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Made in Ashore.

Side project genesis, a new newsletter for the UK startup world

Caitlin Rozario talks us through her Ashore stay in Devon with her partner Will Webster.

In our latest Made in Ashore, we speak to Caitlin Rozario who stayed with us at The Studio in Stoke Fleming with her partner, Will Webster.

The couple live in South London where Will works from home as a freelance content marketer and Caitlin is the Head of Brand and Culture at a tech startup and founder of interlude, a company that delivers workshops on sustainable productivity to busy workers.

With Caitlin all about exploring different, better ways of working – and Will keen to find them – they were both on board with Ashore from the get go.

The game plan

Caitlin and Will went to Devon with a game plan.

“We’re both creatures of habit, and owning our own businesses has made us even more set in our routines. We both wake up early, exercise, then work til dinner (and, sadly, often after). Obviously we make sure we stop for lunch and take breaks, but it’s typically a pretty long and uninspiring working day otherwise.”

Getting away from the city to Stoke Fleming was an opportunity to hit reset.

“We wanted to make the most of the experience by working very differently to how we do at home.”

Will was spending the trip starting work for a new client, while Caitlin’s aim was to write a couple of editions of her new writing project.

London > Devon

Will and Caitlin had a couple of things in mind for where they wanted to stay: they’d need two workspaces, and they really wanted to be by the sea. The Studio was just the ticket.

The four-hour drive went by in no time. Before they even got to the cottage, though, it was time for a quick stop in Dartmouth - a ten minute drive away..

“Food always comes first, so we went straight to Rockfish for lunch where we gorged on whitebait, creamed spinach and the unlimited chips. We spent a happy half hour in a local bookshop, Browser, chatting to the owner, who told us that we’d come at the perfect time – after months of rain, the forecast was looking glorious.”

With full bellies and a couple of new books, it was on to Stoke Fleming.

The Studio

We were smitten as soon as we arrived at The Studio. The house is so bright but also so snuggy. When we got there it was that perfect winter weather: super sunny but absolutely Baltic. The Studio was perfectly cosy the entire time.”

The beautiful interior at The Studio, DevonThe beautiful interior at The Studio, Devon

They particularly liked the layout of the house – an open plan kitchen/living room on the upper level, with two bedrooms and two bathrooms on the lower floor. Despite The Studio being a cottage, there was plenty of space to spread out.

“We drove down so we basically brought our entire lives with us and there was loads of room for our miscellaneous items (and the *eight* pairs of shoes we brought between us – why?!)”

In terms of set up, Will and Caitlin were keen to try out a few things. The Studio has two workspaces, one in the main living space and one in the second bedroom.

“Both had quite different vibes, so we took it in turns to see which we preferred,” Caitlin told us.

“I really love working in bright airy spaces, so the upstairs desk next to the window that showed a little peek of the sea was perfect for me. I also really loved how big the desk was as I often have lots of books and notes spread around everywhere (organised chaos). The downstairs workspace was really cosy and you felt really tucked away which was great for getting your head down.”

And it seems to have worked out well for Will too:

“Will was so enamoured with the standing desk that he’s in the market for one for our place.”

Creative focus

“I’m launching a new project soon called ‘How Not to Start a Startup’, speaking to founders and industry experts about their cautionary tales and hard won lessons from the early years of running a business.”

“I’ve done nine interviews so far, but I rarely get the chance to have big stretches of focused time,” she told us, “so I was really excited to have the time and space to think creatively and expansively.”

The outcome?

“During our time in Devon, I not only wrote up two pieces that I’m really happy with, I also got to do some reading around the topic and set up the design for the newsletter on the hosting platform. It’s given me so much energy for the project.”

When in Rome

Will and Caitlin managed to squeeze a lot into their Focus stay, with trips to South Milton Sands, Burgh Island, Salcombe, Totnes and Slapton Ley.

Creative inspiration with sun, sea, and sandCreative inspiration with sun, sea, and sand

“My highlight is probably the walk we did from Beesands to the Start Point Lighthouse – the weather was incredible and the views were astonishing. We also got to see the ruins of the little village of Hallsands that was lost to the sea in the last century which was very spooky. We actually came back to Beesands on our last night for a bit of stargazing as the skies were perfectly clear – no Milky Way this time sadly but it was incredible to see so many more stars than we get to sea at home!”

Good food

All those excursions in brisk winter weather calls for some hearty food.

At the studio they found scones, as well as tea, milk and a lovely bottle of sparkling elderflower presse. “I can’t tell you how thrilled we were to be able to have cream tea at 11am every day after our first focus block.”

They were also recommend the Beachhouse in South Milton Sands, as well as Joe’s Bar and Andria in Dartmouth. A last stop in Totnes before heading home took them to Dayne’s Farm Shop (recommended by their waiter at Andria, Charlie, the night before).

New rules

“I don’t want to be dramatic,” said Caitlin, “but I do think staying at Ashore has helped me find my ideal way of working.

“We know scientifically that focused and creative work doesn’t fit very well into the eight-hour work day, but it’s hard to disrupt the normal routine when there’s calls to be had and admin to be done. I can definitely see myself clearing my calendar for a few days once a month to give myself the space to really think.”

Future plans

Caitlin is currently taking bookings for interlude’s sustainable productivity employee workshops – you can connect with her on LinkedIn here.

Continue reading from The Journal:

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