Thursday, 22 August 2019

Les Misérables at Theatre Royal Newcastle

This is an advertisement feature with Newcastle Theatre Royal

Every theatre fan in Newcastle has eagerly been counting down the days to opening night of Les Misérables at the Theatre Royal ever since the show was announced last year. It has felt like the longest wait so I am very pleased that the time is finally here, for the next eight weeks (one of the longest runs in Newcastle Theatre Royal's history!) Les Mis will be playing to packed out audiences in the Toon and I think for many of us it is going to be the highlight of our year at the theatre.



The new production of Les Mis has been touching audiences and breaking hearts since it first opened in 2009 to celebrate the show's 25th anniversary.  Having been seen by over 120 million people worldwide across 45 countries and in 22 languages, Les Mis is one of the world's most popular musicals and the chances are that even if you haven't seen it you will certainly know a number of its famous songs including I Dreamed a Dream and On My Own.

Despite its many accolades and huge popularity it may surprise you to hear that, despite being a huge fan of musical theatre, when I very first saw Les Mis on the West End stage I didn't really understand it. I'm sure many musical fans would be horrified to discover that it wasn't until I fell in love with the recent film adaptation starring Hugh Jackman and Eddie Redmayne that Les Mis finally had my heart.  I saw the film so many times at the cinema I lost count! Whilst many probably wouldn't ever admit to falling in love with such a stage classic on the cinema screen I'm just thankful that my eyes were finally opened to how amazing Les Mis is, even if it did take me a time to get it.

Les Misérables at Newcastle Theatre Royal

So, as you can imagine, I have been wanting to see it on stage again ever since, knowing that it would be a very different experience to my first time.

The evening finally arrived and I eagerly made my way to the Theatre Royal, tickets in hand and husband by my side. Whilst Simon would never be my first choice to take to see Les Mis (I'm yet to convince him how great musicals are) he had a very important role - quietly handing me fresh tissues when the tears inevitability start to roll down my cheeks, I knew he was my perfect date for the evening as he wouldn't mind if I spent the entire show having a little cry.

Les Misérables - Newcastle Theatre Royal


If you have never seen the show before you might be wondering why I was arriving at the theatre with packets of tissues stuffed inside my handbag so let this be a warning to you, it is a bit of a weepy story especially if you are a sensitive soul like me but, despite being a little sad in places, the show is incredibly uplifting and powerful and although you might be crying like a baby in places there is also plenty of opportunity to punch the air in jubilation, have a few laughs along the way and I promise you the music will give you goosebumps.

Based on Victor Hugos classic novel, Les Mis is a sung-through musical set in 19th century France that tells a story of passion, revenge, poverty and hope all set against the French Revolution. Relatable even to modern day audiences and with the most incredible soundtrack, it's a show that appeals to all on so many different levels and if you're a fan of great story telling and thrilling theatre it is an absolute must see!

Les Mis - Newcastle Theatre Royal
So how did I find my second watch of Les Mis? I absolutely loved it and, if I'm being completely honest, I would love to see it again! I was on the edge of my seat the entire performance and I have to say this was easily the most incredible show I have ever seen on stage (and I have seen a lot of shows!) the performances were faultless and the live music and incredible voices gave me goosebumps the whole way through the show. Perhaps the most important thing to tell you though is that Simon, Mr "I don't like musical theatre", really enjoyed the show as well. He spent our entire car journey home humming the tunes to himself and telling me how incredible the set and lighting was.

The entire audience at the Theatre Royal Newcastle definitely agreed with us, the standing ovation at the end of the show was like nothing I have seen before. Our hands hurt from clapping and the joyous "wooops" from the auditorium are something you vary rarely hear in a theatre crammed with Brits.

If you're yet to grab a ticket there are a few left and I urge you to get one while you still can, especially if you have never experienced the show before - the opportunity to see this brilliant show in Newcastle is one not to be missed



What you need to know:
  • Les Misérables is playing at the Newcastle Theatre Royal until Saturday 5 October
  • Performances are at 7:30 pm every day with a 2:00 pm matinee on 17 and 24 September and every Thursday and 2:30 pm on Saturdays 
  • The show running time is 2 hours 50 minutes (including a 15 minute interval)
  • Ticket prices start from £23.50 - there are still some available but they are selling fast! 
  • Tickets can be purchased from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 or you can book online here.
Find Theatre Royal at:

100 Grey Street
NE1 6BR

We were invited to the Press Night of Les Misérables and had two complimentary tickets for review purposes.
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Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Katherine's Florists Newcastle - Bubbles and Blooms Flower Workshop

This is an advertisement feature with Katherine's Florists

I don't know about you but I am always on the look out for some kind of new and fun activity to put in my diary. I'm all about the challenges and, in an effort to keep life fun and interesting, I love to experience new things and gain some fresh skills in my spare time. So Katherine's Florists Bubbles and Blooms Flower Workshops are right up my street.

Katherine's Florists Newcastle - Bubbles and Blooms Flower Workshop


Those of you that know me will probably realise that flower arranging, or in fact doing anything that involves being creative with my hands, is a big challenge for me. I can't sew, paint or draw and often describe myself as a frustrated creative! As someone who loves to express herself through words and photographs I often daydream about having the talent to extend that into something a little more creative but don't often get the opportunity to "give it a go" in an environment I'm comfortable in.

Unfortunately not all of us were born with the creative gene and so when I first discovered Katherine's Florists flower classes I was delighted to find something I could really enjoy without worrying about whether or not I was actually any good at it.  You see the Bubbles and Blooms Flower Workshops are perfect for everyone - whether you're a bit of an amateur florist who loves arranging blooms at home or just love pretty flowers but don't have a clue what to do with them - the classes are simple to follow with no judgement or pressure ... and they're really good fun!

Katherine's Florists Newcastle - Bubbles and Blooms


Katherine's Florists run the Bubbles and Blooms every month, offering guests the chance to create their own floral masterpieces under the watchful eye of their in-house experts (oh and did I mention there's Prosecco involved too?)

After enjoying my first experience so much I decided to return for the August workshop and so booked myself in for the beautifully Summer appropriate "Here comes the Sunflowers hand-tie Workshop" - now that the sunshine has finally arrived who could resist an evening filled with happy sunflowers?

Katherine's Florists Newcastle - Bubbles and Blooms Workshop


Each class is limited to a small number, ensuring that you get plenty of opportunity to ask questions and have as much guidance as you need. It's the perfect place to develop your florist skills and hopefully make some new friends along the way. There were all kinds of lovely people in my class, from a couple of neighbours who loved flowers to the incredible lady trying wonderful new things as part of her battle with depression. Different things had brought us to the class but we all had one thing in common - our love of flowers (and fizz of course!).

Our class began with an introduction to Katherine's Florists sunflowers and a little chat about the meaning of the flower. It's incredible to think the emotions that we attach to flowers and giving your loved one a bunch can take on a great number of different messages depending on the bloom that you choose. Traditionally sunflowers represents adoration but I think to most of us we associate them with sunshine, their beautiful yellow colour being the perfect way to brighten up your mood.

Katherine's Florists Newcastle Sunflowers


Once introductions had been made and we'd had a bit of time to chat over our glasses of fizz, it was on to the important part of the evening, watching our expert florist create the hand-tie that we would soon be putting together ourselves. I'm not going to lie, when you first see a very talented florist creating a masterpiece in front of you your immediate reaction is "I cannot do that" but luckily there's plenty of help at hand and absolutely zero pressure.

Bubbles and Blooms Flower Workshop


The work stations in the flower shop has everything that you need to create your beautiful hand tie and I loved that we all had our own individual buckets of flowers and foliage to pick through to create our hand ties. Although we had seen how our expert had put together her arrangement we were all encouraged to pull together our display in whatever way we wanted. At the end of the day flower arranging is all about creativity and reflecting your own flair and personality.

Using my three sunflowers as my starting point I bound them tightly together before gathering a collection of green bells, ivy and bamboo to place round my creation to start giving it more of a "hand picked" effect. The beauty of a hand tie like this one is that there really was no wrong way of doing it and I really found myself enjoying putting together my creation.

Bubbles and Blooms Flower Workshop - Katherine's Florists Newcastle
The real beauty with the workshops at Katherine's is that you are encouraged to do as much of it yourself as you can (I will admit I'm a bit of a lazy quitter when I'm not good at things and if someone would let me I would literally stand back and let them do it all for me!) Of course, if you are completely stuck help is at hand, but the beauty of arranging flowers is that really there is no wrong or right when it comes to how your display looks!

The very best thing about Katherine's Florists Bubbles and Bloom Workshop?  You leave the shop with the most beautifully presented flower arrangement to proudly display in your home. Believe me there's no better feeling than informing guests to you house "I created that"

Sunflowers Katherine's Florists Newcastle


Whilst I may not be winning any floristry awards any time soon, the ladies at Katherine's always make me feel like I'm the QUEEN at flower arranging and I'm so thankful to them for their patience, skills and kindness.

If you're looking for a really fun way to spend the evening, the opportunity to meet some new likeminded people and perhaps push yourself a little out of your comfort zone, this is definitely the activity for you!

Sunflowers Workshop - Katherine's Florists Newcastle


What you need to know:
  • Katherine's Florists Bubbles & Blooms workshop costs £25.00 per person and includes expert tuition, a glass of Prosecco and the chance to create your very own display to take home and enjoy
  • Future Bubbles and Blooms Workshops are: 5 September - Harvest Festival Hand Tie, 3 October - Floral Pumpkin Workshop and 7 November - Festive Amaryllis Hand Tie
  • Workshops run the first Thursday of each month between 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm at the Gosforth store 
  • To book call 0191 285 8213 or email gosforth@katherinesflorists.co.uk
Find Katherines Florists at

59a High Street
Gosforth
NE3 4AA

0191 285 8213

https://www.katherinesflorists.co.uk/
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Thursday, 8 August 2019

Where to Find Lavender Fields in the North of England - A Trip to Yorkshire Lavender

For many Summers now I have been desperate to visit a lavender field, but with no plans to visit Provence any time soon, where on earth do you go to find lavender fields in the North of England? We're not exactly spoilt for choice in this part of the world and there is, in fact, only one lavender field in the north of England that's worth visiting! Fancy a trip to Yorkshire Lavender?

Where to Find Lavender Fields in the North of England - A Trip to Yorkshire Lavender
Driving to Yorkshire Lavender is a bit of a commitment, a good hour and 35 minutes from Newcastle I wasn't sure if the place would be worthy of a road trip.  When you're travelling a fair way from home there's always the risk that your destination might not be worth the petrol!  But having had the idea in the back of my head for a while I decided to gamble and play guinea pig for you all ... the fact that I'm here writing a blog post says it all really doesn't it?

I LOVED my first ever visit to Yorkshire Lavender!

Where to Find Lavender Fields in the North of England


I would drive there again tomorrow, without hesitation, if I could. Family run with a huge amount of love, Yorkshire Lavender is a hillside farm covering 60 acres of gorgeous gardens and lavender fields - and it's just waiting to be explored.

We decided to get ourselves there for doors open at 10:00 am, something I'm very glad we decided to do because Yorkshire Lavender does get busy, in fact an hour or so after we first arrived a coach rolled up and whilst there's plenty of space and it never felt overly crowded, it is so lovely to get there first thing and have a bit of time to explore the gardens before anyone else.

Where to Find Lavender Fields - A Trip to Yorkshire Lavender
Whilst I'm very very thankful that Yorkshire Lavender doesn't seem to suffer from the Instagram hype that some of the lavender fields in the south have (I'm looking at you Mayfield Lavender!) let's not pretend that people don't love to visit the fields for a beautiful Summer picture and during our visit we saw everyone from families to older couples and tourists hopping in and out of the lavender for a snap.

Yorkshire Lavender Fields


The prime spot for taking a picture has to the lavender maze. The lavender maze has the most impressive amount of lavender bushes, all tightly packed together into a sea of purple with paths running between the flowers allowing visitors the chance to walk amongst the flowers. There's no fear of trampling the plants to get an idyllic shot, there are plenty of openings and walk ways to allow you access without damaging the flowers.

Lavender Fields in the North of England - A Trip to Yorkshire Lavender


It does, however, take a little bit of bravery. As someone who does have a bit of a bee and wasp phobia it took a lot of courage for me to step into the lavender maze, and although I knew the bees wouldn't hurt me, I had a few "OMG, it's on my skirt" moments whilst standing in the maze. At the height of the lavender season all of the bushes are covered in bees and when you stand amongst the flowers all you can hear is a gentle buzzing.

Where to Find Lavender Fields in the North of England - Trip to Yorkshire Lavender


I wasn't brave enough to go in too deep, instead making my way through to an opening pretty close to the main path. I saw plenty of people getting involved though and wading right into the middle of the maze, waist high in purple blooms until all you could really see was a head popping out above the lavender bushes.

If you are interested in photography the lavender maze with its beautiful flowers and drop dead gorgeous scenic views of the Yorkshire Hills is the part of Yorkshire Lavender to visit first, it's picture perfect and is definitely the first part of the site to get busy so try and beat the crowds and head there at the beginning of your visit.

 A Trip to Yorkshire Lavender
After the slightly traumatic experience of standing that close to so many bees (yes I'm a wuss!) it seemed like the perfect time to visit EJs Tearoom to sample some of their incredible homemade lavender desserts. There were so many on offer it was a real struggle to come to a decision. The Lavender Cake sounded wonderful and the Blueberry & Lavender Cheesecake looked very tempting. In the end I just had to go for one of their famous Lavender Scones served with Lavender and Bluberry Conserve and a mammoth dollop of Fresh Cream (£3.75), all washed down with a Pot of Tea (Yorkshire of course!) (£2.00)

Those scones were amazing! The journey was worth it just for those scones alone let me tell you. I was worried they would be a little too perfumed for my tastes but they were absolutely beautiful - delicious scones with just the hint of lavender. The real star of the show though was the conserve, it was a delicious dark purple colour, runny, sticky and sweet and I tried desperately to put as much of it was possible on my scone although most of it ended up running down my hands. I loved it so much I had to buy a jar of it to take home!

A Trip to Yorkshire Lavender Tearoom
Next we decided to take a stroll through the lavender gardens.  Grown on the hills with the most spectacular view of the valleys below there are a lot of different varieties of lavenders to admire that come in different shades of purple and pink. The air was full of the dreamy scent of lavender which I particularly loved as it transported me back to my childhood when my Grandma would let me pick flowers from the lavender bush at the front of her house, I would roll them in my hands and breath in their amazing smell.

North of England - A Trip to Yorkshire Lavender
As well as the most impressive amount of bees, Yorkshire Lavender is also home to a variety of beautifully coloured butterflies with the Painted Lady and Peacock particularly loving the flowers. I spent far too much time photographing all of the insects and would have happily spent an entire day there just doing that.

Yorkshire Lavender

Lavender Fields - A Trip to Yorkshire Lavender


Although we spent most of our trip wandering amongst the lavender there are also plenty of other things  on offer including a Natural Wildflower Meadow, Mirror Pond, Sculpture Park and an impressive looking play area for the kids.

Of course, any great day trip ends by exiting through the gift shop and the one at Yorkshire Lavender offers a great range of gifts.  They have a great collection of lavender products including their own range made with oil extracted from the lavender grown on the farm. As well as gifts, beautify products and souvenirs they also have some great food and drink available to take home. As well as my jar of conserve I couldn't resist buying a bottle of special Lavender Edition Masons Yorkshire Dry Gin.

We loved our first visit to Yorkshire Lavender and I'm so happy that we have such a wonderful place in the North of England to explore the lavender fields. I cant wait to return again next Summer, something tells me that this will become an annual thing.

Trip to Yorkshire Lavender
What you need to know:
  • Yorkshire Lavender is open daily between the end of March and end of September from 10:00 am
  • Admission to the shop, plant nursery and tea room are free 
  • Admission to Gardens costs £3.50 for adults, £2.00 for children and £3.00 for concessions 
  • The best time to see the lavender is June - August. The last lavender is cut at the end of August
  • The Gardens are free to visit in March, April and September 
  • There's a large free carpark on site
Find Yorkshire Lavender at:

Terrington
York
YO60 6PB

01653 648008

yorkshirelavender.com/
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Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Rockliffe Hall New Afternoon Tea Experience - High Tea in the Orangery

Two years ago Simon and I enjoyed one of our favourite North East spa experiences to date, our first ever visit to the spa at Rockliffe Hall - it was incredible and is something we still talk about to this day. We loved the spa so much we decided to celebrate our second wedding anniversary at Rockliffe Hall last year but then unfortunately left it too late to book the suite we wanted so never got to go.  So when we discovered that Rockliffe Hall have a brand new afternoon tea experience we decided to take the opportunity to finally get to see inside the main part of the hotel and book a table in the Orangery for High Tea.

Rockliffe Hall New Afternoon Tea Experience - High Tea in the Orangery


Rockliffe Hall is stunning and definitely the kind of place that you would want to celebrate a special occasion, from birthdays to anniversaries, a trip to Rockliffe really gives you that wow factor as soon as you make your way down the drive to the front of the hotel. Speaking of special occasions I must give a special shout out to Brenda and Bob, the really lovely couple we met during our High Tea, they were at Rockliffe Hall celebrating their 46th wedding anniversary, I truly hope that Simon and I will be celebrating the same milestone at Rockliffe Hall in 43 years time!

Approaching the beautiful entrance to Rockliffe Hall the incredible service starts before you have even reached the front door with someone ready to personally welcome each guest at the door. We have been fortunate enough to visit the best hotels in the North East and I have to say we have never had such a wonderful and warm greeting on arrival. We explained we were at the hotel for High Tea and were personally escorted through the hotel to The Orangery where we were welcomed in and shown into the beautiful room.

Rockliffe Hall New Afternoon Tea Experience


The Orangery is one of three dining rooms at Rockliffe Hall, and is the flagship award winning restaurant lead by Executive Chef, Richard Allen. The Orangery is well known for its garden to plate dining experience, offering diners beautifully created ala carte and tasting menus from Wednesday to Sunday evenings.  So it's very exciting that The Orangery is now open during the day for a modern version of High Tea, created to allow guests the chance to experience Richard's creations as part of a two course twist on an Afternoon Tea.

The Orangery is a beautiful room for High Tea, with stunning iron features, huge high glass ceiling (with the loveliest views of the top of the building towering above you) and the most impressive big windows offering views of the gardens and surrounding countryside. It's the loveliest spot to enjoy tea with a loved one, the perfect treat!

Rockliffe Hall High Tea


Just to offer you a completely balanced and honest review, as much as I loved our experience I do also have to share my one and only criticism of our afternoon at Rockliffe Hall and that was the choice of music that was being played as the background to our High Tea. The Orangery was beautiful, the service was excellent and along with our fellow diners we were all enjoying a truly special experience, however the pop music that was playing just didn't seem fitting to our surroundings, as much as I love modern music I much prefer to listen to some soothing easy listening or classical whilst indulging in such a special experience.

Now you may be wondering how High Tea differs from Afternoon Tea and although there are many opinions on what makes an experience "Afternoon" or "High", I tend to associate Afternoon Tea with the more traditional fare (think crustless sandwiches and scones served on a cake stand), whereas High Tea tends to lean more towards a light supper served with tea.

Rockliffe Hall Afternoon Tea


High Tea at Rockliffe Hall is a carefully created experience served as two separate courses, three savoury items followed by three sweet treats, all showcasing Richard's culinary creativity and craftsmanship. It's a truly unique way to experience the food on offer at The Orangery without splashing out on a full dining experience.

Our experience began with the savoury course, served on three different plates in the middle of the table we had a side plate each to eat from and a very generously sized teapot to accompany with the all important bottomless tea on offer.

Rockliffe Hall Afternoon Tea Experience - High Tea in the Orangery


Our eyes were immediately drawn to the Wagyu Beef Burger, it's hard not to smile when you are presented with perfect dinky little burgers, they were just so cute. The meat was delicious, really tender and packed with flavour, served on very tasty mini caramelised onion brioche with a scrummy Yorkshire Relish filling they were so lovely.

Rockliffe Hall High Tea in the Orangery


Next up we enjoyed a Warm Whitby Crab and Wensleydale Cheese Tart, Simon had originally wrinkled his nose up a little (he's not a fan of cheese) but he was won over as soon as he took his first bite. The pastry was so buttery and the filling was delicious - I really wish that more afternoon tea experiences were a little more creative when it comes to the savoury elements of the tea.

Rockliffe Hall New Afternoon Tea - High Tea in the Orangery


Our savoury course ended with Duck Egg Mayonnaise, Cured Cumbrian Ham, Pickering Watercress Open Sandwich. Can you believe how high the filling is piled up, it was a little tricky to eat whilst being delicate (even though I am not naturally a delicate person, I do try and retain some dignity whilst indulging in high tea!) The sandwich was so good and we loved the brilliant twist on an afternoon tea classic.

Rockliffe Hall New High Tea in the Orangery


We were given the option of a short break before our sweet course arrived which we thankfully took, our savoury bites were a lot more filling than we had thought they would be and we enjoyed chatting over our tea pot whilst we gave ourselves time to prepare for the cakes.

Rockliffe Hall the Orangery
The first of the sweet treats I wasn't able to have due to my nut allergy but as Simon munched on the Pistachio and Olive Oil Cake, Seville Orange Frosting and Matcha Tea he made a comment that he was so sad about my allergy as I was really missing out on a delicious cake.

Rockliffe Hall High Tea the Orangery


As I couldn't have the Pistachio treat I got to pick which of the other cakes I wanted two of so decided on the Raspberry Shortbread with Rockliffe Estate Honey and Candied Lemon. I've definitely mentioned on a few occasions that raspberry has been one of my biggest obsessions of the Summer so I was very happy with this treat. The zingy raspberries were perfection with the candied lemon and sweet honey.  I'm very glad I got to have two.

Rockliffe Hall High Tea in the Orangery


Our experience ended with the very indulgent Single Estate Chocolate Eclair with Salted Caramel Gold Leaf and we most definitely saved the best until last. This cake was something else, and the very best way to end our high tea experience. You honestly have to book yourself a high tea experience at Rockliffe Hall just to have the opportunity to try this for yourself, it was incredible.

Rockliffe Hall - High Tea Experience in the Orangery


After our High Tea I couldn't resist a little look round some of the rooms at Rockliffe Hall. As it was our first visit to the main hotel I really wanted a little taste of what life at Rockliffe is like, as I poked my nose in and out of the lounges and bar area I honestly couldn't believe how beautiful all the rooms are.  This really is a destination hotel and I can't wait to come back and experience it properly one day.

We really loved our High Tea experience at Rockliffe and although it's a bit pricier than your usual standard afternoon tea the quality of the food really does justify the cost and offers a great opportunity to try some really delicious creations in a different setting.
Rockliffe Hall


What you need to know:

  • High Tea is served in the Orangery daily from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
  • High Tea costs £35.00 per person, if you prefer Afternoon Tea, Rockliffe Hall serve their Traditional Afternoon Tea in the Club House and costs £25.00 per person
  • Upgrade to a Champagne High Tea and enjoy a cooling glass of Prerrier-Jouet Champagne for £49.00 per person

Find Rockliffe Hall at:

Hurworth on Tees
Darlington
County Durham
DL2 2DU

01325 729 999

rockliffehall.com/

We were invited to enjoy a complimentary high tea for two in exchange for this honest review
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Friday, 2 August 2019

Seaham Hall Luxury Hotel and Spa - ishga Treatments and Vegan Dining at Ozone

This is an advertisement feature with Seaham Hall 

For as long as I have been living in the North East there's just one luxury hotel and spa that I have been desperate to visit. Seaham Hall has featured at the top of my North East "must visit" list ever since I first stepped off the train from London and began my new life in Newcastle. Longtime readers may even remember that it featured on the 40 Before 40 Bucket List that I wrote over two years ago so I am absolutely thrilled to finally be able to share with you my first ever visit to Seaham Hall Luxury Hotel and Spa. Of course for my first visit I had to do it in style and my visit involved not just an evening of relaxing in the Serenity Spa but also a taster of the ishga treatments and a vegan dining experience at Ozone.

Seaham Hall Luxury Hotel and Spa - ishga Treatments and Vegan Dining at Ozone
If, like me, you are yet to visit Seaham Hall you will find the luxury hotel on the Durham Heritage Coast which is one of the most beautiful and best kept secrets in the North East.  The stretch of coastline in Seaham is picture perfect and with miles of stunning scenery to explore, Seaham Hall is the ideal base for a weekend away.

Seaham Hall Durham Heritage Coast
Seaham Hall is a Georgian Country House that offers a luxury experience set in 37 acres of landscaped gardens. With two dining rooms offering formal and informal dining and individually styled luxury suites it's no surprise I have been hinting to my husband for the longest time to arrange me a "surprise" romantic break there

... unfortunately I am still waiting!

Seaham Hall Luxury Hotel and Spa
Welcome to The Serenity Spa

Influenced by Far Eastern healing and wellness rituals, the Serenity Spa is different to any other spa I have visited in the North East with their space being uniquely landscaped and designed to nurture the body, mind and soul. The inspiration behind the Spa can be seen in the most beautiful interiors of the Spa (I particularly loved the elephant which has become somewhat of an iconic part of Serenity Spa)

Seaham Hall Luxury Hotel and Serenity Spa


After a pretty hectic week I was so excited to have an indulgent evening of relaxation at Seaham Hall and as soon as I walked through the doors I felt at ease immediately, the Serenity Spa is such a relaxing haven as soon as you enter. I was welcomed into reception with a glass of delicious fresh Watermelon and Elderflower to enjoy whilst I filled in my information card. This was followed by a tour of the facilities on offer at the Serenity Spa, a personal touch that was very welcoming for a first time visitor.

If you're looking for a full spa experience, Serenity Spa at Seaham Hall really does have a great varied offering with a lot of different facilities to keep you busy for your whole visit, it is definitely one of the largest spas I've visited in the area. There are plenty of options to suit every spa goer, so whether you like to gossip with your girlfriends, enjoy a romantic dip with your other half or just want to clear your mind and escape the day's worries you will find a perfect space to suit your needs at Serenity Spa.

Seaham Hall Luxury Hotel and Spa County Durham

I'm definitely a spa goer that likes to be kept busy, not one for sitting still for too long I love to move between rooms and experiences and there were plenty at Seaham Hall to keep me occupied. I enjoyed switching between the Salt Sauna, Indian Steam Room, Asian Herbal Sanarium and Jacuzzi before cooling down in the Plunge Pools and Ice Fountain.

The real feature of the Serenity Spa has to be the impressive 20 metre pool complete with massage stations. It catches your eye as soon as you walk into the space and I really appreciated how large it was. Despite the spa being pretty busy during our visit there was also plenty of room in the pool which was especially appealing to me as I'm not overly confident in water and much prefer to float about without a lot of people surrounding me.

Seaham Hall Luxury Hotel and Spa - Serenity Spa
My favourite part of the Serenity Spa had to be the Zen Garden, overlooking the gardens of Seaham Hall, the outside space is so tranquil with plenty of relaxation beds and the most beautiful infinity hydrotherapy pool. Unfortunately during our visit it was a little wet so there was no lounging about in the sunshine this time, but I will definitely be making full use of the garden next visit.

As I was visiting with my friend and we had plenty of gossip to catch up on we spent a lot of our time switching between the infinity pool and outdoor hot tubs - the perfect spots to relax and chat. I've said it many times before but I definitely have my very best conversations in a hot tub, there's something about relaxing in the lovely warm water that makes you want to chat about life, love and everything in between.

Seaham Hall Luxury Hotel and Spa - Zen Garden
Ishga at Seaham Hall - Organic Seaweed Treatments

There are plenty of treatments and therapies to choose from at Serenity Spa and I was thrilled to be trying out one of Seaham Hall's brand partners, ishga, the Organic Seaweed Skincare lovingly created in Scotland. Developed in the remote outer Hebrides ishga's products are created using high quality pure Scottish seasweet combined with natural spring water. The Hebrides has some of the cleanest waters in the world and the hand harvested seaweed is used to produce the skincare range. Containing natural anti-oxidants that have anti-ageing properties, it's no surprise that the ishga face serum has been nicknamed "botox in a bottle'

Seaham Hall Luxury Hotel and Spa - ishga Treatments


There are five ishga treatments available at Seaham Hall Serenity Spa starting from only £55.00 for a ishga Seaweed bath (imagine bathing in freshly hand harvested seaweed and mineral sea salts - bliss).

I was treated to two taster ishga treatments starting with a ishga massage - a medium pressure massage designed to invigorate with a focus on removing tension to energise the body. Using Seaweed Body Oil, the massage helps to regenerate, firm and tone the skin. Although I definitely understand that seaweed is a natural source of vitamins and minerals, I have to admit before my treatment I did have images of being slathered in a thick muddy substance smelling of seawater, but the reality was anything but. The seaweed used in the ishga products has gone through a  process to strip out any nasty smells without losing any of the benefits.

Seaham Hall Luxury Hotel and Spa - ishga


The Seaweed Body Oil is combined with lemongrass, junpier and rose geranium and it smells absolutely heavenly. The body oil is perfect for moisturising dry skin and stimulates health, self repair and revitalisation. So many people had told me that the massages at Seaham Hall are amazing and I have to say I completely agree. Mine was the perfect combination of relaxing whilst still removing all of the tension in my neck and shoulders.

My second treatment was a taster of the ishga Facial, designed to revitalise and repair. The combination of organic ishga products included rich seaweed, natural healing spring water and cucumber extract and left my skin feeling so nourished. I have always suffered from eczema and very dry patches and my skin absolutely loved the ishga products.

After my treatments I was taken to the relaxation room where I could chill out for a while with some magazines and enjoy some peace and quiet on one of the loungers. I loved that there were some refreshments to help yourself to and a little sorbet was personally delivered to my lounger - living the dream!

Seaham Hall Luxury Hotel and Spa - ishga Treatment

Get a FREE Treatment 

If all of that sounds rather lovely, I have a very special promotion for readers of my blog - Seaham Hall are offering you a FREE treatment!

Enjoy a free rejuvenating ishga facial when you book a 60 minute ishga massage by stating "New Girl in Toon". This 90 minute, powerfully detoxing ishga seaweed spa ritual includes an invigorating but equally relaxing massage, using seaweed body oil that regnerates, firms and tones the skin, while helping to eliminate toxins.  The mini facial treatment is designed to revitalise and repair skin through use of products rich in seaweed, which is high in vitamins, minerals, trace elements and natural antioxidants.

To book and claim your free facial call Seaham Hall's Serenity Spa on 0191 640 8705

Vegan Dining at Ozone

Ozone is a relaxed and informal restaurant within the Serenity Spa at Seaham Hall where spa goers can comfortably enjoy eating in their dressing gowns. Serving up Pan-Asian cuisine in a variety of fun and exciting dishes, there is plenty on offer including Asian Afternoon Tea, Sharing Platters, Coffee Cake or, of course, a full dining experience.

Recently Ozone have been developing their vegan offering, working hard to create vegan dishes that are fresh, exciting and don't compromise on taste. With more and more people embracing a vegan lifestyle it's great to see a restaurant want to serve something really tasty as part of their vegan offering.

Seaham Hall Luxury Hotel and Spa - Vegan Dining at Ozone

The perfect light meal after an evening in the spa, I decided to eat Vegan for the night and try out some of their dishes, starting with a delicious Asian Style Tomato Bruschetta, followed swiftly by my highlight of the meal, the Onion and Beetroot Bhaji served with Cucumber and Mint Raita. They looked stunning with the beautiful purple of the beetroot spilling out of the Bhaji and they tasted absolutely heavenly. I know that as soon as I return I will be ordering this dish again and that's when you know that a Vegan dish is excellent - it also appeals to people who aren't following a Vegan diet.

Seaham Hall Hotel and Spa - Vegan Dining at Ozone


I was a little dubious about the next dish - Grilled Miso Marinated Tofu served with Onion and Cucumber Salad, Japanese Soy and Rice Vinegar Dressing. I've never tried Tofu before but have to say it's never appealed to me. I have always feared that it may be a little bland with a funny texture (and I know I'm not alone in thinking that) Of course, as with any feared food, it takes a masterful chef to create something wonderful to change stubborn minds, and the Grilled Miso Marinated Tofu at Ozone was truly delicious. Perfectly marinated and prepared, I honestly couldn't get enough of it, I couldn't believe I was sitting there happily eating my way through a plate of Tofu!

Seaham Hall Hotel and Spa - Vegan Ozone


I finished my Vegan dining experience at Ozone with a deliciously fresh Lemon Sorbet served with Grilled Orange and Chilli Syrup. Whilst I'm usually all about the stodgy desserts this was a really perfect way to end our meal, it was light and fruity and packed with flavour.

Seaham Hall Hotel - Vegan Dining at Ozone
Dining at Ozone after a Serenity Spa experience was the perfect way to end my first ever visit to Seaham Hall.  My meal was delicious and left me feeling satisfied without that awful heavy feeling that I usually get after eating out, it's the best type of food to enjoy after an afternoon in the spa.

I am over the moon that I finally got to enjoy a little taste of what Seaham Hall has to offer, and I can't wait to one day indulge in a visit to the main part of the hotel for an overnight stay and luxurious break, now that I've managed to grab a couple of brochures I plan to leave them on our coffee table as a hint ... wish me luck!

Seaham Hall Hotel


What you need to know:

The Serenity Spa is open Mondays to Fridays 6:30 am to 10:00 pm, Saturdays 7:00 am to 10:00 pm and Sundays 8:00 am to 10:00 pm

There are a range of great spa offers available here with prices starting from £50.00 for the Serenity Sunrise Spa which includes 4.5 hours spa access with fluffy robes, towels and slippers, pastries and hot drink on arrival, use of the gym and entry to a fitness class

To discover the full range of ishga treatments at Seaham Hall see here 

Dine at Ozone Monday to Sunday 11:00 am to 10:00 pm

Find Seaham Hall at:

Lord Byrons Walk
Seaham
SR7 7AG

0191 516 1400

seaham-hall.co.uk/

I was treated to a complimentary spa and dining experience at Seaham Hall in exchange for this honest review. 
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