I’ve been to Yeotown

Sharp-eyed readers may have noticed a slight lull in new posts and responses to queries over the past few days. That’s because I’ve been in an internet-free seclusion zone…

As my birthday approached my husband thought he would surprise me with five days of luxurious pampering at Yeotown, which was named as ‘Best Spa Retreat 2012’ in the Conde Nast Traveller Readers’ Spa Awards and is situated on the banks of the River Yeo, in Devon.

It didn’t quite turn out to be the tranquil break that I had imagined. Instead, it was a shock to the system: a full on, five-day programme that challenges guests in every way possible. Run by Simon Sieff and Mercedes Ngoh for up to 10 people at a time, it is a serious, relentless assault on your lifestyle and diet, challenging you both physically and mentally to a level that, at one point, I thought would prove impossible. But having completed the course, I feel fantastic and energised. Best of all I can see what adjustments need to be made in my much too fast, stressed-out lifestyle, and I know how to eat and drink in a far healthier way too. I owe a great deal to Yeotown, for everything I learned in just five days.

Access to the media was deliberately minimised. There were no phones, no iPads and no TVs permitted. Instead there were hill climbs and hikes across the stunning Devon scenery. Only the morning newspapers with our breakfast smoothies provided a window to the outside world for the four of us attending: Sarah from London, Susy from South Devon, my husband and me.

It was very blowy at times on the hills, but fortunately we missed the heavy rain. Every day we climbed moorlands around the sea, and once on the tops of the hills there were wild ponies and goats with their young. Our presence caused them no problems at all. We even sheltered in the clearings of some bushes that were still warm from where the ponies had been. We were treated to some of the most stunning views in England, driven forward by our guide Davy, whose army background was hugely impressive and whose attitude was an inspiration. Can, not can’t” is the motto he led us by, even as we climbed the steepest gradients around the most rugged of coastlines. I trusted him and I was right to do so. Today he is on duty with the Queen as she visits Exeter. She is in safe hands!

Returning to Yeotown post-hike, we stretched out with some vibrant yoga from the expert Mercedes, and hilarious exercise sessions with Jason, a rugby-playing personal trainer, before a series of informative talks to encourage us to think more about how we live our lives and how better to control them. Then it was massage, sauna and bed.

Perhaps the most important lesson I’ve learned is about diet. Prior to the course I was advised to stop eating sugar, meat and gradually stop drinking coffee, but I didn’t take this too seriously and made half-hearted efforts. It was a mistake because this trip was also a detox regime, and  I suffered an extreme reaction to withdrawal of caffeine. Put simply, I had been innocently drinking several cups of coffee a day, sometimes drinking coffee instead of eating food, and thinking it was helping to hydrate me. Coming off caffeine caused me a day and night of horrendous headaches and sickness. I had no idea how serious a problem it can be, nor the important impact good food and drink has on the body and mind. Thankfully Yeotown’s magician of a cook, Camilla, provided nutritious and delicious vegetarian food with the occasional bit of fish that gave us real food for thought.

And how did it end? The biometric readings and measurements I came away with were brilliant, and I have a new-found respect for my diet. I feel calmer, yet more energised. I can make improvements to my lifestyle. Other visitors to Yeotown leave with different goals. My husband lost four inches around his waist in just five days and is thrilled with his newly streamlined look. Some people emerge with a different attitude, a greater understanding of their emotional issues and through being shown how, a greater ability to let go of their worries and stresses. I was told the hard part is making up your mind to do something, not actually doing it, so I’m personally going to do some tweaks here and there and see how it goes.

Overall, the price was very fair. There was a lot of pampering as well whilst at the same time all the sessions had a serious and sound purpose to them. I think it was well worth every penny, and I intend to return. In the meantime, many thanks to all who were involved.

Now the blog can resume with renewed vigour…!


DT - May 2, 2012 at 2:07pm

It has been rather quiet Marilyn!

I’m glad you’ve had a fruitful trip. 

Time away from the iPad & iPhone etc. can be a bit of a wrench, but I always feel better for it, despite my protestations!

I gave up meat last November as it didn’t agree with me. I tried some again recently and it’s affect reinforced why I shouldn’t eat it.

Since I discovered de-caf Earl Grey, I’ve really noticed a difference; that’s not to say I don’t have any caffeine, but the reduction was noticeable.

Lord Sacks is right, isn’t he?!

Happy Birthday.



Marilyn Stowe - May 2, 2012 at 2:42pm

Many thanks for your kind comments as always!

Arnold Brill - May 2, 2012 at 5:04pm

We had similar weather in Tenerife last week , off to Canada and the U.S.A next wednesday, might have better weather ! keep fit.

Marilyn Stowe - May 2, 2012 at 5:48pm

Hi Arnold!
What a nice surprise. Thanks very much. Your comment came in as I was visiting my parents. They send you their best wishes. Have a great time.
Much love

Reader in Israel - May 3, 2012 at 3:15pm


you have the figure of an 18 year old and you go to a health farm??????
I think your husband lost weight from being the only male in the gang of four!

Leave a comment