BY LAURA CRANSTON

SEAHAM HALL x TEMPLE SPA




SEAHAM HALL

Seaham hall, one of my top 5 spa's & its based in the north east - winning.

The reason its so good? It has such a lush entrance - I know that sounds daft but you feel so special when you're in the grounds of the hotel & spa. Anything that makes you feel special, carry on doing it.
The spa is huge but you're still made to feel welcomed throughout the whole day. The staff are so attentive.
It's modern but with a far eastern feel making you feel tranquil and calm.




The reason I visited Seaham Hall was because I got wind that they now stock Temple Spa & creating treatments with the Temple Spa products. ( Plus I was lucky enough to be invited!)

Temple Spa is one of those brands that you may not necessarily recognise by just mentioning it, but you may if you seen the logo & recognise it because its normally the brand in hotel rooms & in spa's.

They're the kind of products that you want in your bathroom because they smell like spa's!

So the reason why i'm excited by this news? I'm a spa addict - GUILTY. But when I'm at the spa I love to look around the shop section & if I see a brand I recognise I instantly feel at ease that I know if I buy anything from the brand I know it will be amazing. Plus I like when spa's do treatments with Branded products. Thats not me being a snob thats just me feeling at ease that I'm getting what I paid for.


So whilst I was at Seaham Hall I obviously had to spend the full day basking in the sun because it was a glorious day which is rare but if you are ever bored in the summer I highly recommend going to a spa when its sunny because theres something amazing about being in a spa in your swimwear & dressing gown being able to have massages, eat & sunbathe. Plus they have the most unreal outside space that you need to make the most of - with a cocktail in one hand.


FOOD

Still in our gowns, we headed to their pan asian restaurant located in the spa - the ozone restaurant.

Its so nice to have a restaurant that is not your usual food so we tucked in, ordering about 4 starters as picky bits because I didn't feel like eating a big meal in my swimsuit so the best option was to order little plates so you get to try everything. It was also nice to eat outside on their terrace in the restaurant because its sheltered by lots of greenery so its nice and private.



TREATMENTS

As I have mentioned - Seaham Hall now do treatments with Temple spa products & theres loads of new treatments to cover your every need.

My need was my back - its needed some TLC with some hot stones so I went for 'ROCKS OF THE MEDITERRANEAN' which was bloody fantastic. Plus I have to say, if you're going as a couple then they have the most gorgeous couples massage rooms with floor to ceiling doors which were open because it was such a nice day so instead of spa music we had our very own birds singing soundtrack.

The spa has such a huge verity of treatments that its almost hard to chose but it just means no matter how many times you come theres always a new one to try! Click HERE to view their Temple Spa treatments.




Have you been to Seaham Hall before?   

Laura xox

BLOG PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS FOR BEAUTY PRODUCTS

When I first started my blog, I’d just completed a photography degree. So it was created to carry on my photography but also love for all things fashion & beauty. I could spend hours taking product shots creating the kind of shots that I thought brands would want to use on their instagram. I feel like the reason my blog done well was because the photography was professional which gave a stronger look on my website, because lets face it, I aint no Shakespeare - I type like how I speak and we all know i talk like a silly Geordie so its not the best writing. 

So here is some tips I’ve gathered over the years of blogging which I thought would be nice to share because I know when you're trying to take images its hard to come up with some creative ideas. I'm not saying I'm amazing but these are what have helped me over the years and I quite like my style of photography. Everyone has a different style so make it your own.

First off lets talk about equipment.. I mainly use my Olympus pen E-PL7 with the 45mm lens as that lens creates a shallow depth of field which is the blurred background which makes the subject/product stand out more. (See depth of field bullet point for more info)
But I also use my iPhone 7Plus for easy & accessible images, plus the portrait mode is amazing. 


Lighting - I would say this is the most important factor in photography. If its too dark, its not going to be sharp plus it doesn’t look good. There's also nothing worse than a yellow image so switch off the light. Flash is too harsh and too unprofessional. Natural light is gonna be your best friend. Create your set right next to the window so your back is to the window, the light needs to go through the camera, not photographing into the window - away from. I never use lighting equipment for my beauty blog photos because you get the ring light circle in products with mirror like packaging plus it makes the image more yellow-y.


Set-up - If you haven’t got any plain white walls then buy some A1 white card or coloured whatever fits with your theme. If you haven’t got the set, then create your own. The amount of different coloured bits of card I’ve bought from The Range is taking up most of the spare room. Then just create a box like set up so you don’t get anything else in the shot. I don't have a spare corner of a room that I can use where its totally plain so I have got to set up either on my bed by sitting with the window behind me and putting card up (with pillows behind so they stay up) so you cant see the background. Bedcovers also make for good backdrops. 



Props - I’ve once spent £50 on fake flowers just for photography props because they can make a photo look so much better. You can lay whatever your product in amongst all your flowers to create a cute backdrop. Or use the flowers to create a camera effect. Have your set up then when you’re ready to take the photo, get some flowers and hold them close to the camera but only so they’re in the corner of the shot which creates this white blur. I find this makes it look more professional. Plus if you're doing a flat lay then you need loads of random bits so I like including magazines, a tray & some accessories. Trays, mugs, sunglasses etc also make for good props.




Depth of field - The depth of field is basically how much of the image is in focus. I went to college and uni and didn't really learn about this so I’ve learnt more off youtube so if you’re not sure what this is then go watch some youtube videos on it. To make it simple, the lower the F number then the more blurry the background will be. It also means that only a small part of the image will be in focus and it makes the product stand out more. How to get a small depth of field - you need the settings on a low F stop. This may depend on the lens you're using as some only go as low as 3 but for a blurry background you need to be on an f stop of about 1.8-2. So when you're buying new lens's for your camera and you're after a blurry background lens, check out how low the f stop goes - it should tell you the lowest F stop.
Portrait mode is amazing for this on the iPhone plus's though! 


Framing - the framing of the image is super important too because the way you frame the product could be the difference between a professional image and an amateur. Framing is where you frame the product within the shot, the middle of the shot is the most important place which makes it more focal. If the main product is more over to one side of the shot it means its not as important because when you first look at an image you're eyes are drawn to the middle of the photograph - always. Angles can also help, try to move about to see what works best.


hope this helps guys! Whats your main photography tip?

Laura xox

// HAIR TRANSFORMATION WITH GALLERY108 //


If you follow me on instagram (if you're not then why the hell not? go do it now - girltalkwithlaura) then you'll know I had a bit of a hair nightmare last year. My normal go to salon that i've been to for about 4 years left me feeling gutted when it wasn't worth the money I pay. So I was left in limbo. I had searched high and low to find this salon so thats why I had stuck with it for so long, so I asked you guys on IG and you all came through!!! So many people suggested Gallery108 so I checked it out and I was blown away by their balayage skills.

So I booked up and went to in for a consultation with Georgia and obvs took about a million photos for inspo because thats what I do, I spend my life on instagram searching hashtags like #balayage #blondehair #extendedroot before heading in because explaining it is just so hard. Anyway we decided to take the unwanted orange and yellow tones in my hair balayage was the best option because that way you can choose which bits you want to paint over. Plus I wanted more brown and an extended root just to add some depth which we had the option of permanent or semi permanent - my hair doesn't hold brown for too long so I was sure I wanted permanent.


 So the day came for the hair change and I was so excited! Its such an easy to find salon on Gosforth high street and its super cosy inside so I was put at ease that my hair will be okay - its nerve racking going somewhere new!

The roots were first and I have to admit, when you've been blonde for so long and you get brown dye put on and you have to sit there staring at it getting darker and darker, it makes you start to regret it. I was SHITTING myself to say the least. But then balayage started by the amazing Georgia and I was super impressed the way its done, its like they're creating a bit of art and I love that idea because it makes it more personal. She knew exactly where to put the icy blonde and where to add the brown to break it up.
We used smart bond because we wanted an icy blonde and obviously want to protect the hair as much as we can when dying it so I highly recommend smart bond (which is like olaplaex).



After the balayage process it was time to wash it out and add a toner (which helps to take away all the yellow tones) and the final step of the smart bond which leaves it feeling silky smooth. Then it was time for the big reveal which is the best bit. The cut was perfect and didn't take too much off as I said I was growing it but took the dead ends off which made it feel thicker.
The blow dry was a no fuss blow dry, quick easy and it actually lasted!


So the final look, and I love it! Who would have thought I'd love my roots so much?! It just adds that bit extra plus because we have colour matched it to my own root colour so when it grows it will be less work and hopefully cheaper!

The blonde was the perfect blonde as there was no yellow in sight and thats the way I like it. But its still got loads of tones in which look lovely when you tie your hair up. So here I am, a massive fan of my new hair, my new salon and I'm super thankful for all the people who suggested Gallery108. We can all agree that Georgia has done an amazing job!

Laura xox


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