Beautiful, Precious ME…and cancer!

May 1st - 8th 2024 // October 7th - 13th 2024
 Contact us to be considered.

A retreat that sees our resident writer Aga Lesiewicz and one of our founders Carla Octigan, bring their personal experience of breast cancer to a week of acknowledgement, writing and joy. 



Do you need time? Space? Connection? To laugh? To Cry? A hug? All this and so much more awaits you in this week of Tuscan Springtime. Bring all of yourself, your fears, your desires, your anger, your dreams. Here you can express it all.
A retreat that is focused on supporting you or those who support you through this uniquely personal experience.
Both Aga and Carla's very different experiences of the cancer journey work together to create a safe space to help you move forward.
We will wish you “Sogni D’oro” every night. Sleep well!




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SR BPM Castiglione Del Lago

Everything included on Retreat
Daily writing workshops with Aga
Daily Tai Chi sessions with Nicola
1-2-1 sessions with Aga to guide your writing project
A 90min Amatsu treatment with Nicola
A Beautiful bedroom and communal spaces
All food and soft drinks at the House
Countryside walks & trips to our favourite Italian spots
Connection with like minded Creatives
Support through your healing journey

Not included on retreat:
Travel insurance
Flight costs
Airport transfers
Visa fee
Additional treatments
Meals when we go out to restaurants
Additional activities not included in the itinerary

SR BPM Picnic
SR CW Aga Teaching 1

All of your meals at home will be tasty and nutritious. Everything will be laid out for you, so that you can focus on writing and get time to quieten your mind amongst nature. Equally though, we will be more than happy to show you our favourite spots in the area for delicious dinners, an apertivo or ice cream!!


Processing through writing

For Aga, as a writer, it was the natural thing to do. It was a way of escaping the scary and unpredictable reality of being a cancer patient into a world she could control. She'd been doing it for years in her books: weaving narratives where she was the puppet-master.

Now my writing had a new purpose: it turned the chaos and bleakness of life filled with hospital appointments and fear into a story I was in charge of.

It helped a lot. Of course it did, our brains love a good story, they are ‘story processors’ that turn our seemingly random lives into plots that make sense.

And then I realised what was so scary about this new life: it didn’t make sense. The shock of the diagnosis, being suddenly transformed from a self-reliant adult into a patient whose life depended on the decisions made by others - doctors, nurses, therapists - it all seemed alien to me. But gradually I got used to the new regime, punctuated by hospital appointments, treatments, and excruciating waits for test results.  





SR House Night L

‘Story emerges from human minds as naturally as breath emerges from between human lips. You don’t have to be a genius to master it. You’re already doing it.’

And so, you slowly regain the sense of mastery and control that you were denied during treatment. By writing about it, you put the experience of cancer in its right place: not by forgetting about it, pretending it didn’t happen, or denying its power, but by using it to your advantage. This is your story to tell. 

Whether it’s letters, journaling, emails, social media posts, blogs, memoir, poetry or fiction, writing helps us understand ourselves and our lives. It helps us process our feelings, it lets us share them with others, and it heals.   

Through a series of gentle writing exercises and informal workshops led by Aga, you’ll have an opportunity to learn how to express your feelings and regain control of your life story in a safe and supportive environment.



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Your Writing Teacher, Aga Lesiewicz, is a London-based fiction author and screenwriter.

She began her career as a radio presenter, and subsequently worked as a voice-over artist, interpreter, TV promo producer and director. A serious knee injury in 2013 forced her to give up her day job and write her first novel.
Her two psychological thrillers ‘Rebound’ and ‘Exposure’ have been published by Pan Macmillan. A feature animated film based on her screenplay is currently in pre-production. She writes full time and is now working on her third London-based psychological thriller as well as a historical novel.

Aga has an MA in English from the University of Warsaw and an MPhil in English Literature from the University of Lancaster.



SR Aga Exposure
SR Aga regarde moi
SR Aga Brains

SR NicolaNicola, our Amatsu bodyworker and Tai Chi practitioner, will be joining us in May. 

Post Aga’s mastectomy she met Nicola and developed her own Tai Chi practice. Along with having regular Amatsu treatments, she found the Tai Chi an immensely powerful healing tool. It helped to bring her mind and body back together, which many people find difficult post the trauma of such invasive surgery.

Each morning on retreat, you will begin the day with a Tai Chi session, aimed at grounding us in the here and now and waking into our bodies, minds and hearts. Tai Chi and Qi Gong are both low intensity physical activities, a mindful moving meditation that can be practiced standing or seated.  It’s suitable for all ages, abilities and levels of fitness so anyone can enjoy its benefits. 

You will have an opportunity to experience a one to one Amatsu session for yourself, along with a daily practice of Tai Chi, this week, will be one of grounded creativity.

What is Amatsu?

With both Tai Chi and Amatsu you are gently and slowly exploring the edges of your range of movement with interested curiosity.  Always staying within your comfort zone, easing into improved wellbeing.  Always respectful of your body, never forcing anything.  Your body takes from both just what it needs and only as much as it can integrate.  Each session is personal to you.  Your Tai Chi practice is yours to meet and your Amatsu sessions are tailored to you, exactly as you are, working with you, right here and right now.




Investment for your Beautiful, Precious ME Retreat

We have a few options to tailor to all of your needs. Whether you need your own space, want to come along with a few friends or share with a partner, we have you covered.
This retreat is ideal for 5 - 8 guests only. Everything included on retreat is reflected in your choice of investment below.

Deluxe Ground Floor Room, Private Bathroom, Single Occupancy = £2760.
Deluxe Ground Floor Room, Private Bathroom, Double Occupancy = £2070 (pp) based on two people sharing a King bed or Twin beds.
Deluxe Ground Floor Room, Private Bathroom, Triple Occupancy =£1725 (pp) based on three people sharing with a single bed each. (Must be a group of three)
1st Floor Room with a Shared Bathroom, Single Occupancy = £2415
1st Floor Room with a Shared Bathroom, Double Occupancy = £1840 (pp) based on two people sharing a Queen bed or Twin beds.

Payment plans are available upon request.

Travel Details

We are set in the beautiful countryside on the border of Tuscany and Umbria.
Our nearest train station is Chiusi-Chianciano Terme.
Our nearest local airport is Sant'Egidio Airport (PEG - Perugia)
Our nearest major airports are Fiumicino Airport (FCO - Rome), Galileo Galilei Airport (PSA - Pisa)

If you are flying in to Perugia, a taxi is your best method of transport to come to us and is around 90euros from the taxi rank.
If a few of you are flying in that way, the cost will of course be less. We can help organise a larger pick up if necessary for you to split cost.
Train transfer from all other airports is quite easy, and we can help you with tickets and directions. We will always be happy to pick you up from Chiusi train station.


Follow us on Instagram @_a_time_to_shine_

Beautiful poppies ...

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Breakfast treasures when you find truffle in your garden 🪴 #retreatsinitaly #tuscany #retreat ...

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July 12th - 18th 2024
Only Two 1st floor rooms left!

Everything included on Retreat:

Daily Acting workshops with Susan
Daily Yoga sessions with Natalie
A 90min Massage with Sophie
A Beautiful bedroom and communal spaces
All food and soft drinks at the House
Countryside walks and trips to local Italian spots
Gaining all the tools that Actors need for Camera work and Auditions
Connection with like minded Creatives

Link in bio for full information


@reidforit @susangreid

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Get on camera and audition ready with @reidforit @susangreid this July. Only 2 rooms left.

Immerse yourself in great material. Enjoy workshops, 1-2-1s, a safe and beautiful environment and experienced peers.

Start your day with yoga each morning to prime your body and imagination.

July 12th - 18th.

For more information see link in bio


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Today, we bid farewell to the @wildfire_bc_magazine crew, while the house will feel empty, we will feel both abundance and loss.

Your openness, knowledge & laughter will echo through our thoughts. I, @octigan will take myself back to our collective writing practices with joy and miss sharing and therefore experiencing the many differing perspectives.

@i_heart_my_life 🙏 for bringing together such a beautiful team of women together, for being such a wonderful conduit for connection and healing.

@angelafirman11 wow, your honesty and humour have been so inspiring. Please write that book, though I will want to listen to the audiobook so that the delivery is yours. ❤️

@emilypiercell , such gentle wisdom and understanding, it was an honour to share all things 🇮🇹 with you. connecting the emotional and physical aspects of breast cancer is a world close to my ❤️ you do it beautifully

@aga_lesiewicz 🙏 for your desire to bring this all together, I feel this is just the beginning of connecting the dots of a future unknown.

6 women, 6 different experiences, a clear understanding that no two stories are the same, that every perspective is valid and needs space and holding.

#writingthroughbreastcancer #writingretreat #breastcancer #shineretreats #summer2024 #tastesandtreatsretreat #tuscanyretreat #umbriaretreat #creativewriting

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Our retreats are always a blend of nurturing time, creative time and then exploring time.

Yesterday, after our creative writing workshop, we hit the road to immerse our guests in some hidden local gems.

We tasted cheese, bought wine and drank with the locals.

What would you do with a week of me time?

#writingthroughbreastcancer #writingretreat #breastcancer #shineretreats #summer2024 #tastesandtreatsretreat #tuscanyretreat #umbriaretreat #creativewriting

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Day 2 Energy, we’re ramping up with the amazing @wildfire_bc_magazine crew @emilypiercell @angelafirman11 @i_heart_my_life Such an honour to be hosting women whose lives are about empowering and supporting women. ...

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