I moved here with my husband, John, in September 2014.  We chose Potton Hall because it would be a quiet place for us to retire. Our backgrounds were as accountants. I had already sold my practice in Maidstone five years before John retired. By 2019, I was bored. 

I started digging up the garden, it was completely wild. Each morning, I would charge my phone, connect my earphones and dig. I could dig all day.  I also made juice from the fruit trees and wheatgrass. I confess that I did mix it up a bit with wine. John was worried about making a bigger garden to maintain but I didn’t have anything else to do. The children were at school. They would go off each morning after plenty of juice, often no cereal but plenty of juice! One day green juice, next day yellow juice…

So I was playing my african music and digging the garden, the neighbours were getting a bit fed up – their sheep were interested in the music and would come over to see me.  O my goodness, this was proving a lot of work – too much. Not only was it hard work but I was producing gallons of juice and so much produce, we couldn’t eat it all. 

I was speaking with a friend one day and it suddenly came to me loud and clear, a voice from somewhere above – health and wellbeing retreats. That was it, within three weeks the first visitors where in the cottages. They ate amazing freshly grown produce, took part in online meditation, exercise and used the pool and hot tub. My visitors had a great time. They were sleeping better, feeling better and it felt fantastic to help people. What’s more it was keeping me out of mischief! 

Feedback suggested that visitors wanted treatments; facials, massage, manicure and pedicure.  Ok, so I went off to do more training myself and set about finding good therapists.  

The changing rooms near the yurt had been built originally for John to use as a man cave but he never really used it so I said to him: “use it or lose it”. He lost it!  I would wake up early, prepare lunches for about six visitors who came for treatments. They would have an amazing, healthy lunch and leave very happy. There was good demand so I took on some extra help and my sister arrived from Zambia – Yippee. We began further conversion of the cart shed into treatment rooms.   

Then came COVID. We were in lockdown. John had been reluctant about my plans for Potton Hall but I knew we could use the time we were closed to good effect. Whilst COVID brought many challenges, it also gave me the time to add more changing rooms and the sauna.  Then, Boris said yes to cafes and introduced a food and drink discount scheme for August 2020. With the spa still closed, all our attention turned to the Yurt. Could this be a café in one week, hell yeah! Despite the pandemic The Yurt was busy and we had so much fun. Expectation was low, visitors were just glad to be out and they felt safe in the fresh air at Potton Hall. My cooking style is healthy, freshly prepared, quality produce, well presented. I needed to find the ideal chef who could interpret my culture and cooking style into a unique Potton Hall dining experience.

We had to close again throughout the winter of 2020/21. The Spa only reopened in Summer 2021. As soon as we opened we were really busy. By this time, I had found Sarah. She helps me so much more than as a receptionist.  I have since hired two more receptionists because I want to be open seven days a week.  I now have two more therapists as well. Our team at Potton Hall is growing.

The recording studio came with the house but wasn’t part of our original plan. We thought about selling it but didn’t want another business so close to Potton Hall. We have embraced it and it is now an important part of what we do here. The musicians come with their own producers and equipment and we meet such interesting, talented people.  

One of the best things about Potton Hall is the diverse range of people who visit. Talented musicians and opera sopranos dine amongst Spa guests in fluffy robes and cold water swimmers, warming up with hot soup after a plunge in our pool. We have great plans for Potton Hall in the future and the studio is part of them. When it isn’t being used as a recording studio, it will be a venue for private functions and events, such as weddings and craft fayres. Potton Hall won’t be for everyone but I continue to learn something new everyday, laugh a lot everyday and welcome visitors to share my home and everything it has to offer.