by Annette Kellow 

Sometimes in life we all need a little getaway. It can be a tranquil walk, a relaxing bath, some beautifully scented spa treatments... or a combination of all three!

Feeling like I needed a little TLC I discovered Ockendon Manor Spa and Hotel, based in Haywards Heath and handily just under one hour from London.

Arriving at Ockendon, which is set in acres of land with an abundance of flower beds, gardens and countryside I loved how peaceful the surroundings were and how friendly all the staff were as they helped me in looking rather disheveled from the rain!

My friend and I were excited to see our itinerary which had been carefully planned but first some snack indulgence! Off The Eaten Path are a new range of delicious snacks made with real vegetables. They have a high source of fibre whilst they come in delicious flavours such as sour cream, cracked black pepper or caramelised onion (naturally I simply had to try them all).

A lovely spread of all the flavours had been put out for us to nibble on (which we did more than nibble on by getting through a whole delicious bowl!)
We then had a walk organised with Devon based expert ramblers Two Blondes Walking, a duo with a wealth of information on how to get started in hiking.

annette-ockenden

We had a lovely afternoon finding our way through lush green fields and wooded areas close by. Two Blondes Walking are something of the connoisseurs of hiking, with a refreshing blog, authors of three books and some amazing tips which would make even the most fearful of walking get their waterproofs on and get outside! Their reason for this is to build confidence whilst we discussed the importance of how it can improve mental health and physical ability.

I think my favourite tip from them was that a long distance walk can burn a high amount of calories so it's good to bring snacks to keep you going (eating is recommended and you burn calories? I'm sold!) They also spoke of wearing layers of clothing that you can easily remove or add depending on the weather and I loved hearing their Devonshire tales of cold water swimming too.

After arriving at our hotel room, we delighted in all the details laid out. White fluffy robes, some Off The Eaten Path snacks and a small bottle of champagne greeted us. My friend Millicent and I decided to head straight to the outside jacuzzi which looked rather inviting, even though it had begun raining again! That didn't stop us as it was heated and we had a good chat before trying out the sauna and steam room. The staff were able to assist us in every way (even charging my phone when I ran out of battery) and the time melted away until it was evening.
After a long drawn out bubble bath and a small snooze, we visited the restaurant on hearing that their food was prize worthy.

Indeed there was a tasting menu featuring several courses but we decided to try the three course meal, which arrived with a delightful glass of fizz.
I tried the cod loin accompanied with a variation of fresh vegetables. It was so mouth watering we could see why the whole restaurant was packed within minutes of them announcing dinner!

The hotel rooms are also extremely cosy and inviting, and after all our walking, chatting, eating and swimming there was only one thing for it- off to bed. And as they say, a good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything.

Off The Eaten Path snacks are now available from leading retailers including Sainsburys, WHSmith and Ocado.
www.twoblondeswalking.com
www.hshotels.co.uk/ockenden-manor