A first child leaving home for university is an emotional time for any mum, so when my daughter was packing up to head south to study, I booked us in for a bit of girlie time.

My two daughters and I booked afternoon tea and a treatment each at Macdonald Craxton Wood Hotel for our last Saturday together in Chester.

Set in beautiful grounds in Ledsham we were all looking forward to a bit of peace, some time to chat, and a chance for me to distribute pearls of wisdom about life in the Big Smoke.

Before our treatments, we managed a swift few lengths of the pool, which looks out onto the garden, and then we split up for a couple of back massages and a facial. I had chosen a hot stone massage which was just the trick for soothing the aching and tense muscles and taking away the stresses and strains of a summer of supervising A Level and GCSE revision.

I am never one to look forward to afternoon tea as I am a coeliac and require a gluten free diet but the hotel came up trumps with a delicious selection of sandwiches, meringues and a small dessert. I still enviously eyed the cream scones the girls were tucking into though as I sipped my tea.

As an aid to digestion we took an hour or so to relax in the relaxation room, which looked out on a small herb and flower garden, planted with lavender and health giving flowers, reading magazines and just chilling.

The fresh water and hot water for tea wasn't topped up regularly which required a lot of padding to reception to request more. There seemed to only be one gentleman serving refreshments and keeping up with supplies in the relaxation room and he seemed to be rushed off his feet.

My only other quibble was that I could only find one toilet with a rather damp hand towel which wasn't changed all day.

For more information visit Macdonald Craxton Wood Hotel spa .