only during the sessions but in between, Paula and Jane shared parts of Paula’s life story that Jane found fascinating. Jane advised her strongly to think again about where her real tale lay.

Encouraged by Jane’s interest and her firm belief that she had talent, Paula sketched out a synopsis and wrote the tentative first few pages of something else.

If you can get them to me before we leave and if I like them,’ Jane suggested, ‘I’ll discuss your ideas with my agent and get advice for you when we get back to the UK.
Jane Bidder with Paula (far right) in Skyros
Jane loved what Paula came up with; and although her agent was too busy to help Paula at the time, Paula persisted in following Jane’s steer.

Paula has a full-time job; but fast forward three years of evening and weekend writing, research, re-writing and more, and the novel is done. And after twenty-three attempts, she has found a publisher for the result. Called On the Far Side, There’s a Boy, Paula’s novel – to be published in late April-early May by John Hunt Publishing – is a tale of a woman who discovers she will possibly always remain childless, unless she rediscovers a boy she once wrote to long ago in the exotic landscape of Sri Lanka. She goes to find him, but, as it transpires, it’s not all about the boy….

The Book Cover
Already acclaimed by Jamila Gavin (Whitbread-award-winning author of Coram Boy, made into a show for London and Broadway) as ‘an absorbing tale… written in a wonderful new, contemporary voice’ and Katie Fforde, women’s novelist, as ‘a well-written and intriguing read’, the book can be described, Paula says, as ‘Philhomena meets Life of Pi meets 84 Charing Cross Road’.

We'd like to say a massive congratulations to Paula for her achievements. If you'd like to know more about them, Paula blogs under her pen name Paula Coston on the themes of the book at Or if you are interested in hearing more about her writing journey, do contact her at and she can send you her e-letter.

If you are a budding or closet author who would like advice, support and encouragement from an experienced author, then the Skyros Writers' Lab holidays could be ideal for you. Follow your dreams. Find out more, including dates and prices for this summer's writing holidays in Greece, at the Skyros website:

You can also view the online Skyros brochure:, or send us an email to We'd be delighted to talk you through the details.

Happy writing!

Ditch The Gloom - Escape To Moroccan Sunshine

Fed up with this chilly weather? The Skyros March Morocco holiday is a great opportunity for a burst of sunshine, but you'll want to book soon to be in with the best flight prices. In just a few hours, you'll be relaxing in the sun on a small group adventure that promises to be anything except dull.

This adventure starts on March 15th and includes a fabulous melee of yoga, meditation, talks, visits and a Moroccan cooking class. All this is combined with artistic journal making activities (paint, draw, write and capture your holiday memories creatively) to create one truly unforgettable experience that will inspire for long after the suntan has faded.

If you can't make it this March, catch up on a little winter sunshine during Skyros' second Morocco holiday in November - with a slight difference: In place of journal making, explore 'The Artist’s Ark' – an indulgence of expressive painting, movement, dance, meditation and writing.

The holiday price of just £695 includes:

* talks and visits
* art classes, morning meditation and yoga classes in Essaouira
* two evening meals
* 7 nights with breakfast in traditional Moroccan accommodation. For solo travellers we will match you in a twin room with another person (same gender).
* Single upgrades are available

In your free time sample the delicious tagines (a local casserole served in a clay dish), sip the nation's favourite - Moroccan Mint Tea - or relax with a hammam.
More information >>

How to book?

If you would like to join us in Morocco or any of our other destinations, we would be delighted to talk you through the details and answer any questions:

Call us on: +44 (0)1983 86 55 66

Email us at:

Or book online at: