When the seasons start to shift, particularly from warm to cold, I always feel my mood change. The nights draw in, the temperatures fall, and I start to think about the year-end, particularly Christmas and all the extra things I have to do around this time. I do enjoy it, but I know how much energy it requires.
Many of us get so wound up around this time of year that we end up feeling run down, and more often than not, fall foul to a nasty virus. Here at Just For Tummies, it’s one of my busiest times of the year, so I really can’t afford to lose steam, let alone fall ill.
So I planned ahead this year, and in October, I took myself off for six days to relax and recharge at Homefield Grange Luxury Retreat and Spa. I’ve known about Homefield Grange for many years, as Suzanne Peck, who is the co-owner with her partner Hans, is a fellow colon hydrotherapist.
Over the years, I’ve heard lots of good reports about it, particularly the quality of the therapists. I usually go away on a retreat at least once, sometimes twice a year, but I didn’t fancy the flight to my usual place, The Viva Mayr Clinic in Austria. So I thought I’d try and reduce my carbon footprint, as Homefield is just over an hour away by train.
I signed up for the Ultimate Wellness package because it includes treatments I am interested in, one of which is, of course, colon hydrotherapy, and a pre- and post-retreat consultation with a nutritional therapist, as I had lots of things I wanted to discuss regarding diet, hormone balance, energy levels and so on. I really need to be eating foods to keep me well at this time of year – that’s before digging into the mince pies!
To find out more about the Ultimate Wellness package, click here or on the image below.
What was on the menu?
I opted for the one-week juice fast, which consisted of three delicious, freshly pressed juices each day, and a bowl of nourishing homemade vegan soup in the evening – perfect for the change of season.
All the meals and juices at Homefield Grange are prepared by Nathan, a vegan chef, with the help of the housekeepers. There are also daily food demonstrations, where guests are shown how to prepare vegan and raw dishes. One particularly delicious one was the ‘raw’ sushi.
In the dining room, there is a ‘tea station’, with a selection of herbal teas, fresh lemon and mint water, as well as ‘energised’ water. You can just help yourself at any time of the day or night. A lovely touch!
How did I spend my days at Homefield?
I had a fabulous room, the Rose Room, overlooking the gardens and the Northamptonshire countryside. Every evening, there was a card pushed under my door, with either a book recommendation or tips on how to stay on track, as fasting can be challenging.
Here are some of the tips I received:
- Lose the perfectionism
- Carry a healthy snack or two with you, so you’re not reaching for the chocolates and crisps
- Monitor your portion sizes
- Keep your skin free of makeup and perfume whilst detoxing
I found these little reminders useful. When I go on retreat, I don’t want to think. I spend enough of my time thinking and planning, so when it’s my retreat time, the most I want to think about is what treatments I will be having the following day! Homefield provides each guest with a daily itinerary of meal times, exercise classes, treatments, film and talk times, and I found this hugely useful – all I had to do was glance at it each morning, and throughout the day. The two girls in reception, Lucy and Zoe, were also very helpful and a quick trip across the courtyard to reception was always a delight – to have a chat with the girls if I wanted to add extra treatments or buy gifts from the spa shop.
What kinds of activities are on offer?
When it comes to how you fill your time at Homefield Grange, you can do as much or as little as you like. There is plenty to choose from, whether it’s an invigorating session of Nordic walking every morning, or exercise classes such as Boxercise; Bums, Tums and Thighs; Yoga; Stretching, or doing your own workout in the gym. You can also go for long walks in the gorgeous Northamptonshire countryside, or relax in the beautiful spa area that has only been open since January 2019.
I did a great Bums, Tums and Thighs class, but it took me a couple of days to get over it. I’m nearly 60, but still think I can keep up with the 20 year olds! Rein it in, Linda!
I spent a lot of time in the spa – it’s absolutely heavenly. There’s a huge jacuzzi, a sauna, water beds, beds with magnets impregnated in them (great for helping reduce aches and pains) and a spotless steam room – I am very fussy about steam rooms; if there is the slightest hint of a musty smell, I avoid them at all costs. No need for that here, I made full use of every inch of the immaculate spa area.
How about the evenings?
There is a beautiful lounge at Homefield, and during the winter months, you can settle down in front of a roaring log fire – it’s actually lit all day, so I spent a lot of time here reading and catching up on a few emails (I couldn’t resist!)
The lounge doubles up as a lecture room / movie theatre and every evening, there is a talk or film for anyone interested. During my stay, the films shown included ‘Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead’ – Parts 1 and 2, ‘The Sugar Film’, ‘Simply Raw – Reversing Diabetes’, and nutritional talks on various different subjects, healthy snacking, how to stay on track, and how to look after yourself. All super enlightening.
What were the results of my week of wellness?
No doubt about it, the treatments gave my body a clean slate feeling, both inside and out. My skin looked better, it felt smoother, eyes larger and brighter. I’ve always loved massages, reflexology, and facials, and these helped me to relax. I didn’t realise how tense I was until I arrived at Homefield. It took me a couple of days to ‘peel myself from the ceiling’, but once I’d got into the Homefield way, I found Linda again. (Image of me)
As for the juice detox, for the first three days, I had headaches, a lack of energy, a furred tongue and odorous perspiration. I clearly had some toxins to eliminate, but after 3 days, all these symptoms disappeared, and I felt clear-headed and invigorated.
The retreat helped me to lose 10lbs, which I’ve kept it off. It’s not easy, but Just For Tummies is getting busier and busier, I turn 60 in February 2020, and I will become a grandmother in the same month, so I want to be as healthy and fit as I can be for the new and exciting challenges ahead.
I can’t recommend the Homefield experience enough. It is spotlessly clean, but warm and welcoming too. The staff are incredible – nothing is too much trouble for them; the therapists are highly qualified and deliver the most wonderful treatments, and there is no pressure to pack lots into your day if your main goal is to simply relax.
I enjoyed it so much that I’ve booked to go again at the beginning of January for four nights. The perfect way to start 2020!